Have you ever wondered how to send a warning 10,000 years into the future? Would you use a sign, a monument, or a symbol of danger? Would you tell a warning story that could be passed from generation to generation?¬†Not many people think that far ahead, but governments faced with the problem of storing nuclear waste have had to study the kinds of messages that could be used to warn people in the deep future. Our own thinking on this issue has been influenced by the work of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico, the first long-term nuclear storage facility in the Unitied States.
Less work has been done on long-term chemical waste issues. Yet, the current proposal to freeze arsenic under Giant Mine for long periods of time raises many of the same issues as nuclear waste. How do we keep people in the future from entering the arsenic chambers? How can we explain to them what must be done to keep the arsenic contained?¬†Through community workshops and web-based reports, we will develop possible strategies and best practices for communicating the Giant Mine arsenic hazard with people in the very distant future.
To see how a strategy for communicating with future generations might be applied to Giant Mine, please see our full report on the issue and our two page summary:
For more information on the Communcating with Future Generations Working Group (based in Yellowknife) click here.