MOA and the Environment
Although MOA International primarily focuses on health issues, environmental issues are also a concern. As is noted on the page “MOA Health Promotion Seminar ” , we understand that individual health ultimately has an impact on the health of social and natural environments. Therefore, part of MOA’ s main activities are focused on environmental issues.
(1) The Way to Genuine Health
At present, environmental issues are being tackled by institutions and groups, ranging from national governments and local authorities to commercial firms and private interest groups such as NGOs and NPOs. A variety of problems are being addressed – global warming, reducing energy consumption, waste and recycling, and so on. Each institution is pursuing their own unique initiatives to find solutions to these problems.
MOA International approaches environmental issues from the point of view of health, and seeks solutions by addressing the ill-health of society and humanity.
(2) The Environment Affects Our Health Directly
We believe that human health largely depends on the benefits we derive from the rich resources of our natural environment. In turn, it is vital that we are truly healthy in order to maintain and manage the resources of the global environment and pass them on to our children and future generations.
We think protecting and preserving the environment is ultimately the same as protecting and preserving our own health – the health of humanity today.
(3) Family as a starting point
Family is the principal scaffolding that shapes our daily lives. While the capitalist lifestyle that includes mass-production, mass-consumption, and waste generation has brought us material riches and convenience, family structures are weakening and we are losing certain values like the importance of the family bond. The natural environment is also suffering globally as a consequence of such a lifestyle.
We believe that, by recognizing and reconsidering the lifestyle of material gratification at an individual and familial level, we can work towards adapting to a system that is compatible with the cycles and laws of Nature. In this way, we can enhance the quality of life while protecting the environment. We can adopt a way of life in beautiful harmony with Mother Nature.
Our concept of “the family filled with beauty” encompasses the idea of a way of life that is harmonious with the environment. It is our belief that, as the number of families filled with beauty increase, they will grow into a network. This network can expand its influence to the wider society and to the world. Working together, we can make a positive difference in the soundness of our ecosystem as well as our individual health.
2. Our Concern is the Life of the Planet
Health and Protection of Nature and Living Beings
By “life of the planet” we mean the collective forms of life on earth including animals and plants. That life is now in jeopardy.
The rate at which environmental crises such as the destruction of the ozone layer, contamination of the water table and disappearance of forests are occurring has been accelerating.
These threats to the environments are beginning to have an impact on human health in the form, for example, of increased incidence of skin cancer, revival of infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis and so on.
Maintaining “the Chain of Life” is Indispensable for Realizing “Ultimate Health”
We are dependent on a chain of life that sustains the environment and provides us with vital sustenance. Green forests produce clean and nourishing water, enabling the land and the ocean to produce a variety of foods in abundance.
A clean and sound environment not only gives us material sustenance, but also affords us the joy of experiencing its natural beauty. If the chain of life broke off somewhere down the line, would we still be able to sustain true health, not to mention our lives?
3. The Relationship Between Nature and Human Beings in MOA’ s Ethos
(Excerpts From Okada’ s Essays)
As human beings, our lives depend on Nature. It is important to recognize this fact, and gratefully and respectfully learn how to live by observing Nature’ s ways. By following what we learn from observation, we move towards a healthier and richer life. This is an important basis for building a meaningful (“beautiful”) family and harmonious (“beautiful”) society.
(1) Human Beings Owe Life to Nature
“Human beings breathe in Nature and develop through its energy. Consequently, even birth and death are expected to be according to Nature – that is, Divine Will.”
“The wisest and brightest idea for human beings is to know themselves above all, to follow what can be learned from Nature, and to appreciate gratefully all its benefits.”
(2) A Way of Life in Conformity with Nature
“When considering human life, the motto should be harmoniously adapting and conforming to Nature.”
“The actual state of Nature is the embodiment of truth. Therefore, human beings must make Nature their standard in everything they do.”
“Discord is a human creation, for it is a result of the violation of the principles of Nature. From the viewpoint of Mother Nature, it is the true equilibrium that discord results from a neglect of the Natural laws, and that is absolutely true and fair.”
(3) Gratitude for the Benefits of Nature
“Humans should never waste even a single grain of rice. Humans should never forget the blessing of food.”
“Essentially, an ideal state of faith should be one which we always live with peace of mind, we can enjoy life, and in an ecstasy of happiness. When we attain this state, we should recognize Providence comforts us through the beauties of Nature, such as flowers and birds, the bright moon and the lovely cool breeze, the sounds of birds, and mountains and waters. Moreover, we should be grateful for the profound blessing of food, shelter, and clothing and come to sense a close relationship with all life; not only with people but also with birds, beasts, insects and fishes, trees and grass.”
“From the spirit of appreciation like reciprocating for what are called the “four great obligations” in Buddhism.* Everything like frugality – making good use of commodities and resources without wasting – is an expression of virtue.”
* “Four great obligations” expresses the essential aspects of one’ s life of which one must be aware. The four include: one’ s parents, all living things, ruler of the country, and the three Buddhist treasures (Buddha, teachings of Buddha, and spiritual community).
(4) Our Thoughts, Speech and Behaviour Influence the Natural Environment.
“To explain the cause of extreme weather, it is down to people’ s foul thoughts, and speech and conduct that derive from them. The extreme weather such as storms and downpour is Nature’ s process of purifying and cleansing the clouding” [the spiritual impurities generated by such thoughts, speech and conduct].
“Is there a means to make the aforementioned clouding disappear? That is extremely simple. It need hardly be said that it is to improve people’ s minds to virtue, and speech and actions of virtue.”
