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Showing posts from March, 2014

Eco Links For March, 2014

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IPCC report warns that climate change could threaten food security, increase poverty and become an indirect cause of conflicts, says NHK World today as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meeting ends in Yokohama.

At a press conference Monday, IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri emphasized the need to take the predictions seriously and make efforts to address problems related to global warming. No one would be immune from the impact of global warming, he said. The report mentioned frequent surges in food prices that took place after IPCC published a similar report in 2007. It stated that abnormal weather that frequently struck main food-producing areas, including heat waves, droughts and floods, were a principal factor behind the sharp rises in food prices. The report said a 2 C increase in temperature would cause a decrease in the harvest of rice, wheat and corn in temperate and tropical regions. An increase of 4 C or more would deal a serious blow to each nation’s foo…

BBC: "Hunger Games" In Japan Due To Climate Change And More

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The BBC is in Japan for the Climate Change conference in Yokohama, and I was interviewed about food issues and what needs to be happening, soon: Is Japan playing hunger games with climate change?

"...We are facing a crisis unless we do something. I think we need a fundamental change in the minds of consumers," says Martin Frid from the Consumers Union of Japan. "One of the solutions here in Japan is local consumption; local production, where consumers come and help out on the farm and bring their kids."

Nice photo from the BBC website of my good friend and organic farmer Michio Ouzumi in Ibaraki, who contributes in his own original way to inspire and educate!

The Yokohama Climate Change Policy Headquarters has a website called Hope our Earth with this message from Yokohama-born astronaut Satoshi Furukawa:

The Earth as seen from space had an overwhelming presence. I was strongly struck that the Earth was a system keeping a perfect balance, with us humans as one …

Very Clever, Mr. Dahl

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Roger Dahl in Seattle has some of the best cartoons about Japanese politics. Absurdities, indeed.

If I have to spell it out, well, the current Abe government seems more interested in military might ("collective defense") and Constitutional reform and helping large corporations enter the arms export market, than in protecting farmers and the people who are already under pressure from cheap imports of food, and all of that, from TPP and other free trade agreements, that Abe seems to imagine will - do what to Japan?

Thus the "plowshares" joke...

But you long-suffering Kurashi readers all got that, right?

Climate Change Conference In Yokohama Starts...

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...with a clear mandate to come up with a report by Monday next week that should outline how climate change will impact the world over the next 100 years.

That includes food and agriculture topics, such as food security issues, that I work on, so I was interviewed by the BBC today in Ueno Park about that. If I like Matt McGrath's report later this week I promise to post a link!

Climate change will no doubt cost Japan dearly. Estimates could be as high as ¥17 trillion (US$176 billion) annually by the end of the century, according to a 2009 report from Ibaraki University, found referenced here.

The study reveals that Japan will have to cope with a range of impacts that could simultaneously:

affect the stability of its most important food supply, rice;increase the severity of natural disasters, like flooding;alter and undermine some of its key natural ecosystems;place even greater pressure on communities and a health system already struggling with its ageing population; andcause increa…

Casa Brutus Goes Green

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I'm sure it is just my imagination, but when a major Magazine House publication like Casa Brutus suddenly goes all green and promotes veggie farming and herbs and flowers... What is the world coming to? Great to see this happen in 2014, hope it means we are in for more, not less... Although I still promote less consumption, not more, if you know what I mean ;)

Casa Brutus 169

As for their "Complete Botanical Manual" and "Flower Look Book" I guess it is much like how they tell trendy wanna-be people what bag to wear, with what belt, and that special necktie. Only now they also include a garden goods catalog, and inspiration from Kew Garden in London and California, and the awesomeness of botanical gardens in general. And yes, much of it is edible! Plus a couple of pages about Japanese sake...

I could get all emotional here, and ask for an issue about animal rights (avoid leather), or how the drought due to climate change will affect our lifestyles, or why not an…

...And Way South...

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Kyushu is rather very far away from Tokyo, and has been that way since time immemorial when the good people in Satsuma (Kagoshima) refused to go along with/only reluctantly accepted the bakufu (Edo/Tokyo), and the rest is history.

I had the pleasure of visiting these southern parts of Japan, staying at Kurokawa Onsen, and then I went further to Yakushima, an island with great cedar trees that are up to 7000 years old.

Some 40% of the island is protected. Shiratani and Yakusugi Land provide the kind of hiking I had always dreamt of. But the local harbour and the main roads along the coast are being "developed"and there is a lot of construction going on.
You can get a terrific cappuccino at the

Yakushima Island Environmental and Cultural Village Center
屋久島環境文化村センター(yakushima kankyou bunka mura senta)

One helpful guide who had previously been in the Self Defense Forces but was now working at Shiratani told me that the busy road projects were all due to Shinzo Abe and the curren…

Go West...

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Like to hike? If you spend all your time in central Tokyo you probably have no idea how close you are to some great nature adventures, unless of course you read blogs like Kurashi... It is that time of the year when the weather gets better and if you want some fresh air, head out to Hanno and the Oku Musashi Mountains, or why not Chichibu where the real fun begins. Most tokyoites don't seem to realize how far west into the wilderness the Metropolis stretches:

...into areas like Oku-Tama, part of the Chichibu-Tama National Park - a 1250-km2 expanse of mountains, forests, river sources and rural towns and villages, around the convergence of Tokyo's western extent with Saitama, Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures. These mountains offer many of the more serious hiking experiences within easy reach of Tokyo proper.

That's from Ai Chaobang's blog, check out his post aboutMitake-san and Ōdake-san about 2 hours or so west from central Tokyo on the JR Ome line.

Check train times ov…