森里海シンポジウム「『人と自然のつながり』を育てる地域の力―淡海(おうみ)発・企業の挑戦―」 に参加した学生の感想

Gao Zheng(地球環境学舎 修士課程2回)

 On 14th December, I attended the symposium organized by the educational unit for studies on the connectivity of hills, humans and oceans (CoHHO Program), Kyoto University. In this symposium, four guest speakers were invited to share their experience about the application of environmental conservation in enterprises from different perspectives including governmental, agricultural companies, manufacturing companies and banks. Such a symposium is a very good and precious chance for people who are interested in such topics to communicate with enterprises directly, especially for us students, it makes us realize the gap between reality and theories, which will drive us to consider how to put what we have learnt in classrooms into practice.
 Within the four topic speeches, I’ve got a deep and positive impression after listening to the speech given by Mr. Kenichi Maeda from KOKUYO PRODUCT SHIGA CO.LTD. This is a small-sized papermaking company based on the bank of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, with almost 40 years of history. Since 2007, this company began to develop, make and sell paper products made from reed living around Lake Biwa. With the enlargement of the market, they try to send messages about local ecological integrity and CSR to consumers through their beautiful and high-quality products. In addition, they also put a lot of effort to organize volunteer activities to mobilize more people to pay attention and make contribution to the protection of Lake Biwa.
 There are two main reasons why I think their speech and achievement are attractive and impressive to me. Firstly, the region of Lake Biwa is very similar to my hometown, a small city in Jiangsu Province, where there is a big fresh water lake just like Lake Biwa. Reed is a very common plant in shoal waters in Northern Hemisphere. It is a very important part of the local ecosystem, mainly offering shelters to wild animals, meanwhile, it is also a part of the landscape. In the mind of people living near these waters, reed marsh is the link and intermediary zone between human society and wild natural world. However, with urbanization and modernization, reed marshes are dying-off. Mr. Maeda’s speech reminded me of the reed marshes in my hometown. I think the pattern of KOKUYO’s development could be a feasible example to similar companies in developing countries like China. Secondly, the strong sense of social responsibility and great motive power of Japanese enterprises touched me and earned my respect. One of the key factors for becoming a successful and respectable enterprise is that the company must give something good to the society while taking from it. This is the era of business. In other words, enterprises hold great power to influence the whole world. If enterprises are willing to put efforts on leading their consumers to the right direction, for instance, saving energy, saving food, living in harmony with the environment, etc., I believe that the speed by which we  will be solving environmental problems can become much faster, for sure. It is comforting to see that there are still some companies like KOKUYO which never give up on contributing their power to improve the relationship between human and environment, in which case, their attitude is worth being taken as a reference by many transnational enterprises like P&G and Unilever.
 In summary, I am very grateful to have attended this symposium before my graduation. I hope CoHHO Program can offer more chances to students to communicate with experts working on the leading edge of environmental conservation and sustainability.

田中 美澄枝(農学研究科 修士課程1回)


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