These are but some of the sentiments I’ve gathered from our class trip in Hokkaido.
I’ve actually wrote them for my individual paper but I thought it would be nice if I could share them with everyone else as well.
Environmental concern is not a niche; it is universal.
Even back in high school, I knew I have always had a knack for the sciences. Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Studies were my favorites, so it comes as a surprise to many why my current major in college is in management economics.
Still, I have to admit: I am equally bothered with the many people who have been asking me why I am interested in the environment. While the question may have been an innocent one, I can’t help but feel bewildered. Is it weird that I am concerned about the environment simply because of my major?
I am not the only one who has probably experienced this ordeal. Many others as well, as most of us in this course are taking majors far from the sciences. And this is a problem insofar as environment protection is involved because society automatically assumes, whether done or purpose or not, that the job of ensuring ecological sustainability can be left off to certain fields–when it fact it should be a universal undertaking.
On the humbling experience of making a Wanda Grinda proposal
I have learned it the hard way that we can only do so much in terms of our Wanda Grinda proposals.
After having gone through those readings that describe in detail the environmental issues of Hokkaido, having met many stakeholders who have went out of their way to accommodate us in touring around their sites, sharing their concerns, and clarifying whatever questions we throw at them, as well as having received the endless support of professors and assisstants who have blessed us with their presence and insights, we cannot help but feel overoptimistic and adventurous as we brainstorm for ideas in response to the issues facing the restoration movement of Kushiro Wetland.
Eventually, as we went through our trip in Hokkaido, it dawned on us what we are. We’re definitely not scientists nor full-fledged researchers. We’re only staying for more than a week. We don’t necessarily have much funds, and we can only give so much ideas as we stand on the premise that we ourselves can do what we suggest. More importantly, and I suppose this is the most disappointing one to ever strike us all, is that despite our best efforts and the assistance of so many individuals, our end proposals might not even do anything to actually restore the wetland environment itself.
Like what I’ve noticed with many of the viable suggestions that have been raised, most of them have to do with raising awareness and appreciation. Anything directly involving wetland restoration will probably need more than grassroot initiatives, or they may start out as such but as with the case of the Kor-Kamuy Society for example, they eventually needed to collaborate with the local government to see further progress with their goals.
On the joys of being heard
Though I am a management economics major, I am all the more determined to pursue the field of environmental management for my future career.
This course has opened my eyes to the possibilities of what work in the field might be like, and knowing myself—my interests, capabilities, and experience—plus considering what I have witnessed on our trip, I know I would go well working under some external relations department—be it a government agency, private corporation, NGO, or research institution.
If given the chance, it will definitely be my pleasure to taken on the responsibility of acting as the liaison between different stakeholders, just as how I found myself thoroughly engaged—no pressure at all—in starting a discussion with the concerned parties for Team Tancho’s Wanda Grinda proposal last August 10.
If I had known more Japanese, I would have personally approached them afterwards as well. I had a good time, and I was very pleased to know that our group’s stance was taken very seriously and reflected over thoroughly as they made sure to clarify certain facts regarding venison production and consumption.
I was at first afraid given our own limitations, and in the back of my head, I was actually resolved in thinking that we’d probably just humor the stakeholders at best. But apparently, this wasn’t the case, and I was really glad to find out that our efforts didn’t go in vain.
In fact, the idea of spreading venison cooking recipes through phamplets sprung out of a joke as we were brainstorming as to whether we should stay with our first idea of making sustainable tourism guides for the Kushiro Wetland. Turns out, this was a better idea. It’s a simple idea that is relatively easy to do and yet it bears a promising potential in actually helping with the wetland restoration.