Japanese period between 1603 and 1867 gave birth to an amazing model of sustainability. Edo, the former name for what is now the modern Tokyo, was the center of this eco revolution and in its 265 peaceful years was able to guarantee a uniquely cooperative and sustainable society to 30 million people. But what made the Edo Period possible for so long time?  The answer is easier than it seems.

 

During that period Japan was isolated by government decree with no exchange with other countries and learned how to beself-sufficient: the few resources available were considered extremely valuableand there was no waste produced that wasn’t used or repaired and transformed into new products. The community was driven only with solar energy, for exampleplants transform solar energy by using water and hydrogen into wood, branches, stems and fruit. 

 

Every inhabitant contributed to regenerate the planet: what’s more natural than the use of night soil to outlying agricultural lands? Human waste was the most important fertilizer source for farmers in Japan and wastreated as an important resource in those days. Even fashion trends lasted forever and clothes were mended and resold many times by craftsman. Repair experts and other specialized workers were the most popular and requested professional figures. They used to reuse or recycle the most unusual materials and resources like wax candles and ash.

 

Despite its lack of technological advancement, Edo was an innovative and sophisticated urban area with anincredible model of sustainability. Contemporary societies are now trying to understand more about this eco friendly system that lasted generations. Wisdom of the Edo Period seems to offer a great lesson for surviving the future with multiform solutions that we could apply also today.

Haikure Recycling Society: wisdom of the Edo period
Haikure Recycling Society: wisdom of the Edo period
Haikure Recycling Society: wisdom of the Edo period

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