RSS Entries ATOM Entries

Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Teaching neighbours to build small renewable energy projects for resilience

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on October 31st, 2012

Source: Resilience


Photo via JfS

From “Transition Town Fujino goes for local energy independence” by Carol Smith via OurWorld 2.0:

Fujino is one of three fully functioning Transition Movement initiatives in Japan, although over twenty are in the works. Established in the fall of 2008, Transition Fujino (which we’ve featured on Our World a few times in the past) started up by sharing information on the core issues through events like briefings and film presentations.

Then a local currency, the Yorozuya (meaning “general store” in Japanese), was launched and began playing a major role in stimulating local networking. The Yorozuya project started with 15 members in 2009 and has now grown to include 150 households. Those participating can exchange goods and eat at restaurants using the currency. The network also thrives by targeting local needs, such as providing pet care, weeding vegetable gardens, and picking up children. It further serves to connect those in need with those who can give a hand. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the network displayed a great ability to support disaster-affected areas by collecting cash donations, gathering and sorting emergency relief supplies and regularly holding charity events.

In the wake of the [March 03 2011] disaster, the working group Fujino Denryoku (“denryoku” meaning “electric power”) was established to help people break away from their dependence on electricity provided by the traditional power utilities and transition towards self-sufficient, locally-distributed energy created with the participation of local people.  The group’s first project was to supply power for lighting and sound systems at a local festival. Project teams also went out to festivals in the earthquake disaster zones in the Tohoku region and offered support to the affected areas by supplying power generated with renewable energy.

The working group also holds monthly “Solar Power System Workshops”, where participants, including beginners, can easily assemble a home system by connecting photovoltaic (PV) panels and batteries, etc., as part of a campaign called “An Energy Shift Starting at Home”.  At the first workshop in December 2011 participants initially learned from one another, but the workshop began to attract attention from a wider public and within six months it was being introduced on TV and in magazines. Now the workshops host not only local residents, but increasingly people from outside communities.

Read the full article on the Resilience website to find out more about Transition Towns in Japan, energy independence and local resilience, or read the Japan for Sustainability (JfS) newsletter article by Yuriko Yoneda that this article was based on.

 


Working Together Towards a Sustainable World: Call for Papers

Posted in Events, Research, seeking by Kate Archdeacon on November 7th, 2011

The International Academic Forum in conjunction with its global partners is proud to announce the Second Annual Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy and the Environment, to be held from May 3-6 2012, at the Ramada Osaka, Osaka, Japan.

CONFERENCE THEME: “Working Together Towards a Sustainable World”

Sustainability has emerged as the most important global issue for business, industry, government, and academia, and yet to begin with sustainability was associated only with environmental concerns such as energy and global warming. It is now recognized that the concept of sustainability is applicable to all areas of human society, for example in terms of social/economic justice, or responsible business practice. Issues such as poverty, hunger, education, health care, and access to markets should be a part of the evolution of any comprehensive sustainability paradigm as we work together to achieve a sustainable future.

ACSEE 2012 will address these various dimensions of human sustainability as we invite scholars from around the world to address questions and search for solutions to the complex issues surrounding sustainability in a forum encouraging serious and thoughtful exchange between academics, members of the global business community, and practitioners in the fields of human endeavor that link these.

We call on scientists from around the globe to meet and share our respective outlooks and collective wisdom on a critical issue of common concern: the pursuit of a sustainable world. It is a sincere hope that attendees will use this time together, not just for intellectual discovery and discourse, but to establish a common vision and to motivate each other to do our part in the creation of a better world. We greatly appreciate your attendance and encourage your active engagement throughout the conference.

Call for Papers Now Open: Abstract Submissions Deadline February 1 2012

Visit the website for more information.


Parcel Service Uses Streetcars for Deliveries

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on October 3rd, 2011

Source: Japan for Sustainability

From “Yamato Starts Using Streetcars for Low-Carbon Parcel Transport“:

[…]

Under the new system, Yamato Transport Co. charters a single streetcar from Keifuku Electric Railroad at its Saiin carbarn, loads the streetcar with container dollies bearing parcels, and delivers them to Arashiyama Station and Randen-Saga Station. In Arashiyama, sales drivers unload the dollies, reload them onto carriers pulled by electric bicycles, and then deliver the parcels to customers.

Yamato Transport had already been using railway to transport parcels between some of its service offfices; however, this is the first modal shift between one of its distribution terminals and its sales offices, where parcels are actually collected and delivered. The company will introduce this system at other Randen streetcar stations and try to collect and deliver parcels while minimizing its use of trucks.

Yamato Transport hopes to reduce carbon emissions in Kyoto City, a city that, as the birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, aims to be a model of environmental stewardship under the slogan “Walking City, Kyoto.”

Read the full article on Japan for Sustainability.


Effective Use of Substandard Local Vegetables

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on May 14th, 2010

Source: Japan for Sustainability

Copyright Kumamoto Prefecture

The government of Kumamoto Prefecture in southern Japan has launched a project that introduces substandard agricultural products produced in the prefecture to box-lunch shops in business districts in Osaka Prefecture in western Japan. Kumamoto Prefecture’s Osaka office has led this project, called the “Mottainai Project” (‘mottainai’ literally means ‘not wasting what is valuable’), and started it in earnest in 2010.

The prefectural government began this project on a trial basis in 2008 in cooperation with a shop that sells box lunches and set meals in the same building as its Osaka office. In this shop, vegetables and fruits that used to be discarded, mainly due to scars on them or irregularities in their size, were experimentally sold at display counters that had been clear after lunchtime. These agricultural products were better received than expected, because of their low cost, tastiness, and novelty. As for tomatoes in particular, as much as five tons were sold in less than a four-month period, with sales of about one million yen (U.S.$10,870).

In this project, farmers can distribute substandard vegetables and fruits to shops in small amounts, while shops can make effective use of vacant counters, and also can use vegetables and fruits for box lunches and other meals if they are left unsold. The project is well-received, as it involves little risk for the farmers and shops and brings additional profits to both. So far, 15 local food stores and farmers have distributed such farm products to Osaka, and 38 farmers have showed an interest in doing so.

The prefectural government’s Osaka office also plans to hold a food exhibition for box-lunch shop owners to allow them to see and taste-test substandard vegetables, with the aim of enhancing the network with Kumamoto Prefecture and acquiring new vendors in the Osaka metropolitan area.

Read the full article on japanfs.

—-


Lessons of the Square Watermelon

Posted in Models by fedwards on February 23rd, 2009

Find an extract (and some pictures) from an article, Lessons of the Square Watermelon by Peter Drucker on the Lean Thinking Network.

Japanese grocery stores had a problem. They are much smaller than their US counterparts and therefore don’t have room to waste. Watermelons, big and round, wasted a lot of space. Most people would simply tell the grocery stores that watermelons grow round and there is nothing that can be done about it. That is how the vast majority of people would respond. But some Japanese farmers took a different approach. If the supermarkets wanted a square watermelon, they asked themselves, “How can we provide one?” It wasn’t long before they invented the square watermelon.
Square watermelons

The solution to the problem of round watermelons wasn’t nearly as difficult to solve for those who didn’t assume the problem was impossible to begin with and simply asked how it could be done. It turns out that all you need to do is place them into a square box when they are growing and the watermelon will take on the shape of the box.

Square watermelons 2

To read the full article visit the Lean Thinking Network.