I remember the oppressive feeling around my heart when the first news came about the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Japan coast, including several nuclear power plants, on 11 March 2011.
Half a day later it was clear that this was serious; three days later I arrived in Amsterdam to join the Greenpeace rapid response team; two weeks later I arrived in Japan to help explore the environmental damage done by the radioactive releases from Fukushima.
I remember the surreal experience of driving into the high radiation areas around Fukushima City, 60km from the plant where the nuclear disaster had occurred. The winter landscape looked beautiful and untouched, but in the car we could see the radiation levels going up on our monitoring equipment.
I remember my first tweet: "Driving through the hills towards Iitate, 40 km from the Fukushima reactors - radiation is rising."
I remember our meeting with the mayor of Minamisoma, a coastal town hit hard by both the tsunami and the radiation. He had only been contacted by the plant operator TEPCO 11 days after the nuclear accident started, to inform him about the radioactivity that had spread over his town.
I remember the uncertainty and unawareness of the people we spoke with. They didn’t know the risks they were exposed to.
I remember the emotional discussions of our team as we were trying to figure out what we could do to best help these people. Terrible discussions, as we realised that hundreds of thousands of people were being exposed to what in our eyes were unacceptable levels of radiation. We realised our worst fear, another Chernobyl, was happening...
My heart goes out to all Japanese people who are still suffering the consequences of this terrible accident.
My heart also goes out to colleagues in Greenpeace Japan, who have had to suffer the uncertainties about their own families, but were brave enough to support our radiation work. Some got a crash course in radiation protection and went into the field with us.
It makes me angry every time someone downplays the Fukushima impacts; every time someone thinks 'two years Fukushima' is not worth remembering.
Imagine you lost everything you had, and will never be able to return home. Imagine that your children cannot play outside because of the radiation in your garden. Imagine the stigma people in Fukushima are feeling, similar to the Hibakusha after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings.
We have to remember.
In support of the people in Japan. In support of the worldwide fight to end nuclear power. Because this time we can win that fight. Help win it: sign our petition.