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OUIK Biocultural Diversity Series #5 Restoring Kinship with Nature through Japanese Gardens -The Challenge to Achieve a Sustainable Commons in Kanazawa

The book introduces unique roles and teachings of Japanese Gardens in Kanazawa City in a relation with human society and it is breaking new ground for Kanazawa’s sustainable future. 

【開催報告】SDGsカフェ#9 「2030年の金沢の交通を考える」

Sorry, this entry is only available in Japanese.

Workshop: “Green Infrastructure Starting from Gardens in Temples and Shrines” 

On the 22nd of October 2019, the second volunteer cleaning activity at Shinrensha Temple Garden and the first workshop about green infrastructure were held. This time, together with Mr. Maruyama from Kanazawa Univ., Mr. Sakamura from JAIST, as well as their students, we invited Ms. Hayashi from Ryukoku Univ. as a guest speaker to talk about her research on the land use of Lake Biwa.  

OUIK’s researcher Dr. Ivars, the main organizer of this event, talked about his research on Kanazawa’s biocultural diversity. As he mentioned in his book published last July, it is important for citizens to actively collaborate to conserve the nature that exists in cities. Dr. Ivars is hoping that events like this cleaning workshop become more common among locals and tourists, as it would help the owners of the gardens maintain and preserve them. Dr. Ivars conducted a survey of participants before and after the cleaning. The results showed that cleaning the gardens increased positive emotions and reduced negative emotions. This activity gives benefits not only to the garden owner, but also to the participants. 

Next, Ms. Hayashi’s presentation taught us the importance of taking records on land use. If the cultural landscape and biodiversity of Japanese gardens in Kanazawa is a micro perspective, Ms. Hayashi’s story was more of a macro perspective. Ms. Hayashi’s research focuses on the natural environment and cultural landscapes of the past, and investigating changes in land use and the natural environment.  Using a map showing the surrounding area of ​​Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, she explained that investigating how to use the natural environment that has existed from the past to the present time can suggest ways to connect people and nature sustainably, or industries that match the local environment. 

After the lecture, we started the cleaning activities in the Shinrensha Garden. 

It was a beautiful autumn day, and the participants seemed to enjoy being close to nature outside. Participants mainly picked up fallen leaves in the main garden area and the graveyard behind the garden.  After one hour, the garden was finally clean, and we moved on to the discussion session. 

Each group summarized their feelings and impressions of this experience in a 3-minute presentation. Some thoughts included: “What kind of gardens attract people and give easier access to people?” “Let’s make use of fallen leaves” “I was able to relax and enjoy myself” and so on.  

Spending time in the garden surrounded by nature gives people living in the city opportunities to  come in contact with nature and share a common purpose with other people. The participants enjoyed learning in the beautiful garden, and they seemed very satisfied.  



Sorry, this entry is only available in Japanese.

【延期のお知らせ】シンポジウム日本庭園とSDGs in 東京

After careful consideration we have decided to cancel this event due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Once the situation is settled, we will reschedule the event and let you know here or on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OUIK.UNU.IAS/

If you need an update via email, please send a message to ouikschedule@gmail.com 

Thank you for understanding and we are looking forward to seeing you soon.




This symposium is in Japanese. 


OUIK Biocultural Diversity Series #4 [Learning About the Satoyama and Satoumi of Hokuriku Region from Maps]

Map information  compiled by various scales to learn about  the link between anthropogenic activities and physical environment within Hokuriku Region.

Youth Capacity Building Workshop towards UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

From January 1, 2016 until 2030, United Nations adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), with 17 goals and 169 targets, to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. These goals are applied to all countries and regions, and for the next 15 years they will be the critical tools in the dialogs to solve environmental, economic and social issues. Youth capacity development towards those issues will be essential to ensure the successful achievements of those goals. This Workshop is jointly created by Kanazawa University and United Nations University, and it aims to create the platform for the younger generations to come together and deepen the discussions on SDGs and share the regional issues.

Kanazawa SDGs Café #8 “What is Needed to Connect with Others and Help Each Other? -Thinking About a New Form of Partnership”

This SDGs Café’s topic was “partnership”. We invited Mr. Hiroishi from K.K. Empublic and Ms. Kasama from the Kanazawa City Government as guest speakers to imagine Kanazawa in 2030. The SDGs can only be realized through strong partnerships, a point made clear by the explicit inclusion of partnerships in the Goals themselves (Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals). After Ms. Nagai from OUIK introduced the collaborative project between Kanazawa City and JC Kanazawa, Ms. Kasama commented that “My dream is that in 2030, Kanazawa will be a city where everyone can naturally work together to solve social issues.” 

