The 3rd symposium for the Zenpukuji River Society was held on June 11th. This society involves people from diverse backgrounds who are keen about restoring the Zenpukuji River in Tokyo. From my impression, many who were part of this meeting lived along the river. They were not only passionate but also devoted in bringing a pleasant environment for the towns people to live.
The meeting began with a few of the society’s concepts introduced.
– In learning we will teach and teaching we will learn
– Be active with hope and fun
– Adults act with responsibility to keep a promise
There were progress reports on the problems the park around the river is facing – habitat of wild animals are robbed due to cutting down of trees and ponds not being taken care of. PR for workshops to solve these issues were severe as very few people were gathered. One of the main subject was how to reach out to those who live along the river to raise awareness on the natural matter.
Some students from the local primary school gave a presentation on how they are learning about the river and the environment as well. They’re presentation was very impressive and it seemed that children aged from 9-12 were just as keen about nature conservation just as adults.
Zenpukuji River team are also open minded on learning from other prefecture and the world. The symposium invited an architect and a professor from Kyushyu. The use of rainwater and sewage were discussed, and hearing an opinion from both experts were truly educational. The concept of how to separate the drain system and how to ecologically reuse rain water were very interesting. The Raincoat project was introduced as well.
Soundscapes was another topic discussed, as a professor from Aoyama Gakuin University. Restoring the river as well as the park is not only about the scenic aspect but also about the sounds we hear. What was the first sound you hear when you enter a river? What does the Zenpukuji River sound like? The key aspect was that sounds takes no form of shape – they connect across time and space. If a sound is familiar to one’s ear, it creates a place and that allows you to imagine the past. Sound is spiritual, and it could definitely be an interesting view on restoring nature in Tokyo.
Professor.Watanabe from Sophia University and the coordinator of Human Ecology: Rivers, gave a presentation of his house becoming a rain house. His children take a huge part on this transition of their house and garden. Through a child’s mind, imagination and possibilities grow – their ideas and fascination of what water can bring about to their lives are passed on to the adults who try their best to make it come true. This project not only sounded fun but also educational and helpful for everyone to easily understand how precious water is.
The cycle of water, the use of water and the ways in which they are transformed was fascinating. Every presentation during the symposium were a new light for me and I am sure it was to others.