Thursday, May 3, 2012

Be alive to Nature

Engaging young children with the environment is key to conservation, two Japanese women helping the Japan International Cooperation Agency tell Zuhaila Sedek

.

BEING environmentally friendly shouldn’t be a trend; it is a cause, one that requires passion. And to develop this passion, exposure has to take place at a young age.
Tomoko Ichikawa and Ai Kinoshita from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) truly believe this. Their childhood played an integral part in their love for the environment.
Ichikawa is JICA wetland management and environmental education adviser while Kinoshita is the agency volunteer. JICA helps developing countries deal with global issues such as poverty and conserving the environment.
Both Ichikawa and Kinoshita were present at the recent River Environment Education Programme (REEP) held in Tambunan, Sabah.

FIND THE LOVE FOR NATURE
It is all sun and sweat working outdoors but the pay-off is a better future.
Ichikawa,36, feels that people need a push to take notice of the environment.
“People do not care unless a tragedy affects them,” says Ichikawa adding that this is the reason environmental awareness is necessary at a young age.
Ichickawa remembers the rapid development Japan went through while she was growing up. The rice fields she used to play in with her friends when she was in primary school made way for a residential area.
“At that time, I already wondered what will happen to the children in the future if all the rice fields were destroyed,” says Ichikawa.
Since young, she has been taught to care for the environment. Her father loves plants and animals. Her mother comes from a farming family so nature has always been close to her.
“We always had animals at home, be it dogs, birds, rabbits or fish. Sometimes, I caught insects and kept them at home too.
“Our family was not rich so we tried not to waste things, which meant an environmentally-friendly life. My parents also grow vegetables on a small scale.”
Tokyo-born Ichikawa studied Environmental Economics in England. And now after 12 years as an environmentalist, her forte is conserving wetlands to ensure the existence of shorebirds.
“Some shorebirds can fly for one week during migration. While migrating (from Siberia to Australia), they use only their fat as energy. When I was working in the Yatsu-higata tidal flat, a site at Tokyo bay, I saw a thin shorebird sleeping soundly. When it woke up, it started to eat voraciously. I realised that it may not have eaten for a few days.
“So, if there are no wetlands, they will have no place to rest after a long migration and if the eco-system is unhealthy, shorebirds might not even have food.”
Ichikawa helps the people of Tambunan look after their environment. She ends her one year in September. In Tambunan, she works with Kinoshita, a few agencies and the Sabah government to carry out projects such as REEP.
“REEP allows me to reach out to the children and make them realise how precious their environment is. But my approach is always something that they can relate to and understand easily.” Storytelling and pictures are among the techniques she uses when explaining to children about the environment.
Ichikawa suggests parents spend more time with their children in the outdoors.
“My mother always told me the names of flowers and explained the seasons. Children learn from adults.”

EXPERIENCE THE OUTDOORS
Kinoshita’s parents are social workers dealing with people with special needs.
“I find joy in doing good things for others.” says Kinoshita who studied at Nihon Fukushi University.
When she was little, her parents always exposed her to the wonders of nature. She often went  camping in the jungle or near the sea.
“They took time to explain about nature to me. Over time, I developed an understanding of nature and with it came appreciation. What I am today is because of my upbringing,” says the 27-year-old from Yamaguchi.
“Children must know nature or else they will not care about it when they are older,” adds Kinoshita who is based at the Crocker Range Park office.
Before Sabah, she was posted to the Philippines. She learns the language of her host country so she can communicate better with local people and speaks very good Bahasa Malaysia.
Kinoshita feels that humans can’t run away from the responsibility of looking after the environment because the two are connected in every way.
“If the way people live is harming nature, destruction is inevitable. We have to find a balance between caring for the environment and enjoying our lives,” she says.
Kinoshita, who was posted to Malaysia in June 2010, will soon return to Japan where she plans to apply what she has learnt in Sabah.

21 comments:

skinnerezel said...

The earth is sick !! Good to close to nature. A way of saving the earth and good to health too,

Alexis said...

'Melentur buluh biarlah dari rebungnya.'paling mudah untuk memupuk dan menanam rasa cinta terhadap alam sekitar ialah seawal usia kanak2. Adalah menjadi tanggungjawab ibubapa untuk menjadi pembimbing dan 'role model' buat mereka.

Anak Sabah said...

Adalah penting memupuk semangat cinta alam dalam anak-anak kecil supaya mereka boleh mengetahui kepentingan menjaga alam sekitar dari umur kecil lagi.

Anak Sabah said...

Ibu-bapa dan juga guru-guru di sekolah boleh memainkan peranan yang penting untuk memupuk anak-anak kecil dalam semangat cinta akan alam semula jadi. Kini juga terdapat banyak rancangan TV yang mengajar kanak-kanak mengenai alam sekitar seperti Green Kids.

Green Sabah said...

Agree Skinnerezel, its good to be closer to nature especially for people who live busy town life. It could be relaxing to get away from the hustle and bustle of town and back to nature.

Green Sabah said...

True Alexis, parents played an important role to foster the love of nature in their kids from an early age. Unfortunately kids nowadays are too stressed out with school, tuition everyday, stacks of homework to complete and studying for exams. During their free time, they prefer to play video games. Its time to bring them outdoors once in a while to enjoy nature.

Green Sabah said...

Children are more receptive of an idea, if they are expose to the importance of caring for nature, they are more likely to grow up into nature loving adults.

Green Sabah said...

It's true that parents and teachers at school can help create awareness about the environment for the children. There are civic classes in school which teaches responsibility to the environment as well. I think it will be good to have some sort of activities for kids to learn more about nature such as tree planting activity, day camp and such.

mantera said...

penjgaan alam sekitar harus kita sematkan dalam diri sejak mula lagi.

No name said...

Pemeliharaan dan pemuliharaan alam sekitar harus diutamakan.

No name said...

Its all our responsibilities to protect our earth.

No name said...

Benar, sikap ini harus dipupuk sejak kecil lagi.

No name said...

Kerajaan harus menyediakan lebih banyak kempen untuk memberi isyarat positif kepada golongan awam kepentingan menjaga alam sekitar.

No name said...

Kesedaran harus ada di golongan awam.

samm said...

alam sekitar kita haruslah dijaga dengan baik agar ianya terus selamat untuk kita diami.

samm said...

ya..mungkin melalui kempen akan wujud kesedaran kepada orang ramai.

samm said...

ya..memang menjadi tanggungjawab kita semua untuk melindungi bumi ini.

samm said...

ya..pendidikan harus diberikan sejak awal lagi.

samm said...

sikap yang positif harus dipupuk sejak kecil lagi agar ianya jadi amalan sehingga ke dewasa.

Azroy said...

sama saja konsepnya dengan manusia bila sudah tua.. orang yang sudah tua akan lebih mendapat perhatian dan penjagaan rapi.. begitu juga dengan bumi, yang mana generasi muda hari ini perlu memainkan peranan mereka untuk menjaga bumi kita yang semakin 'tua'..

Azroy said...

antara negeri2 di Malaysia, Sabah adalah negeri yang mana rakyat dan kerajaan negerinya sangat mengambil berat dengan hal2 alam sekitar.. lihat saja pembatalan logi arang batu, dan banyak lagi projek yang terpaksa dibatalkan semata2 untuk melindungi alam sekitar.. malah kerajaan negeri juga sedang berusaha memulihkan hutan di sabah dan berusaha menyelesaikan masalah2 pencemaran di negeri ini..

Post a Comment