Many of us will have come to the congress thinking that the only way to care for the forests is to plant more trees! I, however, come with a warning, that planting too many trees, and then not caring for them, leads to environmental problems, and that is why I cut trees down.
With over 10 million hectares, roughly 30% of Japan’s total area is unmaintained, man-made forests. These are increasingly causing environmental and social problems, and a project to preserve traditional architectures through responsible forestry would be multi-level disaster risk management. Together with students from law, biology, and economics, as well as others in architecture, I built an example structure on Kanagawa University’s main Yokohama campus. We all came together to care for these forests and harvest the wood for the construction.
My Master’s thesis is a proposal to re-teach traditional building techniques as a part of disaster risk management, and through it, sustainable development. As a member of the United Nations Major Group of Children and Youth, I participated in the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March of 2015. I presented my research and was approached by members from a dozen countries saying that a similar program would be valuable in their home countries. While the projects would differ based on each unique environment and tradition, two things would remain the same. First, I am proposing an educational program for children and youth–those “agents of change”–the vulnerable group that makes up half of the world’s population. Second, the teaching of a thinking architecture: at once sensitive to the people, the local culture, and the environment.
There is a quote attributed to the Chinese chancellor Guan Zhong: “If your plan is for 1 year, plant rice; if your plan is for 10 years, plant trees; if your plan is for 100 years, educate children”
It is not good enough to just plant the trees, we must continue to care for them, and to plant the people who will continue to do so.
I want to teach a broader architecture-the people in it, the people who make it, from the housing environment to environmental hazards, a more organic, a more human architecture. It is not about one simple design as miracle architecture, but to stress the importance of locality, of building together, learning together, and caring for the world around us.
Text and video are submitted by Peter Abraham Fukuda Loewi (Japan) – paflwork(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
This post is published as an application by the author, to speak as a youth representative at the World Forestry Congress. Have a look at the other entries too!
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