“If people have noble states of minds, appreciate and enjoy foods with feelings of gratitude toward crops, do not waste commodities and resources, and do not have dishonest feelings and act properly, it will result in a very fruitful year. I assure you so much will be produced that it will be absolutely impossible to eat all of it. However, people today have mistaken views that are completely contrary to that. That is why the result is a year of poor crops. I assure you that what I have said just now is absolute – it is truth. I am telling you that human beings create everything – any calamity or misfortune or unseasonable weather.”
“The beauty within individuals generates “social beauty” – that is, relationships between people become amicable; people’ s homes will also improve their aesthetic values, cleanliness and comfortableness; streets, transportation facilities, and parks will become more beautiful as well.”
4. The World-Wide Effort to Protect the Environment
At the Global Level
ave you heard of the Kyoto Protocol ? It was signed in Kyoto, Japan in 2005, setting explicit target figures for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Most industrialized nations, including Japan, signed the agreement.
However, the effort is not complete. The United States, the biggest contributor of CO2 emissions in the world, was not among the signers.
At the National and Corporate Level
In Japan, the government drafted the “Action Plan to Prevent Global Warming” in 1990. Local governments endorse this national policy and incorporate plans or projects in their town planning and engineering to achieve these goals.
Corporations also exert much effort in developing eco-friendly products and/or technology. Hybrid cars and cost-effective, energy-efficient household appliances are examples of this.
Organizations such as NGOs and NPOs with political lobbies are engaged in various activities on a level closer to people’ s everyday awareness. They operate on a smaller level than the state or larger corporations.
Within the MOA group, the MOA Nature Farming and Culture Foundation promotes farming methods based on the principle of natural recycling, rotation, and sustainability. MOA Natural Foods encourages the preservation and continuation of local tradition and culture, protects ecological diversity, and works to prevent the destruction and contamination of the natural environment from synthetic chemicals being introduced into the soil.
It is said that approximately 80% of the global population professes to have a religious faith or belongs to a religious group or organization. Like many other divisions of the global community, religions are also contributing to solving environmental problems in accordance with their own doctrine and teachings. Here are some of the main ideas underpinning religions’ attitude towards conservation:
- # Mankind does not dominate Nature, but is part of a greater whole – Buddhism
- # Man should treat God’ s creation (the Earth) with reverence, respect, and love – Christianity
- # The earth is a nurturing mother to mankind, providing us with food, clothing, and shelter – Hinduism
- # Humans are responsible for preserving and appropriately managing Nature, a gift from God – Islam
- # Man has been given the Earth so that he can cultivate and protect God’ s creation – Judaism
5. What Can We Do and Where Do We Start?
It is important to start by knowing what the issues or problems are. We first must learn how we benefit from Nature. Then we and our families must start to act in whatever way we can. We must always keep gratitude and respect for Nature in mind. Why not have a “Minister of Environment” in your family, someone in charge of putting the following 12 points into practice at home?
6. Twelve Points of Practice
Enjoy association with Nature and create an attractive environment
1. Find time to enjoy benefits and beauty of Nature
Our modern lifestyle has been loosing touch with Nature, perhaps without our knowing it. Make time to find the natural beauty around you, and enjoy and appreciate the benefits we receive daily from the natural world.
2. Maintain order in your living environment
In everyday life, keep living spaces clean and tidy and pay attention to your own appearance, demeanor and speech. Maintain “beauty” in everything to foster a sound mind and a healthy way of life.
Maintain a spirit of conservation and respect for Nature
(Reduce energy consumption and waste production)
3. Buy what you need in the amount you need
When shopping, select appropriate and environmentally-just items and cut down on waste.
4. Select items that are durable/long-lasting
Choose high-quality materials for things you use often. To reduce waste, do not buy disposable items.
5. Reduce waste in wrapping and packaging
Goods without packaging or wrapping are preferable. If this is not an option, choose items with minimal packaging. Containers of recyclable materials are also good for reducing material waste.
Reuse containers or trays that can be washed and reused instead of non-recyclable materials. Also participate fully in your local recycling system.
7. Save on air-conditioning
To cut down on energy consumption, make use of curtains to block heat from sunlight. Adjust the amount of clothes you wear to save energy that would be spent on air-conditioning.
8. Lower “stand-by” electricity use by 90%
Turn off the main power switch on household electrical appliances when not in use. Unplug them when they are not going to be used for a long time. Select energy-efficient products when purchasing new appliances.
9. Decrease energy consumption by 20% while creating time for family get-togethers
By spending time together with your family in one room, you will not only save energy on lighting and air-conditioning, but also increase opportunities for family communication. This will help establish mutual understanding and build a family bond, both indispensable parts of a happy family.
Relish the changing seasons, cherish the “safe and reassured” life
10. Consume products that are produced locally (chisanchisho)
Imported goods or products from remote places require extra energy to transport and create more pollution than locally produced goods. When we eat local produce we not only reduce pollution but also limit ourselves to fresh food in season. This is what nature has provided and it allows us to live according to the providence of Nature. It is also a key aspect of promoting better health.
11. Know what is safe
Choose products that have the least amount of synthetic chemical ingredients and therefore the least adverse impact both on the natural environment and the human body. It is also important is to seek out products that are compatible with the natural environment and support bio-diversity.
12. The value of seasonality
Seasonal vegetables and other produce are not only flavorful, but also full of nutrients. They can be prepared with very little seasoning and using little energy for cooking. Nature has given us simple but delightful ways of living in accord with the changing of the seasons. Enjoying seasonal products is one of them.
The Life of the Earth and Our Health are ONE.
A “Beautiful” Environment Starts With My Surroundings!