After nine years of the “Green Lane” Environmental Diary program, activities have expanded to include 100,000 elementary school children throughout Japan, totaling up to about 500,000 students since the beginning of the program. The program is passed on from students to younger siblings and students every year. The city of Kitakyushu and the Shinjyuku municipality of Tokyo have further adopted this program to cover all the elementary schools in their area.
This year, 5,200 kids completed the diary over 3 months, reporting the effect of their ecological activities and their discoveries regarding various environmental issues. The issues reported went beyond local concerns, exploring global environmental issues as well. Beginning with small activities such as picking-up empty cans or saving water/electricity, students influenced communities to do take actions for preserving our environment.
Amongst the participants, 200 children participated in the Award Ceremony in which the “Eco Products 2007” ecological business convention was held. Minister of Environment, Mr. Kamoshita participated in the ceremony and praised the students for their efforts. In parallel to the Award Ceremony, the Eco Kids Summit was held and organized by youth panelists including children from Sri Lanka. Students showed vivid interest in the diary-writing program. Recommendations from the panel were submitted to the Minister of Environment.
The number of companies contributing to the program is steadily increasing while some companies such as Japan Airline and Fuji Film utilize the diary for educating staff and families. At Eco Products 2007, volunteers mobilized to demonstrate the environmental activities made by different companies. The Eco Products convention demonstrated the various ecological activities and insights of Japan’s business society.
Changing one’s lifestyle is the most essential component in preventing further deterioration of the environment but a transition to sustainable lifestyles requires time. The strategy of the Green Lane program is to promote ecological reform through advocacy at the individual level to spread throughout society to reach family members, teachers, community, business circles and policy makers.