My wife Anandi and I recently returned from a trip to Japan where we celebrated 20th Anniversary of the Sharing Nature Foundation there. We were thrilled to see its principles wholeheartedly embraced by Japanese society.

sharing_nature1.jpgThe Japanese Ministry of Education is launching a new program to use Sharing Nature methods and activities in every elementary school in Japan. Their newly revised science curriculum will have 2 components: getting close to nature & loving nature.

Mr. Mitsuhisa Hioki, Senior Curriculum Specialist, who is initiating this effort, said to me when we met in Tokyo, “Sharing Nature is the backbone of our new science program.” This March, Mr. Hioki will be talking to every elementary science teacher in Japan about their new program.

The Japan Sharing Nature organization has over 11,000 active leaders. During a 2-hour lecture, attended by 200 members, we introduced the Six Central Principles of Sharing Nature, which are:

  1. Be Receptive;
  2. Teach Less, Share and Experience More;
  3. A Sense of Joy Should Permeate the Experience;
  4. Make Your Idealism Practical;
  5. Uplift People’s Consciousness; and,
  6. Do Things Not Only for Nature But with Nature.

When Mr. Hioki read these principles he quietly said, “I want to use these guidelines for our teachers so that they may grow as human beings.”

sharing_nature2.jpgReducing the impact of global warming is extremely popular in Japan. The Japanese Ministry of Environment is encouraging new educational programs that use the 5 senses and “experiencing nature,” to help people better understand global warming.

The “experiencing nature” aspect of this initiative is a direct result of the work Sharing Nature Foundation is doing in Japan. Shin-ichi Furihata, the Japan Sharing Nature Chairperson, is creating a program to help solve global warming.

In July of 2008 the G-8 summit, attended by the world’s most industrialized nations, will take place in Japan. This year its theme is global warming, so Shin-ichi feels confident their new program will receive a lot of support from government and business leaders. Shin-ichi and I announced the program at the Foreign Press Club in Tokyo during a press conference.

sharing_nature3.jpgAnother highlight of the trip was seeing Anandi put on an act as Mrs. John Muir. To launch the Japanese edition of my book, John Muir: My Life with Nature, Anandi and I performed an hour-long presentation of John Muir’s life, which included many of his animal friends.

This performance was addressed to 200 Sharing Nature leaders at our 3-day conference near Mount Fuji. The Japanese people love John Muir and see him as a beautiful embodiment of the Six Central Principles of Sharing Nature, which are based on Swami Kriyananda’s teachings on Superconscious Living.

Other key events included interviews with Japan’s biggest outdoor magazine and Natural Style, a popular alternative lifestyle magazine whose chief editor was very interested in our way of life at the Ananda Communities. I also gave a well-attended speech in Tokyo on the topic of spiritual sustainability, which stressed the importance of inner contentment and realization of our oneness with Life.

sharing_nature4.jpgMost of all, Anandi and I were thrilled to see the how much our Japanese Sharing Nature friends have grown in their dedication, creativity, and selflessness as they shared the joy, serenity, and expansiveness of Nature. At times, we found ourselves standing in awe at what they are creating in their country.

Joseph Bharat Cornell is the founder of the Sharing Nature Foundation and is the honorary president of the Japan Nature Game Association.