Fewer people also means there’s a more defined sense of community – meaning the individual residents can see and experience the consequences of their actions and the positive changes they make, in a way citizens of large western cities cannot.
It can often be difficult to see the tangible benefits of recycling that one can or disposable coffee cup. One coffee cup in billions can’t mean that much in the grand scheme of things. One in 1,700 is a lot clearer.
So what tangible objectives can we as a country make from observing Kamikatsu? It’s clear that broad-scale central government targets, directives, taxes and incentives will only have so much effect. As it happens, that’s pretty much what we said in response to the government’s latest recycling proposals.
Taxes and incentives may well convince people to recycle in order to avoid paying a tax – but it won’t convince them to recycle because recycling in itself benefits them.
You might think the distinction is of no practical consequence. But if we want to become a truly Kamikatsu-esque society we need create a system where individual people in individual communities can see the tangible benefit of their actions. For that to work, waste management reform needs to come from the ground up.
Until then, individuals and companies need to make the most of the waste management system we’ve got. You might not see the immediate benefits of where and how you dispose of your waste – but it’s important to play your part and be as responsible as possible.