Small is

Young people pay most attention to fashion, pop music, computers and sports. But we must also find out about the state of the environment and then start thinking of solutions.

We may not be able to do big things to change the environment, like adults, but there is no need to think that only big things are worth doing. There is a saying, ‘Many a little makes a mickle': if everyone does small things, we believe it can change a lot.

Both the natural environment and the one created by humans are important to us in our everyday lives, but if we are not careful the man-made will destroy the natural.

We were affecting the Earth’s natural environment for a long time before we realized what we were doing. We now understand that some things are particularly damaging – such as deforestation. Japan has many typhoons and earthquakes each year. In the past, forests have helped protect us from the effects of these disasters, preventing the erosion that often leads to landslides. Global warming and air pollution are also caused by our human environment.

Pursuing convenience
The human environment is made by us. There are automatic drink vending machines everywhere in Japan. You can buy drinks whenever you want to, and you can choose to have them hot or cold. We have pursued convenience, and once we get used to it, we pursue more convenience. What is the result? A waste of energy and lots of cans! We must care about the natural environment first.

Once we destroy the environment, it takes thousands of years to recover. So we should respect it and be at one with nature. The relationship of convenience and environmental destruction is a see-saw.

There are many ways that we can contribute to the health of the environment. Three simple actions are ‘save energy, save water and recycle!’

Children’s event
Next summer the Children’s World Summit for the Environment, organized by UNEP, will be held during the Aichi World Exposition in Japan, from 26 to 29 July 2005. Its Board has decided that it should focus on water, recycling, forests and energy. About 1,000 children and adults from all over the world will gather and share in the experience, and think about the environment. It will be an enormous environmental event created by children! Isn‘t that amazing?

Shoko Takahashi (13) and Ryota Sakamoto (14) are Board members of the Children’s World Summit for the Environment.


This issue:
Contents | Editorial K. Toepfer | Strengthening the rule of law | Partners in law | Justice can be shortsighted | Force of law | A matter of judgement | A law of energy | People | Rule of man, or rule of law? | At a glance: The rule of law | Sebastião Salgado | Sustainable development comes from Saturn! | One planet, different worlds | Nature’s wisdom | Kickback fightback | Conflict and cooperation | Holistic landmark | Empowering the poor | Legal climate | Small is effective | Building the framework

Complementary issues:
Culture, values and the environment 1996
The Way Ahead 1997
World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002
Beyond 2000 2000
Poverty, Health and the Environment 2001
Energy 2003