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March 16, 2011

What's Lost

Ritsuko Robinson grew up in her family’s inn on the bay in Kesennuma, in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. She lives in the U.S. now, but she was planning to go back for an important family ceremony this April. Since the tsunami, though, she’s had only spotty contact with family members, and she’s sure the most cherished family possession - the inn - has been destroyed.

Also in this episode, if there is anything  near as frightening as experiencing an earthquake, it’s being the parent of a child caught up in one. Todd Strumwasser has been learning about the power - and peril - of social media as he tries to get information about his son Aaron Strumwasser, who was teaching English in Sendai. And Captain Louis Skrmetta lives in Gulfport, Miss. He’s been watching the images of the destruction caused by the tsunami in Japan, and he says those images are a powerful reminder of the hours he spent trying to save his boats in the face of Hurricane Katrina.

Finally, Calvin Tillman is mayor of Dish, Texas. Oil companies there recently began using a controversial method called hydraulic fracturing to extract the gas. That’s when residents began reporting health problems. For years, Mayor Tillman fought to improve conditions. But now he’s left town. And when he sold his house, he made sure that all prospective buyers read up on the connection between hydraulic fracturing and human health.

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