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NUCLEAR GUARDIANSHIP FORUM, On The Responsible Care of Radioactive Materials,
Issue # 3, Spring 1994, p. 3.


The challenge of informing future generations about the dangers of radioactive waste created in the twentieth century is addressed by a dozen authors in the book Warnings to the Far Future: Nuclear Waste As Communication Problem (Warnungen an die ferne Zukunft: Atommull als Kommuniktionsproblem).

Several of the writers expressed such pessimism about the task that they advocated total secrecy or letting society forget the locations, and thought it probable that communications would not be taken literally.

Yet the perspective of many of the articles, published in German, edited by Roland Posner, and drawn from the field of semiotics, shows considerable convergence with the Guardianship Ethic. [See page 10] The following points are made:

In an analysis of current communication about nuclear waste, Susanne Hauser concludes that those responsible have attempted to evade long-term responsibility for nuclear waste, and that this evasion has resulted in radioactive pollution of the Earth.

Unfortunately, since the potential victims of radioactive waste in future generations play no economic role today, there is little economic incentive to convey effective warnings to them.

A Legislative Body for Our Descendants

Posner concludes that we are collectively required to become aware of future generations. Relevant information for them must be systematically collected for transmission. This task goes beyond all perspectives of recent environmental politics. Such provisions for the future, he contends, must be handled by a comprehensive new democratic institution.

In addition to the two legislative chambers of federated states, he advocates a third legislative body which officially represents the interests of our descendants. This "Chamber of Future Affairs" would be advised by:

It would be supported by :

Posner explores the structure such an institution must have in order to efficiently co-operate with the existing system of democratic institutions and to continue functioning for millennia.

Warnings to the Far Future (Warnungen an die ferne Zukunft: Atommull als Kommuniktionsproblem), edited by Roland Posner, Raben Streifzuge Verlag 1990. Based on the English Summary pp. 305-314.

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