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There are some areas where Japan has been enlightened -- the age-old forestry regulations which probably saved it from becoming deforested like other island countries (Ireland & Iceland would have benefited from a few thousand Tokugawa bureaucrats) and some of the recycling programs a few high-tech companies have launched are pretty amazing, but specifically in cities, I defy you to find ANY examples of a particular Japanese concern for "equilibrium or balance between Nature and Man."

Just one example: up until World War II, Tokyo was famous for its waterways and canals. Now even the Sumida River is mostly paved over. And in terms of trees and park space, there is simply no comparison between Tokyo and, to take the example I'm most familiar with, New York. Central Park alone has almost 200 species of trees and a diversity of bird and small mammal species greater than the entire Kanto region.

If I were going to mount a "religious/non-religious" theory of environmental relations, Japanese agnosticism is not what would inspire me.

   

by Matt in NYC on Sun Feb 25th, 2007 at 11:43:26 AM EST
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