What Can Kids Do?

Environmental Summit For High Schoolers

Environmental issues are a major theme at this year's G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit. To get people thinking more about the environment before the summit begins, students from high schools in Hokkaido took part in the Hokkaido High School Environmental Summit in Toyako on October 27 and 28, 2007.

Students Present Environmental Studies
The summit brought together 21 students from eight different schools in Hokkaido. On the first day of the summit, students gave presentations on the actions taken at each of their schools to address environmental issues.


The audience heard how students at Kamikawa High School, in the town of Kamikawa, have been testing for the past six years the water quality of the Ishikari River, which runs through the town. Another presentation related how Iai Girls High School in Hakodate City had installed a rainwater tank on top of its gymnasium. The school is using rainwater collected in the tank to flush school toilets. A report from Tomakomai Technical High School in Tomakomai City detailed how, in an effort to recycle resources, the school has been turning waste oil from the cafeterias of local companies into bio-diesel fuel.

Shari High School is located in Shari Town on the Shiretoko Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Students from this school gave a presentation on their observational research on wild birds, fish, plants, and other wildlife in Shiretoko.

What Young People Can Do to Help the Environment
On October 28 the students presented their High School Summit Declaration directly to Hokkaido Governor Takahashi Harumi. The declaration expresses the students' pledge to do their best to protect the world's natural environment and to preserve their unspoiled home of Hokkaido throughout their daily lives.


The students also made six practical commitments to embrace the idea of mottainai ("Don't waste what is valuable."), one of which is to lower the temperature of their heaters by one degree Celsius in order to conserve energy, even in the harsh Hokkaido winters. Other examples include encouraging people to refuse plastic bags at the supermarket checkout; to broadcast the results of research such as that performed by each participating high school to raise public consciousness of the environmental issues through actions such as picking up small pieces of trash and using recycled paper and so on. The students announced these commitments as things they can do as individuals to help preserve the environment.

Hokkaido is known throughout Japan for its exceptional natural beauty. Today's high school students are working passionately to leave this environment to future generations.