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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.
UNU-IAS collaboration with Kanazawa City, Japan on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contributed to the selection of the city as an “SDGs Future City 2020” and a “Municipal SDGs Model Project” in July 2020, under a scheme of the Government of Japan. The goal is to create a sustainable city where citizens and visitors can share in the beauty of the city based on biological and cultural diversity such as nature, history, and culture, while the number of tourists increases.
The UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa / Kanazawa (OUIK), located in Kanazawa City, has been working with the city to achieve the SDGs, starting with the SDGs Ishikawa–Kanazawa Dialogue Series in 2018. A joint declaration was signed in March 2019 between Kanazawa City, the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Kanazawa, and UNU-IAS OUIK, launching the Kanazawa SDGs project “IMAGINE KANAZAWA 2030”. In order to deepen understanding of the SDGs and regional issues, the “SDGs Café Series” was initiated as a forum for communication where local people can easily talk about the future of Kanazawa and regional issues, and “SDGs Meetings” held to discuss regional issues. UNU-IAS OUIK worked with various local stakeholders to create the “Kanazawa Future Scenario” by exchanging ideas.
“Environmental Model Cities” and “Environmental Future Cities” of Japan
In 2008, the Japanese Government adopted a system to select “Environmental Model Cities” and “Environmental Future Cities” with the aim of achieving a sustainable economy and society. Kanazawa City was selected as an “SDGs Future City” in addition to the “Model Cities for the Environment” and “Future City for the Environment” to propose initiatives to achieve the SDGs with the aim of further promoting regional development. Up to 30 cities each year have been selected since 2018, and in Ishikawa Prefecture, Suzu City (FY2018), Hakusan City (FY2018), Komatsu City (FY2019), and this year Kaga City, Nomi City, and Kanazawa City were newly selected. Kanazawa City is the first municipality in the prefecture to be selected as a “Municipal SDGs Model Project”. These cities were selected based on an evaluation in terms of SDG 17, and are expected to proactively develop their projects to achieve the goals.
OUIK will continue to collaborate with Kanazawa City and the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Kanazawa on a variety of activities such as raising awareness and publicising the SDGs and building a community of co-creation based on the cooperative framework. In particular, in developing attractive SDGs tours, which is an important element of the model project, UNU-IAS OUIK will make use of its practical experience in workshops and other activities to consider “Japanese Gardens and the Sustainability of Kanazawa” and the results of its research on the Noto’s Satoyama Satoumi GIAHS (Globaly Important Agricultural Heritage System) and Mount Hakusan Biosphere Reserve, which have been cultivated through OUIK’s research over the years. UNU-IAS OUIK will provide advice on how to make use of green infrastructure for tourism and SDGs tourism in the wider region.
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.
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.
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.