|Earth Day Network: EDN Serryn Jansonさんへのメールインタビュー|
|1) Please describe EDN in general.
EDN’s mission is to promote a healthy environment and a peaceful, sustainable world. We work to build and nurture the global environmental movement by linking individual efforts to thousands of other efforts, and amplifying the effect of individual actions.
EDN serves as the resource and planning hub for thousands of grassroots and community activities. We organize global campaigns, and work with schools and universities to create opportunities to learn how to protect our environment. Linking citizen activists, EDN works to educate and mobilize people worldwide for environmental protection, inspiring action on personal, community, national, and international levels.
2) How did you get involved with EDN?
I joined EDN in 1999, in the ramp up to the Earth Day 2000 campaign. After Earth Day 2000, Denis Hayes asked me to become the director of the worldwide program at EDN, which I did until 2002. I then took a break from the organization in order to spend time with my young child.
3) What do you do in EDN?
I have now returned to EDN as a specialist consultant, focusing on Asia. I am located in Melbourne, Australia. I manage major partnerships and design and implement major programs.
4) Tell us about the Earth Day history and how you feel about it.
For 34 years, Earth Day has been a springboard for significant environmental action. On April 22, 1970 (the first Earth Day), 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Denis Hayes, the national coordinator and now Chair of Earth Day Network, and his youthful staff organized massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting to stop oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, urban sprawl, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The New York Times reported, "Conservatives were for it. Liberals were for it. Democrats, Republicans and independents were for it. So were the ins, the outs, the Executive and Legislative branches of government.” The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Senator Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the highest honor given to civilians in the United States -- for his role as Earth Day founder. For the next 20 years, many people across the United States celebrated Earth Day annually, and Earth Day became a household name across the US.
In 1990, Earth Day went global, with 200 million people from 141 nations participating. Thousands of activities took place worldwide, including demonstrations, tree plantings, Earth Fairs, river clean-ups, cultural events, and government-sponsored initiatives, lifting the status of environmental issues on to the world stage, and leading governments to create agencies for environmental protection and to take action. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to pollution reduction efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Since its inception thirty four years ago, Earth Day has become a yearly benchmark, focusing global attention on the state of Earth. In the year 2000, EDN became the largest environmental network in the world, with more than 5,000 groups in 184 countries. Today, EDN has more than twice that number of members!! EDN comprises 12,000 plus groups across the planet.
Earth Day is now widely celebrated around the world as a collective expression of public will to create a sustainable society.
How do I feel about all this? Earth Day Network contains some of the most committed, inspirational and passionate people in the world. To have the privilege of working every day with these remarkable people fills me with hope. Each Earth Day, EDN members combat huge odds ? many of them face serious financial, political or logistical obstacles ? to make a statement about what they believe in and take action to create change.
Earth Day is based on the belief that ordinary people, acting together, can create extraordinary things. I believe this to be true, and I see it in action every single Earth Day. It is a truly remarkable movement.
5) How many groups from how many countries are participating EDN?
More than 12,000 groups in 184 countries are part of the Earth Day Network.
6) Tell us about Earth Day events in the USA and in Asia.
Here are just a few highlights:
? Los Angeles, USA: On April 1, 2004, in Los Angeles, The Home Depot, Earth Day Network, TreePeople, Student Conservation Association and ECO will announce the California Wildfire Recovery Project, a long-term commitment to reforest 60,000 of the almost 500,000 acres of burn area in Southern California. The Project, made possible by a $1 million donation from The Home Depot, will involve thousands of volunteers in over 300 replanting events in the Los Angeles, San Bernadino and San Diego areas. The event will feature celebrities such as Ed Begely, Jr., Joshua Jackson, Mimi Rogers, and Donna Mills.
? Detroit, USA: On Earth Day, April 22, Earth Day Network, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWFEJ) and the city's Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, will host an event to unveil EDN's Campaign for Communities, which is mobilizing one million voters to turn out for the 2004 Presidential Election and fighting for environmental equality for all Americans. The event will highlight Detroiters living in areas where environmental standards for clean air, clean water and toxin-free land are not being met.
? Warsaw, Poland: 65,000 people will take part in an Earth Day festival that will include NGOs and the wider public.
