Posts by Shizu Yamada - Tokyo

‘Green curtain sets’ take off in Japan with summertime energy shortages

Japanese people had great interest in addressing energy issues related to global warming before the earthquake, but habits are hard to change. Now, shortages of electricity for the hot summer have forced the issue. PLANT to PLANT is one innovative solution: In June, seed and plant farmers from Fukushima—within the nuclear power plant’s evacuation area– started nationwide distribution of a “green curtain set,” which includes a bitter gourd nursery plant and a planter. A green curtain is an energy conservation method—plants outside a building help keep inside temperatures down. Bitter gourd can also be harvested as a summer vegetable. Rakuten, Japan’s largest online retailer, reported that sales of green curtain kits are up ninefold this year, according to Businessweek. Companies like Hitachi and Kyocera are undertaking similar initiatives, giving seed kits to employees as well as planting around their facilities.

People here are becoming more open to the wisdom of old times and the power of nature vs. unquestioned reliance on limited resources. Many of the paradigms for energy use will likely change as Japan finds a new way forward. Brands that can offer sustainable, nature-based, tradition-inspired solutions that also help people maintain the lifestyle they’re accustomed to stand to make a lot of headway.

Photo credit: rockriver


山田 詩津 (東京)