Islander Summit Ishigaki – to Reflect on SDGs from Global Perspective
By President and CEO Riyako Namiki
In 2019, an international private summit meeting took place in Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, to consider and discuss human beings’ happiness from the global perspective. A conference producer was an old friend of mine and I participated in the event as a volunteer staff member to support it.
Some 150 scholars and experts from Japan, Kauai Island in Hawaii, Bari Island in Indonesia and Sardinia Island in Italy gathered and debated for three consecutive days about ideas and solutions to pass on a better earth to future generations while enjoying beautiful ocean views of Ishigaki. It was a great pleasure for me to be at a venue where everyone contemplated seriously a better future of our planet and there emerged some movements. I was happy to provide some help there. I hope the discussions and solutions hammered out at the meeting will be shared and empathized globally.
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Global Environment Verges on Crisis, Needs Urgent Actions
“Humankind is on the brink of extinction! Additional 1.5 degree Celsius warming would inflict irreversible damage to our planet,” said Mitsuru Izumo, who heads euglena Co. Ltd., a Tokyo-based bio venture, at the conference. “Can you apologize to your grandchildren and great grandchildren, saying that we are terribly sorry for making the earth uninhabitable?”
I was moved with his passionate words which urged us to think about global environment problems as our own issues and take actions immediately so that we can squarely face future generations.
Island Cultures Will Change World
At the meeting, I was fascinated by Keio University Professor Takashi Maeno, who is an expert on the study of happiness. The study is to pursue well-beings of human beings. I met him for the first time at the summit meeting and became a big fan of him. He maintained that island cultures have the secret of achieving a sustainable earth. Japan, also an island country, has the power to change the world, he said. I was very impressed with his argument because he translated what I have vaguely perceived since before into scientific explanations.
According to his latest studies on what people can feel happy with, human beings can be satisfied most when we can “have something fulfilling to do and keep bonds with small communities.” People are shifting to support the idea that an individual can feel happy only when others are happy as well, he argues.
Any Relations between Longevity and Alcohol?
A quarter of Sardinia’s population are 100 years or older and the island is renowned for the world’s longest life span. Enrico Salvatore, the mayor of Seulo City in Sardinia, was asked a question from a summit attendant of what the secret of the area’s longevity is. He replied instantly and said the island’s food (sea food) and close bonds with families and communities are contributing.
People in Sardinia work through their lives and support each other among families and regions, the mayor said at the conference. Sardinians cherish their fellows, views of the nature, lights, smells and sounds in their daily lives, he added.
A meeting participant asked him whether the island’s mountains and clear water are helping to lengthen life expectancy. He answered: “No. We are drinking more wine than water.”
Okinawa in Japan, which also boasts the resident’s longevity, is famous for its local liquor “awamori.” Yoshiki Ishikawa, a researcher of preventive medicine, said alcohol beverage may play a crucial role in supporting a long life, though he added there is no scientific evidence. It’s fun to drink alcohol with our families and friends and laugh together.
Ishikagi Beach Cleanup
On the final day of the summit meeting, we cleaned up a beach and collected a large amount of garbage, including fishing equipment and plastic bottles. Indeed, we piled up a mountain of 700 plastic bags of garbage! It was the moment when all of the 167 conference participants, including staff members, shared the sense of unity after exercising our minds and bodies over the issues of global environment for three days in a row. All of us were assigned to take an action within 48 hours. I believe each of us initiated an action, even if it might be a small step.
In this essay, I talked about SDGs activities I was involved in. I had been engaged in education for children and social contribution activities for years before I joined my company last year. I am determined to continue to think about initiatives to contribute to our regions.
Please click below to check SDGs activities by Orbray Co., Ltd.
- Adamant Namiki’s Initiative for SDGs: Enjoy Sports with People with Disabilities
- Family Business Network “One Company, One Family” – a speech by Orbray’s Third-Generation President
- My speech at Kuroishi High School – Realizing Our Dreams through Courage and Effort
- “Chinjuno-mori” project
- Workshop for parents and children to learn how to survive natural disasters
- Adamant Namiki’s Initiative for SDGs: Mid-term Report Meeting on ‘Fro-pro’