Tuesday, April 22, 2008

(Pre-)Earth Day Activities in Nagoya

This weekend, Earth Day was celebrated in a variety of areas, including locations in Japan. Earth Day, which technically is April 22, celebrates the beginning of the modern environmental movement. The first Earth Day took place in the United States in 1970 amid much political turmoil and pollution that was almost taken for granted as a sign of prosperity.

On April 22 [1970], 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment... Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values. (from Earth Day Network "History" web page)

Earth Day is now an international event celebrated widely around the world. You can read more about Earth Day at the Earth Day Network Web site.

Link to Earth Day Network:

To be honest, I don't really remember celebrating Earth Day when I lived in America. I do remember friends celebrating a similar occasion on April 20. I have found Japan to be especially socially and environmentally conscious; I beleive this is evident by the increasing number of Japanese people involved in NGOs and NPOs. Here are some pictures of Earth Day as celebrated in Nagoya's Hisayaodori-koen near the Sakae area. How is Earth Day celebrated in your part of the world?

There were a variety of performances. Here, little school children advise the audience via song and dance how to properly recycle and use environmentally damaging appliances.

Other children dressed as "recycling power rangers" - each grappled with a different piece of refuse and taught us how to prepare and stick the item in the correct bin.

There was a variety of international foods available as well as various art activities. Here, people enjoy themselves against the backdrop of the famous Nagoya TV Tower.

There were lots of crafts, healthy food and environmentally friendly product booths; it reminded me of hippies in San Francisco...

On the other hand, there was a booth sponsored by JT (Japan Tobacco) that was encouraging people to purchase the new TASPO card. The TASPO card is an age-verification ID card that lets the over-age-20 user purchase cigarettes from vending machines. The card has proven to be somewhat unpopular and so driver's licenses will also be allowed to be used by people to buy tobacco in vending machines. Should JT really be at an Earth Day celebration?

Many have commented about the lack of trash cans in public in Japan. Here is a rarity, three in a row. But they are closed for Earth Day. Caption taped across the trash can reads: "Today is Earth Day. Let's bring our garbage home!"

There was also a young woman, sponsored by JT, handing out trash bags and tongs, encouraging people to pick up litter. Here she is approaching a young woman while a group of older women enthusiastically look for trash among the foilage.

A nearby man takes advantage of the public art in the park for a nap. His pillow is a bag of aluminum cans.

Near the park, but as a separate event, members of a local political activism group try to garner support for world peace, continuation of the Japanese Constitution's Article Nine and allowing the controversial documentary Film, Yasukuni, to be shown freely in Japanese theaters.

Happy Earth Day! And for my Deaf friends, Happy Eyeth Day. Please do whatever you can to make the world a better place for all people. Peace.

1 comment:

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