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Peter David Pedersen

A must-read blog from a leading expert in environment and LOHAS. Born in Denmark, Peter David has been living in Japan for more than 20 years.

December 07, 2015 (Mon)

NELIS Global Gathering 2015 - 25 people from six continents hold first "world conference" in Shiga

Autumn is entering it last days and winter is arriving, at least here in the highland region of Japan where I live. This autumn has been very fruitful for me with the first global gathering of NELIS – the global network of Next Generation Leaders introduced in previous posts. Here is a picture of the 25 people and staff gathered for the closing Public Forum at Ritsumeikan University in Minami-Kusatsu. The Governor of Shiga, Taizo Mikazuki, who is himself a young and dynamic leader, also joined us for this final session.

NELIS Global Gathering 2015

Peter David Pedersen  |  Comments(0)


July 21, 2015 (Tue)

Who are "Next Generation Leaders"?

Leadership in the 20th century led to wars, economic growth, and environmental destruction. We had the first and second world wars, an extended period of global economic growth from the 1950s to 1970s, and then the emergence of, first, pollution issues in the 1950-1970s (such as Minamata disease), and, later, global environmental issues (say, climate change) from the 1980s and beyond.

Well, this maybe a rather simplistic overview of the leadership which characterized the last century, but there is little doubt in my mind that we need to link and support a new generation of leaders for whom “sustainability” – concern for the environment and for fairness and humaneness in human relations – is second nature.

This is the aim of NELIS – Next leaders’ Initiative for Sustainability, a global network initiative I have described in previous posts. This autumn, we are inviting 25 such leaders – whom we call “next generation leaders” to Japan for a three day global gathering and deep discussions.

Here is an overview of the 25 people from six continents/14 countries (including ten from Japan) who are coming to Japan from October 16th-18th.

NELIS Inaugural Global Gathering

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May 29, 2015 (Fri)

Hope and action - why we need to have "new standards of leadership"

Two months ago (March 30th), I wrote about NELIS – Next Leaders’ Initiative for Sustainability, a global network of “next generation leaders” in the sustainability field I am involved in setting up. But “why” would such a network be needed today? It all started about ten years ago…

In 2005, I took part in an international conference in Japan entitled “Creating a New Civilization” with the participation of Mikhael Gorbachev, philosopher Ervin Lazlo and many other luminaries (see photo), hosted by the Goi Peace Foundation.

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March 30, 2015 (Mon)

From Japan to the World - Creating a network of "next generation leaders"

Spring has arrived in Japan! I hope you are not too plagued by “kafunsho” (pollen allergy), which, according to research on 15,000 people by pharma giant Daiichi-Sankyo, affects about 26% of the Japanese population – a whopping 33 million!

This year, I would like to tell the story of a new global network I am involved in creating. NELIS – Next Leaders’ Initiative for Sustainability was established as a non-profit in Omi-Hachiman (Shiga Prefecture) in January this year, aiming to link a new generation of leaders “who insist on sustainability” in a global, collaborative network.

There are so many global networks out there – but very few originating in Japan, and even fewer originating in a regional location like Omi-Hachiman. But why, then, Omi-Hachiman? Well, that is where this story begins…

I joined forces with these two business people, Tatsuo Akimura-san (left) and Masahito Yamamoto-san (right) to start NELIS. 


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December 19, 2014 (Fri)

Climate Change - Don't Even Think About It

Having lived more than 23 years in Japan (by now, one more year than in my native country, Denmark), I should have got used to the heat of summer, but that appears to be impossible. I enjoy the cooler days of autumn and even the cold of winter…and of course, the energy and pleasant warmth of spring.

What about the weather in autumn 2050? Will we have temperatures of more than 35 degrees in late September and “koyo” – autumn foliage – in Kyoto around Christmas time? Those are some of the possibilities presented by one NHK’s best known weather forecasters, Hiroko Ida, as she participated in a gathering of the world’s weather forecaster in New York.

[Video] Climate Summit Convenes at the UN
『Climate Summit Convenes at the UN』

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July 23, 2014 (Wed)

A quite understandable sentiment...

When it comes to the disposal of radioactive waste, the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) syndrome is always strong, regardless of the country in question. A video on the ECO CHANNEL dealing with this issue caught my interest:

『Radioactive Waste: "Not in My Backyard!"』
(Today's Close-Up)

『Radioactive Waste:

After the nuclear accident at Fukushima Dai-Ichi in March 2011, the Japanese Government has been trying to find a final disposal site for contaminated debris and sludge in three surrounding prefectures – Miyagi, Ibaraki and Tochigi. It should come as no surprise that citizens of all the candidate cities and sites are vehemently against becoming a nuclear graveyard. Farmers fear that their already plummeting sales will fall even further, and other citizens are caught in a general sense of insecurity. Even the latest government offer of special grant-in-aids of 5 billion yen (some USD 50 million) to municipalities accepting final disposal facilities has not furthered the process.

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June 20, 2014 (Fri)

Climate Change Has Arrived!

Hi there! I spent a week in the first half of June in London, UK. What surprised me most during that week was the heat - London is definitely feeling the impact of rising temperatures. Riding the tube (subway) can be quite a nightmare on hot days since there is no air conditioning, and the apartment I stayed in felt more like Tokyo in September (hot and humid way into the late evening) than what I was expecting from London.

Climate change has arrived - we are no longer talking about "some future events" with potentially disastrous results, but of actual changes happening here and now. On NHK ECO CHANNEL there are a number of videos dealing with the issue of climate change. Try, for example, to check out the three part series "Sea Water Intrusion into the Mekong Delta", which looks at how seawater now threatens the livelihoods of rice farmers in one of the world's major rice producing regions in Vietnam.

Peter David Pedersen  |  Comments(0)


May 22, 2014 (Thu)

Creating a "LOHAS market" in Japan

Hi there. Summer’s on the way, stay cool!
The largest category on the Eco Channel is called LOHAS – Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. Here you will find video clips on alternative ways of eating, living, farming, relaxing and much more. Check out a few and see what you think.

category LOHASPersonally, I have been heavily involved in introducing the idea of LOHAS to Japan from the United States. Back in 2001, I was researching for a project on eco-goods for a major Japanese company when I suddenly discovered the “LOHAS Conference”, an annual gathering held in the US on a new approach to lifestyles and marketing. Instead of trying to persuade us all to be stoic, green consumers, LOHAS advocates argue that there is a smarter, healthier and greener lifestyle available – even if you are not particularly interested in, for example, global environmental issues or climate change. Whereas it can be quite tough to be a “green consumer”, LOHAS is a much more enjoyable and relaxed approach which doesn’t deny that people have a natural interest in living comfortable and convenient lives.

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May 02, 2014 (Fri)

More visionary thinking - and a strong intention to "design the future"

Hello! I am a new face (voice?) on the Eco Channel Blog.
Let me introduce myself: Peter David Pedersen, born in Denmark, a resident of Japan for some 22 years. One of my great passions all through adult life has been the very theme of this Channel: how to achieve a shift in our economy and lifestyles towards ecology and sustainability.
In 2000, I set up a company in Tokyo with a partner working to help realize a “green economy” and have participated in hundreds of projects with Japanese corporations, ministries and universities on the environment and social responsibility since then. I was also fortunate enough to be involved in introducing the concept of LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) to Japan from around 2001.

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