MARTHA SEZ: ‘The boars multiplied rapidly, running rampant in neighboring towns’

COVID, political scandal, social unrest, insurrection…the national news media overwhelms us with a deluge of televised coverage of chosen events every minute of every day.

Only a few subjects are covered at any time, although I often ask myself, surely there must be more than five things happening in the world at any given moment? This coverage continues to hammer us for weeks or months, long after most people can stomach it anymore.

“I’m not watching the news,” people say. “I can’t stand it. If I have to hear about”–say, for example– “the radioactive wild boars of Fukushima one more time, I’ll take the bridge!”

Then, all at once, the subject is dropped, and we never hear of it again. Another topic slides in to take its place, and we forget about yesterday’s scandal, last month’s heartbreak, last year’s catastrophe. But sometimes, for no particular reason, we ask ourselves: “Whatever happened to those radioactive feral pigs in Japan?”

This is precisely what happened to me recently. In the spring of 2016, those hogs were in the news.

Remember the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit offshore near Tokyo on March 11, 2011, causing a 30-foot high tsunami that killed 18,000 people along Japan’s coast? Water poured into the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing a nuclear meltdown. Residents of the area were evacuated.

One image from that time sticks in my mind: A soccer ball that floated across the Pacific from Japan to wash up on a beach in California.

It must have been something I heard recently about the depredations of feral pigs near Waco that reminded me of the radioactive Japanese boars.

Wildlife, including boars, far from showing any ill effects from the radioactive poisoned land, began to thrive around Fukushima after the meltdown. The boars multiplied rapidly, running rampant in neighboring towns. Wild boars, radioactive or not, are no joke.

According to “Smithsonian Magazine,” Wild hogs are among the most destructive invasive species in the United States today. Millions of wild boars wreak havoc in at least 39 states and four Canadian provinces. In Texas, they do about $400 million in damages annually, tearing up recreational areas, terrorizing tourists in state and national parks and driving out other wildlife.

Do you think I can find out anything about what’s going on now with the Fukushima pig problem? Has it been resolved? Have the hogs totally taken over? Have they started to exhibit any alarming mutations? The answer is no. I can’t find out anything. They’ve dropped out of the news.

Of course, the mainstream news–or lamestream news media, as Sarah Palen liked to call it–and probably still does, but we wouldn’t know, since she has dropped out of the news cycle along with the radioactive Fukushima pigs–is not the only news source in town.

Far from it! As we know, social media supplies the public with all kinds of alternative facts, conspiracy theories and fake news, much of it half-baked and ludicrous. For example: A friend of mine suggested that the United States government contracted with Johnson & Johnson to design and manufacture a COVID vaccine that would sterilize American women.

That’s crazy! I said. The government doesn’t want to sterilize women. My friend just smiled a cryptic smile, as if she knew more than she was willing to let on at the time.

It wasn’t until a day or two later that it hit me: Of course Johnson & Johnson isn’t going to design and produce a vaccine to sterilize women! Johnson & Johnson has made its reputation on baby products! Producing a vaccine for mass dissemination with the side effect of sterilizing women would be self-destructive in the extreme for J&J. Really.

Meanwhile, we are enjoying a cool and rainy spring here in the town of Keene. This kind of weather promises a great year for lilacs, as long as we don’t get a sudden scorching heat wave or a polar vortex. Remember when the term polar vortex was in the news? The April full moon was a super moon, so bright that it almost hurt my eyes to look at it. The next full moon, on May 26, will be even more intense, as the moon will be even nearer the Earth. I hope we get clear skies.

And if you manage to find out anything new about the radioactive Fukushima wild boars, will you let me know? Have a good week.

(Martha Allen lives in Keene Valley. She has been writing for the Lake Placid News for more than 20 years.)