Life Studies Blog (Old)

July 11, 2005

Ecology and city life, Peter Berg (by M)

In the entry of July 5, I talked about Peter berg's lecture at Kyoto Seika University. Today I want to talk about the continuation of the story. He showed us some pictures of bioregionally sustainable life in an island. He showed a slide and said (the following is from Montana lecture but he said almost the same at Kyoto):

"This is photo of a boy standing in a boat in the river holding up a fish he's just caught. The house behind him is made out of bamboo that's been split and pounded out flat. Making a building like this doesn't involve using money."

I understand what he wanted to say. However, I couldn't help wondering if the boy would have wished to go to the cities and enjoy an urban lifestyle, if he had had a chance to do it. In Japan, there are a lot of young people who love city life. They like to be surrounded by the artificial environment and various commodities. They love cafes, buildings, clubs, Internet, portable phones, shops, etc. They sometimes drive along the coast, but they seldom think of living in a far countryside. Today, most young women don't want to marry men who are living in rural areas.

My question is this: is it really possible to persuade them to leave the urban, energy consuming cities and lead an ecological life in a rural area? I have a pessimistic view. At the meeting, a student and I asked similar questions to Peter. He replied that it is possible to teach the splendor of nature to youngsters, and the important thing is to "go outside" into nature.

I love the idea of bioreginalism, however, we have to add "something" to it in order to make it a tool to persuade Japanese young people to become bioreginalists. The students who gathered to listen to his lecture were exceptions. I am sure that they will become real ecologists in the future. But what about the majority of young people who love contemporary city life? Of course they know that we are facing a global environmental crisis. They understand it intellectually. We need something more attractive to them in addition to what Peter stressed in his lecture.

(To be continued...)

Photo: Cafe at Umeda, Osaka

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