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Climate Change

PatPaul

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Hello Everyone,

I would like to know if Climate Change, Fukushima are things that the foreign community and Japanese talk about. I live on Sikoku Island, and I have found people never talk about such issues, and it's the same in my home country of Canada. I tried to start an grassroots environmental organization 2 years ago but got nowhere since neither the foreign or Japanese community showed any interest. I know there are some organizations with their headquarters in Tokyo, but when I contacted them and told them where I live, they really did not have much they could help me with...Anyone out there talking about these issues?

PatPaul
 

thomas

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Hi, and welcome to the forum!

What were the aims of your grassroots organisation? Raising awareness?
 

PatPaul

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What were the aims of your grassroots organisation? Raising awareness?
Hi Thomas, Thanks for the welcome. It's nice to be a part of the community. My aims? Well the organization I worked with to try and get a local chapter started in my town was 350.org. They have their HQ in Tokyo and I did get support from them, but like I said, all of my solicitations on FB, putting up posters at my local church, international center, universities/colleges...did not attract much interest. I guess my aim is to raise awareness. I am very concerned about the issue since I have two young children. I know talking about the subject (Climate Change, the ongoing situation in Fukushima) can make people depressed, since these issues are so daunting. However, I would still like to give it another go.

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@PatPaul
Give web-service called Meetup a try. You may find it a convenient tool for purposes of gathering people with the same interests.
 

Lothor

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Hello Everyone,

I would like to know if Climate Change, Fukushima are things that the foreign community and Japanese talk about. I live on Sikoku Island, and I have found people never talk about such issues, and it's the same in my home country of Canada. I tried to start an grassroots environmental organization 2 years ago but got nowhere since neither the foreign or Japanese community showed any interest. I know there are some organizations with their headquarters in Tokyo, but when I contacted them and told them where I live, they really did not have much they could help me with...Anyone out there talking about these issues?

PatPaul

The Japanese media have a clearly defined set of topics that are deemed kosher to report on. Fukushima these days has been relegated to a symbol of how gloriously Tohoku is recovering from the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster, and climate change is only mentioned in passing during hot weather. You would never see, for example, a TV program on how we could reduce our global footprint by eating less meat, flying less or having fewer kids because that would upset the meat and travel industries and would be against the government aim of trying to increase the birth rate.
So, until things start getting really bad, I doubt you're going to get much of a reaction apart from a bit of hand-wringing and a few kowais from most people in Japan.

I'm not saying this problem is unique to Japan but it is very apparent here.

PS Like you, I have two children and am very concerned about the situation.
 

PatPaul

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The Japanese media have a clearly defined set of topics that are deemed kosher to report on. Fukushima these days has been relegated to a symbol of how gloriously Tohoku is recovering from the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster, and climate change is only mentioned in passing during hot weather. You would never see, for example, a TV program on how we could reduce our global footprint by eating less meat, flying less or having fewer kids because that would upset the meat and travel industries and would be against the government aim of trying to increase the birth rate.
So, until things start getting really bad, I doubt you're going to get much of a reaction apart from a bit of hand-wringing and a few kowais from most people in Japan.

I'm not saying this problem is unique to Japan but it is very apparent here.

PS Like you, I have two children and am very concerned about the situation.
Hi Lothor,
Thank you for the reply. You made some very good points-thank you. I thought things were already quite bad and there getting worse quickly, so I am a bit surprised that few people here are worried; whether they are parents or not, young or old, Japanese or non-Japanese. As I mentioned in my original post, my intention was not to bash Japan, since I know in Canada the Trans Mountain Pipeline is supported by many Canadians, and climate change is seen as something "over there and not our concern," a sentiment I do not share.

PatPaul
 

Lothor

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PatPaul - do you think the record-breaking temperatures in Canada this summer have focused the minds of Canadians at all? I've seen newspaper articles arguing that the extreme temperatures in Britain have finally convinced British people that climate change has arrived, but I'm sceptical.
Another contributing factor to the lack of urgency in Japan may be the more fatalistic view of Japanese people on the whole (which has its advantages too). Throughout history their lives have been shattered by earthquakes, floods, senseless wars, injustices, etc., and they've just had to shrug, try and get on with things and rebuild. Life's going to be short and brutish anyway, so you may as well not worry and live in the moment, hence the large importance of ephemeral moments in Japanese culture.
 

