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The Value of Nature: NPO Birth's Mission to Preserve Green Spaces in Our Cities

NPO birth's Rumi Satoh shares her mission to preserve urban green spaces while fostering a greater appreciation for nature and stronger community ties.

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NPO birth Executive Director Rumi Satoh speaking on the importance of nature in our cities. (©Sankei by Yoko Miyake)

Read the full story on Japan 2 Earth - The Value of Nature: NPO Birth's Mission to Preserve Green Spaces in Our Cities

Maintaining nature in our cities is a never-ending job. Rumi Satoh is on the front lines of this work as the Executive Director of NPO birth, a nonprofit based in Nishi-Tokyo City. Roughly 30 years ago, Satoh became concerned about the disappearance of nature alongside development. She got together a group of like-minded people and organized. Since then, NPO birth's ongoing work has been aimed at preserving urban green spaces while communicating the wonder of nature.

Vanishing Nature

Satoh's journey began during her university years when she moved from Sendai to Tokyo. She was captivated by the abundant nature in the Tokyo suburb of Fuchu, where she attended the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.

Known as the Musashino Plateau, the area had vast fields for farming due to the development of irrigation channels to bring water from the Tama River. Japanese oak and zelkova trees stood around homes and both served as windbreaks and could be used for building materials. Mixed woods behind the fields regenerated quickly even while being harvested for firewood. Fallen leaves were used for compost.

These wooded areas provided food and habitats for birds, and the fallen leaves nurtured soil and insects. While benefiting from nature's blessings, she realized that human intervention actually nurtured diverse life forms. 

NPO birth's Rumi Satoh
NPO birth's Executive Director Rumi Satoh explaining the nonprofit's activities geared to promoting the value of nature in cities. (©Sankei by Yoko Miyake)

Then Satoh witnessed the ongoing disappearance of these natural spaces. They were replaced by homes, shops, and inorganic structures and roads made from concrete. She also sensed a shift in people's attitudes towards coexisting with nature. This moved to her act.

Continue reading the full story on Japan 2 Earth to learn more about the inspiration behind Satoh's activities to preserve urban nature.

And find more great articles on the environment and the challenges of achieving the SDGs on our affiliated website Japan 2 Earth (J2E), sparking a transition to a sustainable future.

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(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Yoko Miyake

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