Chapter 4 Birth of Setsuden-mushi (a profitmaking device) 4.2 Setsuden-mushi's Growth Expectations and Setbacks 4.2.5 Environmental awareness 18.104.22.168 Personal Environmental Awareness
Looking at the current situation from 1990 onwards, the collapse of the bubble economy, the prolonged recession, the Gulf War in 1991, and global warming have been the major issues that people around the world, including us, have been facing.
In terms of the global environment, the Kyoto Conference on the Prevention of Global Warming, COP3, was held in Kyoto in December 1997, and as if inspired by the conference, the number of registered businesses conforming to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management and auditing, tripled in about two years from 1216 in April 1998 to 3609 in June 2000. The number of registered businesses in compliance with the international standard ISO 14001 has tripled in about two years, from 1216 in April 1998 to 3609 in June 2000. It is likely that companies began to seriously address environmental issues during this period. Judging from these figures, it seems that environmental awareness in companies is steadily deepening, and is accompanied by action.
On the other hand, the penetration rate of fax machines in households tripled in five years from 9.6% in 1994 to 33.1% in 1999, and that of personal computers doubled in five years from 16.6% in 1994 to 37.7% in 1999. The purchase and use of information and communication related equipment is also rapidly increasing in households (National Consumption Survey in 1999, released by the General Affairs Agency on July 11, 2000). As of 2005, the household penetration rate of personal computers exceeded 60%.
What is important here is whether the rate of growth in the acquisition of information and communication related equipment, which is considered to have an impact on the environment, is accompanied by environmental awareness and environmental behavior. In my judgment, environmental awareness at home is still quite low and environmental behavior is sluggish compared to environmental awareness and behavior at work. This is the same pattern as that followed by air and water pollution.
Are we improving our environmental awareness through many environmental movements, NGO and NPO activities, and governmental guidance? Even if we assume that our awareness is improving, is it accompanied by action? It is natural that there is a time gap between awareness and action, but is there any way to shorten this time gap?
People may not be smart enough to take the initiative in saving energy and money. If saving money, energy, and electricity is worthwhile, it may be necessary to create a good circulation system that encourages people to do it more often by creating tangible and visible benefits.
In the case of energy conservation, it may be possible to make a graph of electricity usage for the past several years visible, or to let users know in concrete numbers the electricity bills that have been reduced through energy conservation, and to praise their efforts and give them bonuses for their efforts. "Turn saving into good fortune."
Serially posted in English every Friday.
Please refer to the following
site for the pictures and/or references.