Update on Japan Disaster
As the people of Japan continue to struggle in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear threat, we are relieved to report that all our colleagues in Japan, including Seacology Japan Board Members and our 2007 Seacology Prize Winner, survived the disaster.
With our affiliate office in Japan, Seacology has created a Japanese Disaster Relief Fund to support relief efforts in the country. In the spirit of Seacology, we are working to identify a project where our funds will have the biggest possible impact. We will continue to update you on these efforts as we continue to keep our Japanese partners and the entire island in our thoughts.
Below is a letter from Seacology's Chairman and Founder, Dr. Paul Cox, about this great tragedy. If you would like to support the Seacology Japanese Disaster Relief Fund, you may donate online or by check, with a note indicating that you would like to support the fund for Japan. All donations will be directed entirely towards relief efforts.
From left to right: Seacology Executive Director Duane Silverstein, founding Seacology Japan board member Akemi Yoshida, 2007 Seacology Prize Recipient Kokichi Kariya, Seacology Development Director Susan Racanelli, and founding Seacology Japan board member Akemi Chiba. Photo taken en route to visit Kariya san's project in Fuzawa Village, Japan.
Letter from Seacology Chairman:
We are relieved that all Seacology Japan board members have been spared from the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. We are especially grateful that our 2007 Seacology Prize winner, Mr. Kokichi Kariya in Fukushima, also survived.
Two years ago, I walked with Mr. Kariya through the Tademi forest in Fukushima. Flowers, ferns, and moss sprouted from the hillside. Large beech trees, with diameters in excess of two meters, shaded a small stream flowing across solid rock. I removed my socks and shoes, not only to feel the cool water and bare stone on my feet, but also to acknowledge that I trod upon sacred ground. The larger beech trees are 300-400 years old. After World War II, these trees started to disappear to logging, but Mr. Kariya valiantly struggled to protect a remnant. Because of his efforts, this forest remains.
Seacology Japan has generously funded island conservation projects throughout the world. Our Japanese colleagues also quickly rallied to raise funds for tsunami relief in Samoa. It should be no surprise that Seacology Japan's first response to the recent tsunami was to immediately identify ways that they can make a difference in their own homeland.
I am pleased to announce that Seacology has now established the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund. This is a channel in which overseas friends of Japan can demonstrate their compassion for the country while accomplishing both humanitarian and conservation improvements. Unlike most foreign aid agencies, our colleagues in Seacology Japan are already on the ground, fluent in the language and culture, and all serve without remuneration. They have an outstanding track record of executing conservation projects both within and outside of Japan. Every single dollar donated to the Seacology Japanese tsunami fund will be delivered to the designated project without any overhead or administrative costs.
As the efforts of the first responders conclude, Seacology Japan will find ways that precision injection of funds can best benefit Japanese villages and their precious island habitats.
Reflecting on the ephemerality of life, the Japanese poet Issa (1763-1828) wrote, Tsuyu no yowa, tsuyu no nagara, sari nagara (Nighttime dew, slowly disappears, drop by drop). Japan has suffered a great tragedy, and like the nighttime dew, many lives have disappeared. Yet like the mighty beech trees of Tademi, heroes such as Mr. Kariya and our Seacology Japan colleagues survive to ensure that the precious habitats of Japan are conserved.
Thank you for your gifts which help Seacology save the world, one island village at a time.
Paul Alan Cox, Ph.D.