"Thomas Friedman is quite right. In Japan, because of the prolonged recession followed by steep and painful cuts in sales, profits and jobs, I think many people are beginning to sense that we are now entering a new regime where economic stimulus measures and other 'conventional' measures don't help us, rather they hurt us in a long run," Edahiro said.
"Global warming is just a symptom of a more fundamental problem, and unless we tackle that we cannot create a sustainable society even with advanced technologies," she added. "The deeper problem is that we humans are seeking infinite growth on a finite globe: This is the core issue. So it is obvious that we should rethink 'growth' and the purpose of our economic activities."
The Japan Times Our mantra of continuous growth has left us on ecological brink
With Fiat (Fiat!) about to buy General Motors, and president Obama telling them to learn how to make a profit by building smaller cars, or else go bust, perhaps this is a good time for more experts to make the long trip to Japan to learn how to live without cars, invest in public transportation and smaller houses, how to save energy and eat less so there will be enough for all.
Not that Japan has all the solutions, but people here need to learn how to teach what they know about long-term sustainability. And there are many good ideas and solutions in Japan.
I am currently visiting Kyoto again and I am struck by how this ancient city has managed to provide a comfortable life for hundreds of thousands of people for so long. And they must have one of the most convenient bus systems in the world - you can get anywhere for a flat 220 Yen fee ($2) and kids ride for a dollar. Retired people ride for free. There are also a couple of subway lines and a JR train line plus the Shinkansen. Why is not every city built like this?
If we start looking for sustainable solutions we will have to throw away a lot of conventional thinking, but the first step may be to accept that others do it much better.