Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Learning Green from Tokyo

Tokyo is Japan's capital, its metropolitan population the highest in the world with about 13.506 million people. It tops the Global Economic Power Index as well as Best Overall Experience in categories: "helpfulness of locals", "nightlife", "shopping", "local public transportation" and "cleanliness of streets". It has 47 administrative divisions.

As a very populous city, yet with very efficient transport system and cleanliness, Philippines has much to learn from Tokyo.

1. Discipline. In our 8-day stay, we never saw any traffic violation and never heard any honking except the train signals. People, bikes, and cars stop when traffic lights turn orange to red, regardless of whether or not there are cars, bikes, or people crossing on the go-road/street. We never saw anyone throwing any form of waste, big or small. Instead, we saw people picking up rubbish and putting it inside their pockets.
 Cars, bikes, & people will stop at red sign regardless of there are cars, bikes or people crossing on the green road/street, or none.
2. They implement and follow laws. Households (we stayed in 3 homes in our visit) have 3 plastic bags of wastes and the accompanying waste bins:
They have a schedule of garbage pick-up per waste bag, so that not all wastes are thrown at the same day or hour. There are designated waste collection spots and the waste bags are all neatly packed. You will not see waste bags elsewhere. This makes sense as it will provide less work time for waste workers. Combustibles are then incinerated that supply energy and heat in Tokyo and consumers. Japan technology make incinerators emit vapors that are safer than their other incinerator counterparts.
 There is a schedule of pick per waste segregated.
Even the Tsukiji Fish Market with its fish stench, has its floors and amenities free of any form of new or rotting garbage!

3. They love their flowers and plants, and they show it. Not only are Tokyo's gardens well-maintained and even a source of pride, but flowering container gardens are kept along their side streets and homes. All idle spaces are filled with flowering plants.

Idle spaces are filled with flowering plants.
4. They respect bike riders. Noel of Tokyo Biking Tours emphasized that for a nation that supplies the world with cars, Tokyo do not like cars that much.  But more notable is the reverence that car or motorized vehicle drivers give to their fellow road users. As mentioned earlier, they never honk even in near-accident events. You can hear brakes, but never a honk. Every road, side street, and even pedestrian lanes are paved with bike lanes, providing two choices for bikers. Mothers ride their children to school with bikes, there are bike rentals and paid / free parkings everywhere, and Tokyo households have adopted bikes as vehicle of choice. It has consistently occupied top spots of biking capital in the wold together with Copenhagen (Denmark), Utrech (Germany) and Amsterdam (Netherlands).
Biking in Tokyo is so safe that not only households adopted bikes as vehicle of choice but even toddlers can bike in major thoroughfares.
By Marge Tadeja. 
Photos by Jezreel Cruz 
Visit instagram #tokyogardens for more photos

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2017 Reading Caravan & Sustainability @ Bituen

2017 proved as another progressive year for the Bituen group as we opened the year with Reading Caravan book distribution at San Isidro, Makati City in January 2 with Karinderia ni Mang Urot once again benefiting about a hundred young learners. The feat is followed by another book distribution at at Magsilay, Pasil, Kalinga Apayao, in January 11.
 January 2 Reading Caravan at San Isidro, Makati City.
Reading Caravan at Magsilay, Pasil, Kalinga Apayao, January 11.
Gulayan sa Paaralan Nationwide Conference in Dumaguete City, August 17;
Waste Gardening at Love to Learn,  Old Balara, Quezon City in October 24;
and Waste Gardening workshop again 
at 3rd National Youth Environmental Summit November 21, at Teachers Camp, Baguio City.

In between, the Bituen volunteers continue distributing books to marginalized children they encounter. Sustainability forums/seminars, workshops are supported by the Department of Education, Forest Management BureauEducation is our Tool, Gising na Pilipinas 5 Loaves & 3 Fishes Project, and PAGCOR. Books distribution efforts are supported by Books for Asia and Darien Books. Kudos to all!