Front page | Essays index


The 'Key' to a Better World


In Japan now, as in most other advanced nations around the world, much time, energy and money is being spent in the search for solutions to environmental problems. At every level of society - private, corporate, and public, people are trying to find ways to reduce the negative impact of our activities on the earth.

Housewives are using cleaner detergents and no longer throwing away used cooking oil, companies are reducing unnecessary packaging and designing new products that can be recycled easily, and local governments are seeking better methods of waste disposal. We are truly in the middle of a 'boom' in 'green' concerns, and yes, all these activities are indeed having a good effect on our environment.

But as important as all such initiatives are, if something else vitally important is neglected, all this work will be wasted ... all this progress will be for nothing ... and just a few short years from now, we will find ourselves right back at the beginning of the long struggle to reach an understanding of how to live properly on this earth.

What is this vitally important thing that must not be overlooked? Simply, it is our children. If we fail to teach our children how to live properly in balance with nature, then all our other activities will be completely wasted. What good is it for the housewife to carefully recycle her used cooking oil if, one day in the future, her granddaughter thinks, "Hey, that's too troublesome, I can just dump this down the sink."? What good is it for a corporation to devise recyclable packaging if, one day in the future, a new young manager thinks, "Hmmm, I think I can see a good way to save money on these expensive special boxes."?

It is no good creating environmentally friendly ways of living now, if such attitudes are only going to be temporary. The single most important job facing us at the moment, is to bring up our children in such a way that they will never fall back into the 'old' ways of living. To bring them up to understand that they are just one part of the incredibly complicated and intertwined family of living things on this earth. To bring up the next generation of housewives, business managers and leaders to be true citizens of the earth ... to be people who would simply never think of acting in environmentally destructive ways.

Our children now - the citizens of tomorrow. There is nothing we can do, absolutely nothing, that is more important than ensuring that they grow up with knowledge of how to live in harmony with nature.

You ask what you can do to help save the earth ... The answer is right there in your own home. Right there in your own child's way of thinking. There in your own family you hold the 'key' to a better world ...

Please ... don't neglect this crucial responsibility. Put your children on the proper path.

(... for the Daily Yomiuri ... "What you are doing to help save the earth")