RSE: 5th Public Symposium on Religion and the Environment

The Religious and Scholarly Eco Initiative (RSE)

Changing the Way We Live and Protecting the Earth:
The Pursuit and Practice of a New Principle of Civilization that Promotes Life

October 25, 2014

Koyasan University
@ the headquarters of the Shingon Denomination on Mt. Koya, Japan

A grave crisis has descended onto the natural environment of the planet which we live. This has been underscored by the recent debates of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the declaration called “Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century” made by over 3,000 scientists mainly from the United States in May 2013, and a report of “the major disaster and impact of this great change” by the Japanese national broadcasting station, NHK at the end of August 2014. Global warming is not the only danger to the natural environment. There are also a host of problems that lay before us, such as the warming of the earth’s oceans which is the basis of climate change, the reduction of biological diversity, the decrease of forested areas, the contamination of water and soil, and energy production that promotes change in the earth’s climate.

If we allow this situation to continue to run its course, life for the next generations onward on this star called planet Earth will assuredly become compromised, and we will bequeath suffering and hardship on the lives of the people of the future. In this way, each of us in the RSE network is working together to promote cooperative action in the following areas:

  1. the advance of scientific and technological solutions, such as the introduction and development of low energy products and renewable energy.
  2. the transformation of our social systems, such as transitioning to a low carbon society of cyclical production and consumption.
  3. shifts in lifestyles, such as the restraint of human greed.

With a deep understanding of individual, personal duty, we will undoubtedly engage in the above measures.

We religious professionals and researchers who have assembled here on Mt. Koya for the 5th RSE Symposium, despite the differences in our religious faiths, recognize our own lives as a blessing from God and Buddha who transcend our existence. We also understand that the natural environment itself is a blessing of God and Buddha. With such mutual understanding, we feel that we must earnestly undertake the mission for the positive maintenance and effective performance of these blessings. Therefore, we are engaging in cooperative action and solidarity. With the motto, “Changing the Way of Living and Protecting the Earth”, we are re-examining the way each of us live, participating in social reform planning, supporting the development of science and technology that can serve the sustainability of the earth, and adapting the results in our daily lives.

The Religious and Scholarly Eco Initiative (RSE) was created in May 2011 by a collaboration of religious professionals and scholars to confront the environmental crisis. It has as a stated goal “the harmonization of humans and nature and the construction of a new principle of civilization.” It also seeks to promote the adoption of clean energy, rather than fossil fuels or atomic energy that put a burden on the environment. In order to further advance these principles and goals, RSE members from Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and Christian churches in Japan are installing solar energy generating equipment at their facilities. Under the banner of RSE, they are demonstrating their collective capacity on the Religious Based Solar Power Generators homepage:

RSE Officers & Contact:
Dr. Makio Takemura (Representative) President, Toyo University
Hiroki Ogasawara (Coordinator) Managing Director, Simple Life Education Center
3-9-5-302 Yabe, Chuo-ku
Sagamihara City
Kanagawa 252-0232
Tel: 81-42-707-1440

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