Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ponyo and the tsunami

Have you seen the 2008 movie by  Miyazaki "Ponyo"? Wonderful movie, dreamy and delicate. In it, there is about everything that has shappened this week in Japan: the tsunami, the sea that invades the land, boats swept away, people seeking refuge where they can. It is an illustration of the relationship that the Japanese have with the sea: a bit of fear, a bit of respect and also a bit of love. The whole is embodied by the sea goddess of the movie, Granmamare; a character that echoes the ancient Mediterranean sea goddesses which are more familiar to us, Westerners, Isis o Amphitrite.

The sea doesn't hate us, obviously. But, as for many things on this planet, we cannot pretend to ignore the sea, least of all to dominate it.  Yet, it is a mistake we do all the time; buliding nuclear plants in seismic zones near the sea shore is just one of the many.


  1. An alien intelligence, observing the earth, shortly would come to regard human proliferation as a pest, its urbanizations spreading like bacterial colonies in a Petri dish.
    Sea goddesses of old, once dreamy and benevolent, are writhing in agony in their poisoned subaquatic dwellings, bemoaning the thinning of their herds, implore Poseidon to shake his trident, Hephaestus to rake up his fires, in retribution.
    We humans are many, but helpless in the face of powers that lord it over the confines of our Petri dish.



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome and the author of "Extracted: how the quest for mineral resources is plundering the Planet" (Chelsea Green 2014). His most recent book is "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017)