Sunday, October 22, 2006

First of all, I am very sorry for the delay in updating the topic.

October:”Environmental Activities in Japan”

Topic 5 “NGO and New Wave of Environmental Activities”

Do you know anything about NGO in Japan?
What is current trend of environmental activity in Japan?

Past several years, the numbers of environmental NGO are rapidly increasing in Japan. But, the number and reliance of NGO are still weak compared to other countries.
Here are the interesting organization from Japan, approaching in different ways of ecological contribution:

1. Be Good Café:

Non-profit organization, “Be Good Café "is founded in 1999. This organization is very unique where promotes an information regarding goodness of environment through workshops, live music, and healthy organic food. The aim for this organization is to build a sustainable society throughout the world. Be Good members are young activists with variety fields of expertise. With multi-skilled members, Be Good Café is filled with activities like Steiner, macrobiotic, permaculture, and developments of eco-village..

Be good Café will participate in this year’s Eco-Product Exhibition and serve traditional Japanese food “okayu” (rice in soup) in organic style!

2.Uchi-Mizu Project
What is “uchi-mizu?” “The old custom of sprinkling water with a ladle on streets and garden….People sprinkle water, especially in the summer time, in their house entranceand garden or in front of their shops to lay the dust or to ease the heat” (Uchimizu Daisakusen HP). The main purpose of uchimizu is to cool down your surrounding territory. Since there was no air conditioner 100 years ago, Japanese citizen splashed cool water on the surface to entrance of the house, verandahs, and walls of the house., This splash of water forms cool breeze entering through your house in humid summer. In my youth, I remember my grandmother and I would be splashing water on the road front of our house and I always thought she was just having “play in outside”.
The custom of uchimizu has faded away over the decade, and JWF (Japan Water Forum) with strong effort of reviving the old tradition of “uchimizu” use especially in urban cities (prevent heat island effect). It is necessary for all Japanese citizens to keep its custom and realize little chores can make big contribution for our future.

3. Think the Earth Project

Think the Earth is artistic and unique organization with a concept to form “ecology and economy in Coexistence”. The projects are focused on development of ecological products and services targeted from young audiences to expertise in various field. The organization has broad range of services and it even has a learning place for companies and NPOs.

Their representative projects are:
Watch Project: WN-1
Wn-1 is one of famous project done by Think the Earth. Wn-1 watch is very unique with a small earth dial (a dome shaped hour hand makes one revolution every 24 hours, rotating clockwise around the North Pole.) This project is a collaborative work of Think the Earth and Seiko Instruments in a concept “acknowledge importance of our time by seeing the earth from the outside”. Wn-1 watch is eye catching for fashionable teenager in Japan, and Think the Earth is targeting young people to percept “to be environmentally conscious is a cool thing”.

Think the Earth has several other interesting projects such as “Peaceball Campaign –deliver soccer balls (collect used soccer balls) to kids in undeveloped nations. You can also purchase Peaceball package and portion of the sale will be donated to Peacball project.


Do you know any organization in your country that are approaching in environmental activity from different angles compared to other organization? Can you tell me environmental organization that are attractive to young people in your country?

What is your enviromentally friendly product that has abilities to change habits of future citizens in your country?(in a good way, i hope..)

Posted by Shiro Hosojima @ 8:15 PM

Read or Post a Comment

I am quite surprised at the existence of numbers of numerous environmental NGOs in Japan. My first opportunity to encouter them was at the ECO Products exhibition last year. I did know about some NGOs and their activies, but it was intriguing to actually to see them and talk to them.

I think the Uchimizu Project introduced above is great, incorporating old wisdom that has been practiced in Japan for over centuries. We have so much to learn from our ancestors eh...

Being innovative is the key to attract young people into environmental friendly activities.
Especially in Japan where trend overrules personal preference(not everyone, but quite a lot of young population), I think its great that industries are coming up with innovative products that not only allows people to enjoy the product itself, but also educates them or lets them "Think the Earth".

Posted by Anonymous risa @ 1:28 AM #

thanks Risa!
Yes, we do have to keep our beautiful tradition!
Many big company in Japan are starting become aware of necessity to act "environmentally friendly" due to lack of resource in Japan. Since we are residents of small island, increase in temperature will harm our resource greatly.
In order to shift our society to new generation, we must encounter the needs to change the ethics of young people to "Think the Earth".

Posted by Blogger Shiro Hosojima @ 5:05 AM #
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