Showing posts from September, 2014

For Biodiversity...

Image obligations and long held convictions will take me to Pyongchang, South Korea, for the UN Convention of Biological Diversity conference. Remember Nagoya, 2010 ? I feel very fortunate to be able to participate in events like this. Since the Rio Summit in 1992, it was clear that climate change and biodiversity where among the most pressing issues facing our planet. We need sunshine and rain and food (seeds) and rain and then some certain comforts. Energy issues - another factor, but the global community never managed to create conventions for that, thus the uncertainty. Imagine - a UN convention for oil. Or a UN convention for energy. Didn't happen. I have kept working on food safety issues, trying to educate people about seed issue, and the importance of organic farming, and avoiding the massive amounts of antibiotics used for the animals people eat. Plus I try to tell everyone that cares to listen to avoid artificial additives, or colourings, if possible. But

Again And Again: Huge Demonstration Against Nuclear Power In Japan

Huge demonstration today in Yoyogi Park in central Tokyo with tens of thousands of people voicing their concern about nuclear power plants. Japan still manages fine with all of them shut down. No to restart! Consumers Union of Japan and many, many other NGOs supported this event. Photos from The Mainichi .

Ghibli At Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

One of Tokyo's most unusual museums is located in Koganei Park, west of the central parts of the city. It is a large park with a lot of space for kids to run around and much to see and do. If you like Ghibli animation films, now is a great time to visit. Until December 14, 2014 they are holding a special exhibition celebrating Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli and its many talented artists. The famous studio, by the way, is also located in Koganei City near the park. There is nothing on the official English website, and I do hope they will do more to help people who don't read Japanese to get to know the many architectural treasures and historical buildings in the park. Access to the Open Air Museum (E) Rocket News 24 has more: With nearly 400 different pieces including full 3-D models, landscape paintings, and notes and other material about the anime buildings, the exhibition looks to be a great way for Ghibli fans to get a deeper view of what was happening be

Asia: Demand For More Vegetables, Less "Gutter Oil"

Nothing like a healthy meal, with lots of fruit and veggies. Any time of the day. It also makes economic sense. Not just because it will help cut your medical bills. Well, think about it. Well. Nikkei Asian Review notes that all over Asia, there is a trend towards more healthy eating, and that means more fruit and vegetables. How to provide it? That is another huge task. Nikkei: Now blossoming across Southeast Asia: The vegetable business BANGKOK/HANOI -- New vegetable enterprises are emerging in Southeast Asia as incomes rise and consumers increasingly insist on safe, quality produce.     The Bolaven plateau in the southeast of Laos is gaining prominence as a cabbage-producing area. A 150-hectare field, situated about 1,000 meters above sea level, is being cultivated by 160 farms under contract with Pakxong Development Export-Import, the country's largest agricultural corporation. "Production of cabbages in Bolaven for export is helping farmers double or tr

TPP: Everyone Should Be Truly Worried, Now

What's the name of that children's game, where you get to hit one thing after another, and another one after the other pops up, and it is the same thing over and over? Same thing with TPP, the trade pact that seems to have no benefits at all, yet the economists and free market liberals and people in charge (who will no doubt profit from it since they own the right stock and have all the connections for future cushy jobs, aka revolving door or amakudari, with variations). Round after round of negotiations with little or no result. I went to the Brunei Round last year, and here we are, more smoke screens on the foggy radar (forgive mixed images). Ahem. Met a friend today, he just got married. Has his own issues, but loves nature and farming and has recently moved to an organic scheme near Tokyo, and he is getting a lot of attention. Young and handsome and generally genki. And even he said he was worried about TPP. "How can we farm if all these cheap foods are impor

Hatappi - Smarthphone Farming Game App

I think I have seen it all now. Someone next to me on the train played it, and I found out it's called Hatappi, a play on the word for farm field, "hatake" and "happy" (and maybe "app") by Tokyo-based LD Inc . It looks like a load of fun but come on, is this what the word has come to? We are now too rich and lazy to actually do farm work, and instead enjoy the simulation on an electronic device hooked up to satellites and electricity and batteries and... But ok, I get it. Not everyone has the opportunity to grow their own vegetables. It is a nice dream to have and I shouldn't rant about this. I really shouldn't. I mean, I want to, but... I like how they call it a Satoyama Kurashi experience, and it is tied up with real farmers that actually can provide the produce to gamers. Also, gamers can sign up for visits to participating farms, and there are all kinds of great ideas. Yet... I mean... You know what I mean... An app for farming...

Support Japan And Efforts To Protect Biological Diversity

Japanese farmers have completely rejected genetically modified organisms. There is no cultivation of GMOs in Japan for commercial purposes. Very few field trials are ongoing at research institutes, which we are keeping a close eye on. Meanwhile, reports from China indicate that GM rice will not be allowed, which is great news. South Korea also does not grow any GMOs commercially. Activists and experts in Asia are not supporting GMOs. Here is Third World Network and their campaign for biosafety . The Biosafety Information Centre is a website set up and managed by Third World Network. The goals are to: Increase knowledge on, and deepen understanding of, (w)holistic approaches for a comprehensive assessment of technologies and techniques that involve genetic engineering Contribute to a wider public discussion and critical understanding of the scientific, ecological , social, economic and ethical dimensions of genetic engineering under the rubric of biosafe

Who Can Help Volvo Get Paid By North Korea?

This is such an epic story of the early 1970s, back when the Cold War was seriously on. Sweden was supporting Vietnam, and - hey, why not North Korea as well? There was a trade fair in Pyongyang and Volvo, Atlas Copco and Kockums participated (Atlas Copco for the minerals that now China are eying, but that is another story, Kockums from Malmö, for ship building, I suppose...) Somehow, North Korea managed to manipulate the Swedish government and its foreign trade body to supply some 1,000 green Volvo 144 Sedans. With leather seats. Oh, I remember those, they were considered large by usual Swedish standards back when I was a child in the 1970s. As I have noted earlier on Kurashi, we had a Renault 4 no more no less, until father caught on and got a Toyota Starlet in 1981. Volvo? That was for more affluent neighbors. The Volvo 144 Sedan was - luxury. And that is the very car Sweden decided to export to North Korea. And North Korea decided not to pay. Turns out, they are still around.