Mr. Hiroishi, who works on various partnership projects, introduced problem-solving processes and methods. He explained that ”complex problems” and “difficult problems” are different: difficult problems can be answered, but today’s social problems are complex, with diverse elements and complex contexts that interact and intertwine, so the main cause of the problem cannot be identified. Until now, we have solved one problem at a time. In other words, the only premise is a “problem-free situation”. “What is a problem-free situation? And is it really a good approach to solve problems one by one? At the end of the day it might be quicker and the total cost is cheaper if we try to make a situation where everyone is happy. ” Dynamic problems that are occurring in the system and those that are caused by complex factors require complex solutions. When a problem occurs, it is not something that can be solved if someone does something, rather it is necessary for the local community and society to improve so that they can either solve problems or prevent them in their early stages. 

After Mr. Hiroishi’s presentation, participants had a discussion over a newly introduced SDGs action plan for Kanazawa. 

Cleaning workshop at Shinrensha Temple 

On July 4, 2019, a garden cleaning workshop was held at Shinrensha Temple. This event was organised by Dr. Ivars (Researcher at OUIK), Dr. Mamadowa (Associate Professor, International Organization of Kanazawa University) and Dr. Iida (Collaborative Research Center for Environmental Research in the Sea of ​​Japan, Kanazawa University). 

This time, 14 exchange students from Kazan Federal University, Russia participated to learn about Kanazawa’s culture and history while strolling through the Higashi Chaya district and cleaning the garden. At the end of the event, a tea ceremony was held in front of the garden which they had just cleaned. 

One of the students commented “While cleaning the garden, I was able to take a closer look at it, which  made me admire it even more”. 

Urban Biocultural Diversity: “Urban realities and urban nature” Reading Workshop in South Africa

During the first week of April, 13 researchers from around the world met in East London, South Africa to publish a book on urban biocultural diversity.

The workshop was organized and sponsored by the professors of the University of Rhodes in South Africa. The book is composed of different chapters, where the thirteen collaborators prepared each of the individual chapters prior to the workshop. 

OUIK Research Associate Dr. Juan Pastor Ivars is one of the collaborators of the book and his chapter is about the biocultural diversity of Japanese cities. To do this, he evaluates the figure of the Japanese garden, its ontology, aesthetics, ecology and focuses on the gardens of Kanazawa. In particular, he presents examples of how to rebuild the relationship between people and nature through Japanese gardens.

The program of the workshop included the individualized reading of each of the chapters, their subsequent discussion and excursions to the area. In one of the excursions, the workshop team visited the Xhosa ethnic group and their representatives explained the deep relationships they have with the nature of their surroundings through rituals. In another visit was the museum of Steve Biko, anti-apartheid activist leader of the black consciousness movement.

This workshop demonstrated the importance of interpersonal links at a global level in order to promote the concept of biocultural diversity, as well as create an academic body for its implementation and governance. The book is scheduled to be published early next year — details of the book and participants below.

Book Outline: (from organizers)
The primary aim of the book is to display and celebrate the diversity of biocultural ways in which urban residents view, interact, engage and give meaning to urban nature. By offering alternative views, visions uses of and relationships with urban nature that offers a wider perspective and balance to the global world.

•Michelle Cocks. Professor. Rhodes University (South Africa); Charlie Shackleton. Professor. Rhodes University (South Africa); Lindsey Walsh, Duncan Haynes: Researchers Rhodes University (South Africa)
•Natasha Louise Constant. Chair on Biodiversity Value and Change. University of Venda(South Africa)
•Joseph Adedeji. Senior Lecturer. Akure Federal University of Technology (Nigeria)

•Lorien Nesbitt. Assistant Professor. University of British Columbia – Vancouver (Canada)
•Heather McMilen. State of Hawaiʿi Division of Forestry & Wildlife (USA)
•Juliana Merçon. Researcher. University of Veracruz (Mexico)
•Zachary Garcia. Graduate Teaching Fellow. Yale University (USA)
•Brazil- Guilherme Crus de Mendonca. Researcher. Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

•Juan Pastor. Research Associate. UNU-IAS OUIK. (Japan)

•Birgit Elands. Assistant Professor. Wageningen University. (Netherlands)
•Katie Vierikko. Researcher. Environmental Policy Centre, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). (Finland)
•Viveca Mellegård. GRAID Researcher. Stockholm Resilience Centre University of Stockholm( Sweden)

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