Photo of Antarctica (UNEP)
The World Meteorological Organisation’s information note in 2013 says that the global average temperatures fluctuated by 4 to 7℃ over the past one million years(1). It seems not to be a serious temperature change for us. However, it causes environmental crises such as the decline of Arctic sea ice and the rise of a sea level.
These vicious impacts gradually demolish our daily lives. For example, people in Tuvalu are facing an environmental crisis by which they may lose their country in near future. The average height of Tuvalu is said to be less than 2 metres above sea level. If the sea level rises more than 2 metres due to global warming, some of islands of Tuvalu may sink into water. Therefore, the Tuvalu government strongly requests other countries to take any actions for fighting against climate change.
When the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly was held in the UN headquarters on September 24th 2003, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Saufatu Sopoanga, claimed as follows; “We live in constant fear of the adverse impacts of climate change. For a coral atoll nation, sea level rise and more severe weather events loom as a growing threat to our entire population. The threat is real and serious, and is of no difference to a slow and insidious form of terrorism against us” (2).
Global warming is a serious issue not only for Tuvalu but also for other countries. For instance, huge typhoons and hurricanes frequently hit Asian countries such as the Philippines. Japan also suffers from crazy weather in recent years. In 2014, a heavy rain destroyed part of the banks along Yuragawa River and many areas in Fukuchiyama City were hit by a flooding. Furthermore, in Hiroshima, a landslide caused by the heavy rain killed 74 victims. These natural disasters may be deeply relating to global warming.
We cannot stop environmental disruptions including global warming today. However, taking an action must be important in order to hand our beautiful earth to the next generations. You may ask me “So, what can we do?” I would say “Let’s find out the answer in Katano Ecology Festa 2016”.
Katano Ecology Festa 2016 was held at Hoshi no Sato Iwafune on March 13th. About 3000 people came and enjoyed eco-friendly food stalls, poster sessions, and amusement booths. The food stalls did not serve wooden chopsticks called “Waribashi” with food. Instead, we had to buy them at a chopsticks stand. Of course, the reason is to reduce a volume of wastes in the festival.
In addition to the food stalls, a variety of organisations opened amusement booths to explain their daily activities for ecology and Katano. In the Katano Tourist Association’s booth, for example, children tried to make toys using wooden chopsticks and rubber bands. Katano Bin Collection Agency (KBCA) introduced where and how our rubbish is recycled. As mentioned in my website (I Love Katano), KBCA repairs and sends abandoned bicycles to those needed. In 2012, 80 repaired bicycles were donated to a high school in Sri Lanka. KBCA’s activities tell us that recycling in Katano is beneficial beyond borders.
A story telling event was also held at the planetarium hall. In the event, a story teller read picture books and some films dealing with environmental issues were played using a planetarium screen. The event fully entertained the audiences. A former Katano City Assembly member, Mr. Akira Sakamoto, said “Although the planetarium machine itself does not work, we would like to use this hall through various events such as music and Rakugo performances”.
Poster Exhibition by EarthKAM
Finally, I would like to talk about a bit academic exhibition in the festival. Kansai Soka High School held a poster exhibition to rethink of our earth. The high school students organise a study group named “EarthKAM” and research cause and effect of environmental disruption. In the exhibition, the students explained to me what they had studied about an environmental issue so far. They said “what we learnt through our researches was that many-layered factors were increasing global environmental risks”.
As the students point out, the causes of environmental disruption are very complicate. Anti-ecological objects are produced not only from our daily lives but also from wars and large-scale accidents such as nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl and oil-polluted sea in the Gulf War. In addition, sociopathological factors (e.g. political corruption) also have direct and indirect impacts on our environment. Therefore, the environmental issues should be analysed and addressed using interdisciplinary methodologies.
Poster Exhibition by KBCA
It seems to me that Katano Ecology Festa was able to suggest some key agendas to deal with what to do for our earth through various recreations and exhibitions relating to environmental issues. The local events such as Katano Ecology Festa have an important role to enlighten the public on urgent problems we are confronting. As mentioned above, it is impossible to sort them out today. But, we have to learn how we can mitigate current environmental damages. Katano Ecology Festa gives us a clue to understand that anti-ecological objects we produce are badly influencing our earth.
We would like to express our gratitude to the staff members of Katano Bin Collection Agency who are collecting lots of our rubbishes through a whole year. We cannot sustain our comfortable lives without them. Katano Ecology Festa is the best chance for us to know not only urgent environmental issues but also their tough jobs underpinning our daily lives in Katano.
(1) World Meteorological Organisation (2013)
“A summary of current climate change findings and figures” http://www.unep.org/climatechange/Publications/Publication/tabid/429/language/en-US/Default.aspx?ID=6306 [retrieved on April 10th 2016].
(2) Tuvaluisland.com “Tuvalu and Global Warming” http://www.tuvaluislands.com/warming.htm [retrieved on April 10th 2016]
Thank you for reading my short essay.
My two websites also provide you with helpful information about Katano City and Hirakata City.
I Love Katano http://www.lovekatano.com
Hirakata Now http://www.hirakatanow.com
Author: Dr. K.S.