Off to Japan

I’m chaperoning my 11 year old daughter to the 2005 Children’s World Summit for the Environment in Toyohashi City and Toyota City in Aichi Prefecture in Japan. I could go on here about how irritating the indoctrination of the young with all sorts of ridiculous ideas about the environment is. But I guess its not the place for it – much less my views on solving the world’s problems with children’s summits.

In any event, we’re arriving in Tokyo on the night of Friday 22nd July and heading down to Aichi Prefecture on Sunday. If any Troppodilians have any suggestions as to where to stay, what to do and where to go with an eleven year old girl, I’d be grateful. (Disneyland is ‘locked in’ as they say on the tele).

I’ve also had a wander round the English speaking Japanese blogosphere to see what was happening there, but couldn’t find anything especially memorable. If any readers can recommend good English speaking Japanese blog sites I’d be grateful. Maybe someone’s reading this in Japan right now? Fancy catching up with NG and his daughter Anna for afternoon tea?

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12 Responses to Off to Japan

  1. David Tiley says:

    As a committed environmentalist blah blah, I must say I wish we could allow kids to be kids.

    These are the problems of adults. Their pain is too piercing for people still trying to learn the meaning of olden days, and forever and never again – and to understand helplessness without eroding strength and determination and hope.

    Having said that, I bet Tokyo will be a gas.

  2. Rob says:

    What a totally weird notion – a children’s summit for the environment. Good that they get to Japan, though.

    Tokyo is dead boring from my memory of half a day there, Dave. Mind you, I was with a friend in grim search of Pokemon artefacts for his kids.

  3. simonjm says:

    I don’t know Ken why not have a go, what “irritating the indoctrination of the young with all sorts of ridiculous ideas about the environment is ” are you alluding to?

    David so you think educating the young about resposnible behaviour or to have a stake in their future is a bad thing? I suppose those leadership camps where they play at being elected government officials is also a bad thing they should just be playing with their dolls and nintendo’s.

  4. simonjm,

    It wasn’t Ken, it was me!

    Ridiculous ideas like that recycling your garbage makes a worthwhile contribution to the environment. It doesn’t. Most of the recycling has negligible environmental benefits and is certainly wasteful when compated with what else could be done for the environment using hte same resources. Recycling of paper actually emits more greeenhouse gas than landfilling it and using virgin paper.

    Ridiculous ideas like ‘trees are good – cutting them down is bad’. It depends.

  5. simonjm says:

    Hi Nicholas sorry my apologies to you and Ken.

    Could you source me that quote about the energy and paper?

    BTW in certain cases I agree recycling isn’t warranted, for example transporting waste from central Australian communities.

    >Ridiculous ideas like ‘trees are good – cutting them down is bad’. It depends.

    Not sure if that’s the case, I was involved quite a bit with an environmentally friendly home project and knew about other education projects and I don’t recall any ‘tree hugging.

    Cutting them down on watersheads and hill sides can be bad, or in regions that cause a salinity problems, or when it destroys the last examples of certain species etc etc Or as in the case in Tasmania when a natural resources isn’t managed properly, they don’t use world’s best practice, regulations are ignored and the resource is sold off without value adding and is monopolized by one company.

    When the above doesn’t happen,it’s done in plantations or old growth managed properly-that it doesn’t involve threatened species- I for one will back logging and will tell kids the same thing.

  6. The citation is here. http://www.pc.gov.au/ic/inquiry/49packag/finalreport/49packag.pdf.

    Declaration of interest. I was the Presiding Commissioner. I asked Amcor to supply the figures, and they were not particularly happy to do so. They didn’t want to upset the apple cart.

    I drew this to the attention of the Australian Greenhouse Office which printed all its material on recycled paper, but they didn’t want to upset the apple cart either. So they still – at least when I last looked – print on recycled paper, even though that’s much worse for greenhouse gas emissions than using virgin paper.

  7. simonjm says:

    Nicholas with due respect didn’t you take note of the last paragraph of Box 5.1 pg103?

    Instead of back of an envelope science maybe-is this usual in gov reports?- we look at something like this-

    http://www.tufts.edu/tuftsrecycles/more/energy.html

    (notice my point about transport)

    -that does indeed look at the complexities of the big picture?