PatPaul

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PatPaul - do you think the record-breaking temperatures in Canada this summer have focused the minds of Canadians at all? I've seen newspaper articles arguing that the extreme temperatures in Britain have finally convinced British people that climate change has arrived, but I'm sceptical.
Another contributing factor to the lack of urgency in Japan may be the more fatalistic view of Japanese people on the whole (which has its advantages too). Throughout history their lives have been shattered by earthquakes, floods, senseless wars, injustices, etc., and they've just had to shrug, try and get on with things and rebuild. Life's going to be short and brutish anyway, so you may as well not worry and live in the moment, hence the large importance of ephemeral moments in Japanese culture.
Hi Lothor,
Thanks for the reply. To answer your question, yes, there was quite a bit of media coverage about the record breaking temperatures in Ottawa, where I visited last month for two weeks, and in other parts of the country. I am just not sure if Canadians became convinced, like the British people, that CC is a reality. Someone told me that he has a sister who works for one of the big TV networks in Canada, and the reason they don't give more coverage to the issue is the stories they air are based on "clicks," that is what viewers seem to find of interest on the Internet.

I am not an authority on Japanese culture, but you might be right about the older generation in Japan having this fatalistic view, but I wonder if the younger generation does? I know when I spoke with my wife about heard a podcast (Nuclear Hotseat) where they interviewed a foreign resident who lives in Chiba with his Japanese wife and children, and he spoke about the impossibility of most residents in the Tokyo area with families just picking up and moving; so it was something (living near Fukushima), people just had to live with.

PatPaul
 

musicisgood

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Weather started to change around 1969, before that, it was fairly stable weather. Now, parts of the corn belt may not see as much snow or even rain these days. My understanding is that they are able to grow corn about 200 miles more north now then 20 years ago, that should tell you something.
Also seagulls are now present along the Mississippi River as far north as Iowa and Illinois. I never saw seagulls when I was a child fishing on the Mississippi River in N. Illinois.
Here in Japan, Yamaguchi Pref. it was hot and muggy at the end of April and May was extremely muggy along with June. I lived south of Tokyo 40 years ago and in April , May , June , July and August was very hot, not sure if the weather changed much there in the last 40 years.
The climate has always been changing, but recently I'd have to say it has sped up quite rapidly.
 

PatPaul

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Weather started to change around 1969, before that, it was fairly stable weather. Now, parts of the corn belt may not see as much snow or even rain these days. My understanding is that they are able to grow corn about 200 miles more north now then 20 years ago, that should tell you something.
Also seagulls are now present along the Mississippi River as far north as Iowa and Illinois. I never saw seagulls when I was a child fishing on the Mississippi River in N. Illinois.
Here in Japan, Yamaguchi Pref. it was hot and muggy at the end of April and May was extremely muggy along with June. I lived south of Tokyo 40 years ago and in April , May , June , July and August was very hot, not sure if the weather changed much there in the last 40 years.
The climate has always been changing, but recently I'd have to say it has sped up quite rapidly.
Hi Musicsgood,
Thanks for the reply. I too have witnessed climatic/seasonal changes over the years in Canada with longer warmer seasons and less snow on the ground...I am sure someone could give similar examples no matter where they live. I am still hoping to try and hook up or be put in contact with others in Japan who might share my concerns about climate change, and perhaps learn about ways to raise awareness of the problem.

PatPaul
 

thomas

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I am still hoping to try and hook up or be put in contact with others in Japan who might share my concerns about climate change and perhaps learn about ways to raise awareness of the problem.

Feel free to voice your concerns here on the forum; we'd be happy to support you in raising awareness of climate change and related issues.
 

PatPaul

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Feel free to voice your concerns here on the forum; we'd be happy to support you in raising awareness of climate change and related issues.
Hi Thomas! Thanks, I will. I just don't want to sound like a "broken record," but I feel it is an issue more people need to be talking about.

