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November 5, 2014

SGI President Contributes Essay to The Japan Times: A Chain Reaction of Empowerment

In advance of the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development to be held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan (from November 10-12, 2014), SGI President Daisaku Ikeda calls on ordinary citizens throughout the world to unite toward resolving climate change and other global issues. He says we cannot merely depend on political leadership to resolve problems but that "the key to overcoming the crises we face lies in strengthening and deploying the resilience of all sectors of human society, unleashing people's innate capacity to transform even the most difficult conditions into the impetus for the creation of a better future." He believes sustainability can be achieved "when people are motivated by their own clear goals, such as the determination to protect what is of great personal value or to leave the future a meaningful legacy." Affirming that education plays a vital role, he says "the real value of empowerment through learning lies in its ability to spark . . . chain reactions of spontaneous and self-motivated action." As a compelling example, he introduces the tree-planting movement in Kenya initiated by the late environmental activist Dr. Wangari Maathai that has since spread worldwide, leading to the planting of more than 10 billion trees. "Nothing is more crucial than the learning that occurs when people plant their feet firmly in the soil of their local community and share their concerns and visions for the future with friends and neighbors, becoming the protagonists of change."

[Link to A Chain Reaction of Empowerment]