Sep 12, 2011

What does 3-11 mean?

Day three of my amazing Hungary journey

3-11 is what Japan calls the day natural and man made disaster struck. The earthquake that destroyed homes and lives, the nuclear melt-downs that continue to threaten life. We talked about happiness in this context of disaster. With the anniversary of 9-11 looming, I wondered at the connections between disasters – man made and natural – and happiness.

As with each day, there where 3 main talks. The first was given by a softspoken and strong woman fro Japan, Junko Edahiro. She launched Japan for Sustainability 7 days before 3-11. She talked about what happened to her and her friends after the disaster, how hard it was to find food, and how clear their vulnerability of their lives became. One friend realized no one in her neighborhood knew her. If something had happened to her, no one would know. Another friend, a simple life practitioner, realized she was entirely dependant upon convenience stores. Her response was to build community and self-awareness. Over 10,000 people turn off the lights, television and laptop to reflect alone or with family or friends for Candle Nights. The point is not energy savings, but connection. People leave unwanted clothing or other articles with little messages and take what they like as part of a free exchange. Sports and music stars and the minister talk to whom ever tweets, facebook or emails questions at media summits. Junko proposed a new work model- half farmer half worker. All people would stay one half the time to grow and eat their own food.

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