    BTW I had been told that recycled pulp is mixed with virgin anyway, is so a simple comparison -unless to not applicable to Amcor recycled products- is misleading.

  8. From my quick squiz at the Tufts document, its a study of recycling versus incineration.

    I don’t think it is possible to do the kind of detailed analysis you require (though I agree we could have and should have done a better job than we did at the PC). Despite that, and despite its caveat, I believe that the basic point made in the PC report was valid, and that its simplified ceteris paribus style of reasoning was a reasonable contribution to the discussion.

    Its important to have ‘rules of thumb’ unless they are clearly inappropriate in a specific instance. You either have to use virgin paper or recycled paper. (Your mentioning of a mix seems irrelevant to me, unless there is some reason that you can’t broadly pro-rata the results). So you have to decide.

    Now we can run round doing massive calculations in each situation, but the point of the back of the envelope calculations in the PC report was to put out a challenge. The discrepancy in greenhouse impact using the simplified ceteris paribus reasoning was BIG. From memory the ACF calculations contained all sorts of obfuscations, but did not really tackle the simple logic that had been put forward.

    So I’m proposing as a piece of commonsense for there to be a rule of thumb that virgin paper is better for greenhouse emissions than recycled paper – or if you prefer, the more virgin in the mix the better. And that its way better unless there are specific circumstances which obviate this conclusion.

    If you can point me to a better worked study that examines the issue, I’d be very interested in its conclusions.

  9. Nabakov says:

    And Roppongi is the main child care centre in Tokyo. Drop yer kids off there and then party on in complete security of mind.

  10. simonjm says:

    (I made my-self read the whole thing) :) It was actually looking at a number of scenarios including landfill, incineration, the effect of an increase or decrease of recycling on virgin paper plantations and the overall effect on CO2 production, so is quite relevant.

    As far as pro-rata that goes both way unless you know, it is inappropriate to use a rule of thumb that may be invalid. & surely using one example to create you RoT a-as is indicated that last paragraph- is flawed.

    Also with due respect you are missing the point of recycling as the energy factor is just one aspect of a holistic resource environment management approach.

    My rule of thumb is that you look at the big picture not limit yourself to one aspect of the debate.

    If you had look at the study the main factor is overall effect on CO2 production, especially when taking into consideration of what happens in landfills to the un-recycled paper virgin or recycled. Say for argument sake it does take more energy but if it releases greenhouse gases from the landfill then that must also be added in. Whether the trees are plantation or old growth is also relevant, pollution levels decrease with the use of recycled paper etc etc.

    A quick search gave this

    Energy implications of recycling packaging materials (US)1994
    http://www.osti.gov/bridge/advancedsearch.jsp

    with similar studies by the same author.

  11. Wintersmith says:

    “I could go on here about how irritating the indoctrination of the young with all sorts of ridiculous ideas about the environment is. But I guess its not the place for it – much less my views on solving the world’s problems with children’s summits.”

    Why exactly are you letting your daughter do this, then? If you believe she is being programmed with useless/counterproductive ideas, surely you would want to steer her away from this stuff while she’s young enough to listen to you. On the other hand, if your child is genuinley interested in this subject, why not have her prove to you that there is some worth in these pursuits? It would seem that allowing her to participate while not-so-privately believing the whole thing is bunk wastes both your time and hers.

  12. Well Wintersmith,

    I’ve been to things that I thought were silly which turned out not to be.

    And I don’t take it too seriously.

    And Anna wants to go to Japan and will have a great time – even if a lot of the ideology floating around is codswallop.

    If one is fairly down on ideological thinking one is not too afraid for one’s children to be exposed to it. She’ll see a lot more of it. I won’t really even be trying to undermine it in her thinking. She can figure that out for herself.

    That’s part of my point. I’m not too worried about the ideology floating around. I don’t want to ‘protect’ my daughter from it or even hit her with strong counter-indoctrination. She’s not going to a Nazi rally. (I guess) she’s going to a big conference dedicated to various ideas that are ideological, worthy and do-gooding. Not my favourite idea of a good time, but it will be a compelling and very valuable experience for her.

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