Japan has put on a good face in front of the international community as a “green country”— without actually addressing its people about the problems of climate change. The voices of the Japanese people can change this.

The government has publicized that the 2020 Olympic medals will be made from recycled metal and Japan showed its interest in tackling global issues during this year’s Group of 20 summit in Osaka.

But what is Japan like underneath this face? The political realm is already behind, and the lack of interest by politicians is only slowing changes that could push the country onto a green path.

Now, more than ever, the people — led by us younger generations — are defending the position of acting efficiently against climate change. Though it may be lower than in other developed nations, the numbers of participants in climate change protests in Japan are gradually increasing. Awareness among the people is spreading.

As a high schooler, I believe that schools have a responsibility to spark students’ interests and push us to take the right measures. That is why I am proud to say that my school has a unique curriculum where the sustainable development goals are incorporated into almost every subject. Currently, in biology, we are having a session of Model United Nations where each student will represent a country and take part in a conference on carbon emissions.

In an academic-based country like Japan, there are opinions that schools should prepare us students only for entrance exams — that we should just listen to lectures. But the question is: In the end, who’s going to save our world? Those who have only studied using cut-down trees or those who understand the crisis of our country?


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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