10 November 2018, Takarazuka, Hyogo – To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Hyogo Prefecture, the 2018 International Satoyama Symposium was held at Takarazuka Hotel, Hyogo. The symposium was organized by the Hyogo Prefectural Government in collaboration with APN and the Institute for Global Environmental Studies (IGES), with “Satoyama for the Future: Passing down Satoyama Conservation Activities to the Next Generation” as its theme.
The symposium featured three distinct presentations relevant to the conservation of nature and human interaction with nature from Japan, New Zealand and Bhutan.
Mr Mitsuhiko Imamori, an acclaimed Japanese nature photographer who lives and engaged in farming in a Satoyama in Shiga Prefecture, shared his passion about the interaction between human and nature as well as the various forms, shapes, and patterns created by nature. His fascination of Satoyama reflected his journey of observing the natural world and capturing those observations through the lens.
Mr Pātaka Moore, programme leader and researcher from Te Wānanga o Raukawa University, New Zealand, presented on the Māori worldview that acknowledges the interconnected nature of the environment and the responsibility of humans to honour the long-term relationships within it. He pointed out the importance of sustainable protection of the environment and shared success stories of how traditional knowledge is being translated to the young generation in their community.
Mr Jamba Tobden, manager of the Institute for National Gross Happiness (GNH) Studies, Royal University of Bhutan, highlighted Bhutan’s efforts on remaining to be carbon-neutral and towards sustainable land development and forest management. He emphasized that happiness and well-being is the centre of Bhutan’s governing policy. Introducing the “Bhutan for Life” programme of the Government of Bhutan in cooperation with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), he mentioned that it focuses on ensuring stability of the protected areas and their networks that support biodiversity through innovative funding approach called Project Finance for Permanence (PFP).
Immediately after the presentations from three key speakers, a panel discussion facilitated by Dr. Isao Nakase, Director of the Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo, ensued. The discussion was also joined by four more panellists who are heads of respective non-profit organizations (NPOs) in Japan (Ms. Hiromi Oikawa, President of Sisitsuka no sizen to rekishi no kai; Ms Hiroko Terakawa, Director of Satoyama Club; Mr Masao Baba, Executive Director of Ueyamakogen eko-museum; and Mr Sigeru Kondou, Vice-President of Sakuramori no kai).
The following key messages were drawn based on the discussions:
- When governance and policy is good and supportive, then protecting nature and transmission of environment-related knowledge and experience to the next generation can be successful.
- Using popular media and platforms such as social networking sites is an innovative idea to attract young generations and promote the concept of values of nature and Satoyama (human-nature harmony).
- The young generations must be educated to embrace their self-identify to develop their ability to link with their culture.
- There should be a continuation of advocacy for private sectors and businesses to support the activities implemented by NPOs.
- Emphasis on recreation or research activities in natural settings, which can serve as forefront activities of NPOs, can help foster understanding and appreciation of the young generations in conserving nature and culture.
At the closing, Mr Seiji Tsutsui, Director of APN Secretariat, expressed his thanks and emphasized that conserving the environment does not only require looking at ecological aspects of conservation but also at social components such as ethnicity and culture. Innovative and participatory approaches that stimulate youths and facilitate better learning and transition of knowledge from old to young generations must be considered.