Green Machine

May 30, 2008 at 10:17 am 6 comments

The other day I stumbled across Nihon Hacks, a site that offers creative ways to make life easier in Japan. It includes tips about recycling, composting your veggies, and using plastic tofu containers as planters. It got me thinking: is it easier to go green in Japan?

Obviously the Kyoto Protocol sends the message that Japan (among others) is serious about curbing global warming, but what about day-to-day living for the average citizen?

In an editorial article for CLEAN (Citizen’s League for Environmental Action Now), Todd Bynon, a writer and military man stationed in Japan, revealed what he considers to be key differences between living in Japan and living in the States.

In Japan:

1. Public Transportation is fast, clean and efficient, and cuts down enormously on car emissions
2. Recycling is taken very seriously, with fines imposed for incorrect usage
3. Japan is a leader in hybrid vehicles
4. Parks and “green spaces” are prevalent
5. Used-good stores are popular

Bynon is quick to point out that Japan could do better in the renewable energy department. Still, I think Japan is ahead of the U.S. when it comes to green living. My apartment building, in the middle of Los Angeles, doesn’t provide any type of recycling, and nobody I know takes public transportation on a regular basis; we all drive cars.

Check out BEE Japan, “a group of international members that promotes environmental awareness and green living in Japan,” for some inspiring ideas – including information on cross-country bike trips.

Sarah S.

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6 Comments

  • 1. thehoneycombcollective  |  June 3, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    That’s very interesting. It seems like minor adjustments to are living can go a super long way.

    -DJ
    http://www.thehoneycombcollective.com

  • 2. sarahsk  |  June 6, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Thanks for the comment, DJ! I agree — it’s the small things that add up. (I’m the type that brings a re-usable bag to the grocery store.)

  • 3. Sarah S.  |  June 8, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Thanks for commenting, DJ. Yes, I think it’s the small things that really add up.

  • 4. Skye  |  June 9, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I think you’re right – the life style here (especially with the smaller – though unfortunately uninsulated – houses) is probably more generally environmentally friendly than in, say, North America. On the other hand, the multi-layered approach to packaging in Japan is pretty eco unfriendly. Though having said that, my town (in Nagano Prefecture) has free composting which though not compulsory is certainly a step in the right direction!

  • 5. Sarah S.  |  June 11, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    On the other hand, the multi-layered approach to packaging in Japan is pretty eco unfriendly.

    Good point, Skye. I’ve noticed that with food packaging in particular, many items are individually wrapped within larger bags and containers, which seems like a waste.

    I wish we had free composting in my town!!

    Thanks for reading 🙂

  • […] 27, 2008 This ties in with my post a few weeks ago about Japan’s potential as a Green leader. Last November, Honda unveiled its new zero-emission car at the Los Angeles Motor Show. On Monday, […]

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