This morning the headlines of the New York Times were extra bold, large, and printed in all caps. That is when you know there is disaster. The pages were filled with images of death and destruction in Japan and the Middle East. I read about nuclear reactors and thousands of bodies washed ashore, and I thought “the world is literally falling apart.” And yet, despite statistics and evidence in colored images, I couldn’t grasp the impact. It didn’t affect me, a student at St. Olaf College in Northfield Minnesota.

And then I read this article. With the destruction of Japan comes the destruction of the companies that produce every item with “made in Japan” etched on its plastic sides. Because of the natural disasters ripping through that country, we might suffer a shortage of our beloved Apple products–ipads and ipods that depend on toshiba batteries. I might not get the new iPhone 5 that comes out in July. Believe it or not, this is how we realize how truly intertwined we are with Japan–in our economy and our consumerism. As disheartening as it is to think that we aren’t impacted until the life of our lifeless gadgets is threatened, I can only hope that it will force us to finally think about where our products come from, and to understand our global web of connections.


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