7) What is your most memorable episode of Earth Day? (Asia or US)
There are so many, but a few events really stick out in my mind:
? Prior to a recent US Presidential election, there was a media frenzy about Earth Day and many activists used the momentum of Earth Day to put pressure on the Presidential candidates to commit to environmental protection. The public pressure was felt in political circles, and both sides scrambled to make a statement about Earth Day and the environment that would show they were part of the huge momentum that was building. This kind of thing really shows how massive public pressure, such as can be created by an event like Earth Day, can really create change.
? On Earth Day 2000 in China, EDN worked with local organizers to create a massive public awareness campaign as part of which 1 million Chinese people committed to adopt a green lifestyle. The timing of this was amazing. The Chinese government seemed to be aware that it could not change China’s massive environmental problems on its own; it realized it needed public support. For the first time in modern China’s history, the government allowed an outside group (EDN) to work with Chinese environmental activists to run a large scale environmental campaign to change the way people think ? a phenomenal concept for a communist society. With government backing but no government direction, we brought the Earth Day message to hundreds of millions of people across the country. For most of them, it would have been the first environmental message they had ever heard. Earth Day 2000 saw the birth of the environmental movement in China, and showed us the true power of an international event like Earth Day.
? Earth Day has also been an incredible tool to bring people together across national borders. The work Earth Day groups in Japan have done across Asia has been really inspring. Earth Day groups have built solid connections with groups in many countries across Asia, inspiring people all over the world. This is really networking in action ? here at EDN, we love to see people collaborating, as this really goes to the heart of what Earth Day is all about : Together, we are much stronger than we could ever be on our own.
8) Please tell us about EDN campaigns going on and the future campaign themes.
Our current main campaign focus is clean water. Water is one of the most critical environmental issues facing the planet today. Water is crucial to all life ? we would be dead within 3 days without clean water ? and yet, all over the world, people are pouring chemicals and poisons into their waterways and wasting the limited clean water we do have. Water is poised to be a major international issue in coming years. Experts predict we could well fight wars over water. Here at EDN, we believe the answer is not in war. Rather, we believe in the power of working together. For if each of us changed the way we treat the Earth and each other, the whole world would change overnight. It all starts with you and me.
9) What kind of support do you provide to Taiwan for their water campaign? Or, do you work together?
We provide the same kind of support to all groups in our network. Each Earth Day, we work with our network members to help them with event ideas and planning. We publicize events globally and connect network members with each other. But our efforts go far beyond Earth Day itself. We run annual campaigns on critical issues (water, at the moment), and invite our members to take part in these campaigns. We provide groups with resources such as informational tools and guides to help them in their work. We work with groups in every region of the world, including in Taiwan. At the moment, our leading partner in Taiwan is working to translate two major water guides into Chinese. We value this input, just as we value all contributions of Earth Day Network members, wherever they are and whatever they do. Each network member is a very important part of the whole because, quite simply, it is in working together that we are most powerful.
10) What do you expect in the future earth day activities in Asia? especially in Japan?
I do not believe in telling groups in Japan or Asia what they should be doing. What I hope for is that Earth Day will help people to realize that they do have a lot of power. Each of us is a decision maker and global change really does start with us. Day after day, Earth Day has proven to me that we can do amazing things if we work together. I see horrible environmental problems facing many communities, but I continue to be inspired by the passion, commitment and hard work of members just like Earth Day Tokyo! I encourage you to use Earth Day to boost awareness and to help more and more people in Japan and the rest of the world to realize that our true future lies in living out the connection we have with each other and our dear planet, Earth. We are one family sharing one space. When we realize that, conflicts between us will reduce and we will be able to work together to carve out a path of peace and hope.
Also, for ED Statement 2004, I have the following questions for you.
1) ED Statement 2004 is a common action campaign ED Tokyo has started.
They are calling out for other earth day event organizations to participate. I see that different campaigns are held by EDN. Please tell us the progress on the past
A couple of Earth Days ago, an Earth Day Network member in Iran published on their website statements from Earth Day Network members all over the world. This is very similar to the Earth Day Statement concept in Japan this year. It is a tremendous idea as it helps people really feel the power of connecting with others, all over the planet. An example of the power of working together can be seen in the impact of coalitions which network members have built all over Asia for past Earth Days.
In Nepal, Earth Day coalitions have focused on clean air, and groups have reported how much more effective they are in working together as opposed to alone. In the Philippines, the Earth Day coalition, which at one point reached a total of 2000 groups, has inspired people the world over with its powerful combination of environmental activism and spiritual connection. In Japan, groups have united not only across your own land but also across historical divides with Korea and China, creating powerful coalitions that have worked together to address very serious, common issues.
