Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Youth Groups & Volunteers

-- Positive Eco-News --

I love celebrating youth initiative programs or group efforts... the youth have such a powerful voice and once they learn to use it, they can then choose to employ it for the rest of their lives. So often younger people feel like they are powerless, like their voice doesn't matter and that they can surely hardly have an impact on this imposing society. But they can, and do...

In Japan, for instance, there is this really interesting program called The Shibuya Flower Project that involves youth organizing groups of volunteers that work to grow flowers "in front of the Shibuya train station, on the side of Miyashita Koena Park, and along Sibuya Park Street". This project started in 2003 with potted flowers, in an effort to create a garden environment in a place where the congested streets are often littered with garbage and cigarette butts. Local shops support the youth by offering incentives, and the youth get to share their experiences through the blog.  

I love highlighting this project because it shows how a small action like putting a few seeds in some soil and tending the plants, can affect the city. Every living plant within an urban environment will help aide against urban glare and urban greenhouse effect. They release moisture, thereby regulating the temperature, and provide a way of "eating" up some of the emissions and toxins in the air - where people are congregating.  Besides all of this, they provide homes and food for a wide array of valuable insects, birds, and other living creatures... all of whom are struggling to survive on a planet with dwindling resources. 

I am very curious as to how The Shibuya Flower Project affected the population, in regards to influencing businesses and residents to increase their own gardening efforts. This would, I imagine, also have a positive impact on the local nurseries - not just because there would be a greater population of pollinators, but also due to the higher demand for seeds, soil and bedding materials or plant pots. And I am also wondering how this may have affected the local economy in regards to a higher number of patrons willing to linger in these areas... since studies have shown this to be one of the benefits of  indoor/outdoor gardens and potted plants.


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