PatPaul
 

HanSolo

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You should share this video around there. Make sure to annotate it Japanese first.

 
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PatPaul

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Kind of a nice summary of 140 years--note that you can pick out averages for specific days:

東京の夏は着実に「暑く・長く」なっている
Hello Everyone, Thanks for the replies. To thomas, I am wondering if my thread might get more readers if it was posted somewhere other than the "Serious Discussion" thread? Anyways, my intention was not to debate whether climate change is a reality or a hoax, since that kind of debate could go on and on. I am the side of most scientists and believe it is real. The reason for my concerns is that I have two young kids, and their future looks grim. I don't want to provide all the science behind climate change, but would rather hear any ideas or suggestions from others about grassroots activism.

patpaul
 
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The reason for my concerns is that I have two young kids, and their future looks grim.
Your kids should be fine. The effects of climate change are "rapid" in terms of climate, but that's still over the course of several generations. That doesn't mean nothing needs to be done about the problem, of course, but it does mean you don't need to worry quite so much about the immediate future on a personal level.

I'd also like to note that while some countries (*cough* United States *cough*) are a bit stagnant on this matter, progress is being made. Overall I'd say, on a global scale, the future is looking bright when it comes to this matter. We'll have some climate change, of course (we're already experiencing some of the effects of climate change), but I'm pretty confident that we'll be able to reduce it to a level that we can handle.
 

PatPaul

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If you'd like to share videos about the science of climate change (which is after all more relevant than the opinions of activists and reactionaries), the "potholer54" channel on YouTube has a good number of them. They're organized into this playlist:

Climate change exIplained, and the myths debunked - Invidious

This one about the consequences of climate change is especially interesting:

28 - The consequences of climate change (in our lifetimes) - Invidious
Hi Julie, I did take a look at some, but not all, of the videos on the Invidious website. I respectfully must disagree with a lot of what was said in the videos. Of course, there still is a debate about whether climate change is real, and if it is, how soon is the earth to reaching the point of no return. I could cite the names of some of the journalists and scientists I admire, and follow their work. Of course they have their critics, who label them as "alarmists," or readers find their writing too depressing and not enough "good news stories..." I admire the optimism you have for my children aged 11 and 9;however, I just don't share your positive feelings. I am happy to discuss with you, or anyone, what they believe is accurate information, but as I mentioned before, I am more interested in looking for solutions...Fukushima is an example of a controversial issue in this country that, if you were to get all your news from mainstream media, you might think everything there is fixed and safe. I follow alternative websites/blogs, and they present a more dire picture of what is happening in the area and the ocean...

PatPaul
 
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What do you disagree with, exactly? Potholer54 just reports the conclusions of researchers in these videos. His sources are in the video description.

as I mentioned before, I am more interested in looking for solutions...Fukushima is an example of a controversial issue in this country that, if you were to get all your news from mainstream media, you might think everything there is fixed and safe.
I don't know much about Fukushima other than that it was a very bad nuclear fission plant disaster. What has that to do with climate change? I think it's advisable to not mix up unrelated issues.

Also, you aren't expecting to single-handedly fix climate change, are you? Because the thing is, any one person can only do so much. And that really isn't much at all. There's not much sense dedicating vast amounts of energy to a problem you can't substantially affect. Just vote with your wallet, vote in elections, and talk to people about it. Political and market forces will do the heavy lifting.

I follow alternative websites/blogs, and they present a more dire picture of what is happening in the area and the ocean...
I don't know what you mean by "dire picture", but I'd suggest that when a blogger makes an extraordinary claim, you check their source and verify it. If they have no source, ask for one. If they won't give a source, be skeptical. People claim all kinds of nonsense on the Internet, from the idea that cell phones cause cancer (with their non-ionizing radiation that can't change DNA) to the idea that the Earth is flat. But when you do some digging, you find that these claims are not supported by peer-reviewed papers published in respected scientific journals, or that the conclusions of such research have been exaggerated.
 

PatPaul

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What do you disagree with, exactly? Potholer54 just reports the conclusions of researchers in these videos. His sources are in the video description.


