Religionists and Scholars Discuss Living in Harmony with Nature
The second Symposium on Religion and the Environment, hosted by the Religious and Scholarly Eco-Initiative, was held November 12 at Toyo University in Tokyo. It was attended by about 200 people, including scholars of religious studies and members of religious organizations. Rissho Kosei-kai was represented by Rev. Isao Fukada, director of the Ome Retreat Center, and Rev. Koichiro Fujita, deputy director of the Chuo Academic Research Institute.
In his opening speech, Dr. Ryoichi Yamamoto, a professor at Tokyo City University, said the solution of environmental problems requires all nations to share a common sense of ethics transcending national interests. He called for the establishment of an international body of religionists and scholars to urge all nations to protect the environment.
Dr. Makio Takemura, president of Toyo University, made a keynote address. Referring to the nuclear accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of northeastern Japan, he stressed the need for human beings to reflect on their single-minded pursuit of efficiency, which contributed to the accidents. He said religionists and philosophers have a duty to educate the public about the importance of restraint, and empathy toward others, so that human beings can continue to coexist with nature.
During the following panel discussion, four professors of religious and social studies exchanged ideas on religious approaches to environmental problems and concrete measures for environmental protection.
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