Gärtnern mit der Kraft des Atoms

Carolin Buchheim

Vor genau 25 Jahren ereignete sich der bisher größte Unfall in einem Atomkraftwerk: die Katastrophe von Tschernobyl. Radioaktive Niederschläge gingen danach über weiten Teilen Europas nieder; viele Menschen mieden monatelang den Verzehr von strahlenbelasteter Milch und Gemüse. Heute ist kaum vorstellbar, dass Anfang der 1960er Jahre Pflanzen systematisch verstrahlt wurde. Der damalige Trend: Atomic Gardening.



Auf Pruned, einem Blog, das sich Architektur und Gesellschaftsthemen widmet, gibt es ein spannendes Interview mit Paige Johnson, die an der University of Tulsa zum Thema Atomic Gardening forscht.


"Pruned: So basically what are atomic gardens?

Paige Johnson: After WWII, there was a concerted effort to find 'peaceful' uses for atomic energy. One of the ideas was to bombard plants with radiation and produce lots of mutations, some of which, it was hoped, would lead to plants that bore more heavily or were disease or cold-resistant or just had unusual colors. The experiments were mostly conducted in giant gamma gardens on the grounds of national laboratories in the US but also in Europe and countries of the former USSR.

These efforts utimately reached far into the world outside the laboratory grounds in several ways: in plant varieties based on mutated stocks that were—and still are—grown commercially, in irradiated seeds that were sold to the public by atomic entrepreneur C.J. Speas during the 50s and 60s and through the Atomic Gardening Society, started in England by Muriel Howorth to promote the mutated varieties.

It's easy to look back at it all as some crazy, or conspiratorial, plot. But the atomic gardens weren't a secret. They've just been forgotten. And it's clear from reading the primary sources that most people involved were deeply sincere. They really thought their efforts would eradicate hunger, end famine, prevent another war."


Lesenswert! Wer nur gucken möchte: eine ganze Reihe faszinierender Fotos, die 1961 im Life-Magazine erschienen, kann man dank des Google Image-Search Atomic Garden angucken.

[via Kottke: The adventures of the Atomic Gardening Society]

Mehr dazu:

[Bild: Symbolbild, Fotolia]