2) What is the main activity of EDN as far as the campaign going on?
Our current campaign focus is water. We are working on a number of water related initiatives, which are on our website at http://www.earthday.org/goals/water_for_life.asp.
3) From what aspect, how does EDN decide the campaign themes and programs?
We work very closely with network members and listen carefully to what they tell us. In 2002, we asked groups to tell us what the most critical issues facing their communities were. We also listen closely to international events and look for where momentum seems to be building. It is a complex thing to choose a theme ? we want to choose something that will really mean something to network members and we want to choose something that is important for every region on Earth. There are tens of themes that would work well. We decided on water for last year and this year because we sensed, through our work with people all over the world, that concern over water is really building. It is one of the most important issues facing our global community today. Having said all that, we never want to tell our network members what to do. We are here to support network members and give them an opportunity to be part of something really big. Our theme is always just a suggestion. However, we have found that members love having a theme and most Earth Day activities each year seem to focus on the theme.
4) What do you think about ED Statement 2004?
I think it is tremendous. I welcome the idea of people from different backgrounds providing their statement of hope for the future. It reinforces the idea that we can all work together to create change.
5) Please provide your ED Statement for the year of 2004.
All over the world, the health, well being and survival of life on Earth is being threatened by environmental disaster. Our precious waterways are being fouled and our limited clean water is being wasted. In many countries, people living downstream from polluted factories are dying from cancer while industries continue to pour poisons into river systems. These problems, and many others, are very serious indeed. Standing alone, the problems seem insurmountable. Many people think, What can I possibly do about industrial water pollution or climate change? But I encourage you to stop and think: If everyone on Earth decided to act to protect our environment, the world would change instantly. Change starts with ordinary people; it starts with you and me. This Earth Day, millions of people will unite symbolically in a massive action to protect our waterways. On and around April 22, we will stand together in the type of movement that can create global change. Never doubt your ability to change what is before you. For if you change the way you think, speak and act, you are changing the world. This Earth Day and beyond, millions of us will do that ? we will change the world, one person at a time.
6) What do you expect from the ED campaigns in Japan?
I expect nothing but I hope for Earth Day to touch the hearts of many, many people in your beautiful country. Ever since I started with EDN five years ago, I have been touched by the absolute commitment of groups in Japan. Japanese groups have shown an enormous amount of understanding of environmental issues as well as a very strong passionate belief in the need for change. I really respect this. Japanese groups have also shown an inspiring amount of innovation ? they have never been afraid to reach out to new people in Japan or outside to help build partnerships and strengthen awareness and action. I can only hope that such inspirational activity will continue in Japan. I honestly expect nothing ? it is not my role to do that ? but I really do believe that the momentum such as is building in Japan for Earth Day 2004 is the kind of energy that makes national, and global, change possible. I thank you all for your tremendous work and I look forward to watching the momentum grow in Japan!
7) How do you feel about the environmental awareness of young people in the US?
I am pleased to say that environmental issues are becoming more and more common knowledge in the US today. At the same time, increased knowledge can be a scary thing for some people. The problems we face are so serious that some young people just get turned off. Many of them think: What can I possibly do to change such devastating problems? I believe with all my heart that Earth Day can help turn that attitude around. It’s just a matter of choice. We can choose to look at the problem or we can see that we are part of the solution. Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt the power of a small, committed group of people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
I believe in the power of people, and I feel absolutely sure that, in the end, people will understand their power and use it for good. I feel a massive shift occurring ? all around us, more and more people are becoming more interested in finding answers to bigger questions; more and more people are looking for ways of being truer to themselves. So, although I understand the cynicism of many young people in the US, I can never choose cynicism over optimism. For me, optimism is simply recognition of the power I have within myself ? the same power we all have. Each of us is the answer to the problems we see around us. When you see things this way, you can’t help but hope for a better future. Because it is people like EDN members who are working, right now, all over the world, to create that better future.
8) Do actors, actresses, singers or the celebrities take part in ED campaigns?
Yes, they do. In Earth Day 2000, Leonardo Di Caprio (star of the movie, Titanic) played a major role in the Earth Day campaign. We welcome involvement of celebrities to help spread the Earth Day message. At the same time, the true power of Earth Day lies in ordinary people and in the simple belief that we all can be the change we want to see in the world. Earth Day is magic because it is open to everyone but owned by no one. You don’t need to be famous or organize anything huge to be part of Earth Day. Everyone’s contribution is important.
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