DU, A Multi-Faceted Issue - Depleted Uranium delegation: Jonesborough, TN - Oct 21-30, 2011
Now that I've been here in Jonesborough longer, I'm starting to feel less at a loss for where to start with the issue of DU. Two things in particular have helped that happen. First, on Saturday, our delegation helped Dr. Michael Ketterer of Northern Arizona University collect some more samples for his ongoing work in tracing the level and spread of DU contamination from Aerojet Ordnance. Then on Sunday, we had a press conference in Jonesborough, which connected us with a few people from the local community.
While at first I was frustrated that the reliable information and formal studies about the issue were so lacking, I've found in that lack a potential starting place. Since it's hard to convince someone of your convictions without hard data, I believe that calling for more research -- and assisting with that as opportunities present, is one way to get started and take baby steps forward. As data accumulates, it becomes more possible to explain to people the exact effects of DU on their lives. In fact, focusing on this angle can potentially make it more tangible to the people it affects.
DU is such a multi-faceted issue, with implications on environment and health alongside its uses for war. I think part of what tripped me up as I started learning more about it was that it's so hard -- next to impossible -- to draw the lines between the different issues involved. Ultimately, DU isn't good for anyone, and different aspects of its effect will speak to different people. Perhaps working on the issue from multiple angles and uniting those doing the work is the best way to end its use.
--Kajsa Herrstrom, delegate on the DU trip