I’m Daisuke Yokoyama, speaking for Gomi-Japan,
which is a Japanese environmental non-profit organization.
We are a group consisting of Kobe University students trying to reduce the amount of waste.
I am here today to introduce to you a system that will allow any consumer to have a role in saving our environment.
Do you know the legendary speech a girl just 12 years-old made at the UN Conference on Environment and Development 20 years ago? Her name is Severn Cullis-Suzuki. She asked “Are we even on your list of priorities?” She pointed out that adults had destroyed the environment, and told us to take action.
Since then, many things have changed all over the world.
Summits were occasionally held, and many people had serious discussions about the environment.
Concluding treaties is, of course, important, but how much action we are actually able to take is what counts.
People came to recognize the necessity of energy saving and sustainable resource usage.
Now, those technologies are progressing little by little.
I think action by consumers and action by businesses in response, will realize the changes much more quickly.
Lets look at the waste problem in Japan for example.
The life expectancy of industrial waste-processing sites has decreased to less than 20 years.
Furthermore, a lot of rubble surfaced because of the Tohoku Earthquake.
It has become more difficult to solve this problem in such a small island nation as Japan.
We should acknowledge that such a sudden disaster is inevitable because Japan is well known for earthquakes.
Preparation is necessary.
In other words, it is very important to curb waste in our daily lives.
During these 2 decades, many people started to try what they could do for the environment.
People’s consciousness and actions are changing in a favorable way.
As one of them, we – Gomi-Japan are taking actions.
We recommend people to buy products that have less package than other products
so that we can reduce the amount of packaging waste reasonably.
We call these products “Herasou(in Chinese character, reducing packages)-Products.”
To make such a recommendation, we take various actions and try to tell people our thoughts and feelings.
For example, we buy all products of a kind in the store and measure all packages by weight and Life Cycle CO2.
We ask supermarkets to set point-of-purchase display around the products.
Regularly, we visit the stores to check things out and communicate with the workers.
We ask them about customers’ reactions regarding our activity or difficulties to continue this project there.
In addition, we take part in many environmental events, such as education about the waste problem through classes for children, holding symposia with other environmental communities, and tea parties to talk about the environment with consumers. We named those actions “Hersou-Shopping” as a whole.
It is very valuable for us to have opportunities to talk with consumers directly, through Herasou-Shopping.
Some of them said “How excessive this packaging is!”
Our role is to provide opportunities to take reasonable action to those who want to do it.
We hope that people who are aware of environmental issues will be sparked by our actions.
Thanks to the people who are sharing our feelings and supporting us,
the number of people who know about Herasou-Products and Herasou-Shopping is increasing.
Our activities are small.
However, we now know that small activities become bigger if consumers, businesses, and the government can communicate well.
It is having a system in which everyone can take reasonable action that is important.
Today, various environmental problems are surfacing in different places around the world but at the same time,
many movements to solve them are also occurring.
To give up your current is to give up your future.
We do not want to give up our future.
We are facing problems that we should solve now. The time to take action has already come.
Please take action with us.
You and us are the only ones who can create the future.
11th June, 2012
“Herasou-Symposium for The Future”
in the 1st conference room of Ministry of the Environment
by all students from Gomi-Japan
Founded September 6, 2005
Masanobu Ishikawa (Professor of graduate school of economics, Kobe University)
2-1 Rokkodai, Nada-ku, Kobe-city 657-8501 Japan
The second laboratory107, faculty of economics, Kobe University
Gomi-jp was founded by the professors, staff, students of Kobe University and the working people
as NPO group to achieve the community where we can reduce the amount of garbage spontaneously
and comfortably under the cooperation among governments, companies, academic organizationsand consumers.
We have planned and developed the activities to reduce the garbage output throughout
the entire society, and to dispose of garbage as properly as possible.
By cooperating with consumers, companies, academic organizations and governments,
we have been doing the social experiment for
(1)the promotion of simple packaging,
(2)increasing awareness of separating and recycling garbage,
(3)building new channel of reuse and
(4)manufacturing and distributing the products for reducing garbage.
Based on the findings from the experiment above,
we have contributed to the development of social system for drastic solution for garbage program.
●Background of foundation
October 2005,in the 2005 annual report on the system research committee
for spreading simple packaging – summarized by ‘Gomi-Zero Partnership Conference’-,
a hypothesis was made that consumer will change their shopping behavior or
they will choose the merchandise that produce less garbage ,
if they know more about the garbage program and they are given some incentive.
People with common interests gathered and decide to establish a nonprofit organization
'Gomi-jp’ to verify the hypothesis above. The representative of Gomi-jp is Masanobu Ishikawa,
the professor of graduate school of economics, Kobe University , who has studied garbage and
environment continuously. The main member is the students of Kobe University and working people.