I don't know much about Fukushima other than that it was a very bad nuclear fission plant disaster. What has that to do with climate change? I think it's advisable to not mix up unrelated issues.

Also, you aren't expecting to single-handedly fix climate change, are you? Because the thing is, any one person can only do so much. And that really isn't much at all. There's not much sense dedicating vast amounts of energy to a problem you can't substantially affect. Just vote with your wallet, vote in elections, and talk to people about it. Political and market forces will do the heavy lifting.


I don't know what you mean by "dire picture", but I'd suggest that when a blogger makes an extraordinary claim, you check their source and verify it. If they have no source, ask for one. If they won't give a source, be skeptical. People claim all kinds of nonsense on the Internet, from the idea that cell phones cause cancer (with their non-ionizing radiation that can't change DNA) to the idea that the Earth is flat. But when you do some digging, you find that these claims are not supported by peer-reviewed papers published in respected scientific journals, or that the conclusions of such research have been exaggerated.
Hi Julie, Thanks for taking the time to write. I appreciate your thoughts and now realize I have so much to learn-thank you.
PatPau;
 

mdchachi

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How about starting small and joining an organization that actually does something locally? Something that people can support. For example a friend of mine has been surfing in the Chigasaki area for over 20 years. They have regular beach cleanup activities and events like that.
An organization whose primary goal is simply to raise awareness is really not going to get very far without some call to action.
 

PatPaul

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How about starting small and joining an organization that actually does something locally? Something that people can support. For example a friend of mine has been surfing in the Chigasaki area for over 20 years. They have regular beach cleanup activities and events like that.
An organization whose primary goal is simply to raise awareness is really not going to get very far without some call to action.
Him mdcahachi, Thanks for the reply. Two years ago I did try to start a local chapter of the environmental organization 350.org. No one was interested. Yes, there are many concerned Japanese and foreign residents who take part in beach cleanup. I did a few back in the day in Kochi-ken in 1991 when I first came to Japan on the JET Program. My primary goals are to raise awareness AND to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING. Two years ago I visited a local NPO, I think it is called the Shikoku Environmental Office. When I spoke to them about 350.org and other issues, they too suggested I take part in a beach cleanup. I am not disparaging such activities, but just feel more, A LOT more, needs to be done. So from my humble experience, people probably do have any idea about Abrupt Climate Disruption, but are busy with their jobs, families...The reason I chose to try and start something with 350.org is because none of the head offices in Tokyo of some of the major, international environmental groups (Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund) did not think it wise for me to try to do something on my own, outside of Tokyo. There is another organization, The Waterkeeper Alliance who does good work. I thought about trying to get people involved to be waterkeepers and clean and safeguard local rivers...No one was interested. Again, I am happy to share the stuff I read from journalists/scientists about how bad things ACTUALLY are, but I get the vibe on this form no one is that interested. That's OK. I reckon I cannot change anyone's mind...When I did visit the local universities, colleges, international centers, churches to talk with people about trying to mobilize something, or set up a group just to get the word out, I usually received a look from the person I dealt with like I was pole dancing. PP
 

mdchachi

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Even if things are as dire as you believe, I still don't understand what you want to accomplish. Let's say you get the word out and get people to believe that things are in dire straits and abrupt climate change is imminent. Then what? What do you want them to do? Prepare (like the preppers are doing)? Volunteer their time & money to fight some aspect of it? Advocate to governments or NGOs to do something?
I think if you are trying to make something happen on your own, you need a strong vision and plan for action to present to people.
 

PatPaul

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Even if things are as dire as you believe, I still don't understand what you want to accomplish. Let's say you get the word out and get people to believe that things are in dire straits and abrupt climate change is imminent. Then what? What do you want them to do? Prepare (like the preppers are doing)? Volunteer their time & money to fight some aspect of it? Advocate to governments or NGOs to do something?
I think if you are trying to make something happen on your own, you need a strong vision and plan for action to present to people.
Hi, Like I said to Julie C., I still have soooo much to learn. Thank you again for pointing that out...I really don't know what got into me...My very best to you regarding your future endeavours.
 
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