Addressing nuclear fallout never looked so painfully stylish. A Japanese shoe designer is developing sky-high heels that automatically deposit seeds in the ground as the wearer walks in them. The shoes are part of a project to help rebuild Fukushima.
Designer Masaya Kushino's imaginative shoes usually sport wild, Dada-esque heels. He's adorned them with horns, fake ponytails, peacock feathers and ornate gold framing. So it wasn't a big stretch to add a component for distributing seeds.
Kushino's "Healing Fukushima (Nanohana Heels)" were conceptualized in partnership with Japanese artist-designer Sputniko!, who came up with the project idea. Fukushima remains contaminated with nuclear waste following the earthquake and tsunami that struck the power plant there early last year. Sputniko! visited temporary housing there a number of times and learned about efforts to plant rapeseed in the region.
Some varieties of rapeseed, known in Japan as "nanohana," remove the radionucleotides caesium-137 and strontium-90 from the soil. The plant stores them in its stalk and seed coat, but not its seeds, which can be processed into industrial lubricants and cooking oil. Scientists in Belarus made the discovery after the Chernobyl disaster, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.