Environment – Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom

Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom

Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom is one of the directives of "fostering environmental awareness" aimed at the realization of a society in tune with nature. These classrooms utilize nearby natural habitats and provide an opportunity for participants and classroom leaders alike to experience nature.

Contemplating the Necessity of Preserving Nature and Taking Action

The Mitsubishi Electric Group is developing personnel who contemplate what is necessary to preserve nature and then take action themselves; in other words, people who are environmentally aware. We want participants to get in touch with nature so that they can realize the impact humans have on nature, increase their awareness of the importance of preserving nature, and take action to reduce their environmental load as much as possible (the figure below). Biodiversity is essential to the continuation of our business activities. On the other hand, our activities—such as consuming various resources, discharging chemical substances, and producing waste—place a burden on ecological systems on a daily basis. We must be aware of this and contribute to reducing the negative impact on the water, air, and soil, in addition to reducing our environmental load and helping to improve the environment through our products.

The foundations of environmental awareness are strengthened deeply and strongly through "fully experiencing nature with the five senses." The Outdoor Classroom is our initiative to allow ourselves, together with our employees, their families, and local communities, to discover ecology (relationships among living creatures) through experiencing nature. Preserving nature cannot be achieved by the Mitsubishi Electric Group alone. Therefore, it is vital that environmental awareness is spread to various groups of people. Since the program began in October 2006, the Outdoor Classroom has been playing a role as an opportunity for contributing to society and the environment, and has acted as a forum for communication within each region.

Illustration prepared while referring to a pamphlet introducing the Japan Association for the Promotion of Outdoor Life

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Features of the Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom

Employees Responsible for Planning and Managing Programs

Result of Fostering Leaders for Outdoor Classroom (Cumulative Total)

In the running of Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classrooms, a lot of emphasis is placed on the employees "doing it for themselves." The programs are planned by Group employees who have completed an Outdoor Classroom Leader Development Course, who serve as "Outdoor Classroom leaders." The choice of fields, the ways in which nature is experienced, and the timing (season) of the classrooms are all at the discretion of these leaders. The leaders utilize the emotional experiences and discoveries gained through their development course and compile a program of their choice utilizing their own creativity. Mitsubishi Electric also involves the cooperation of local key persons, NPOs, and so on to ensure that our outdoor classrooms leave an even deeper impression on the participants. There are as many variations of the Outdoor Classroom as there are leaders.

Turning Fields Near Business Sites Into "Classrooms"

Numbers of Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classrooms through FY2017

Outdoor classrooms are held in various locations, including mountains, forests, parks, seashores, rivers, rice fields and farms. The outdoor classroom leaders throughout Japan make the neighboring natural habitat their classroom. Occasionally, they may also use the grounds of the business site itself as a classroom. Each location has its own unique fauna, flora, sounds, and smells. Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classrooms provide an opportunity for children and adults alike to experience the workings of nature and make various discoveries through their own five senses.

Features of the Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom
Learn about Nature's Cycle

Even after trees have withered, the "cycle of life" continues. Fallen leaves and deadwood provide habitats and food for insects, while being steadily decomposed by fungus. Sustaining a large amount of "life" in this way, trees eventually return to the earth over a long period.

Seeds fall into fertile soil and sprout, leading to the start of new "life."

Grown trees bear seeds and nuts, providing food for other living organisms, and eventually die and decompose.

Trees thrive in abundant sunshine, developing into a forest, where many animals gather.

Experiencing Nature with Full Use of the Five Senses

Shikoku Branch Office

In collaboration with Kagawa University Museum, the Shikoku Branch Office hosted an insect survey session, inviting nearby kindergarten pupils and their guardians to Haniwakko Square in Mineyama Park (Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture). Even though it was held in November, there were still many insects living in the soil or inside trees. The children enjoyed an insect hunt "a little bit different" from the ones they do in the summer time, and were keen to dig in the ground or split wood. It was a great opportunity to experience living in harmony with nearby nature through the fun of hunting insects in the forest.

Gunma Works

The Gunma Works held a Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom session at Gunma Insect World (in Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture), a facility surrounded by nature. The Park is an experience-based education facility with the theme of insects. Children got close to the highly popular rhinoceros beetles, touched them, and broke into a cheer in awe of their impressive horns. They were also amazed by the aquatic insects they found after dipping a net in what appeared to be a mere puddle. Parents and children alike could be seen engaged in catching insects, providing a great opportunity for families to communicate.

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Objectives of the 8th Environmental Plan (Fiscal 2016-18) and Progress Made in Fiscal 2017

With the 8th Environmental Plan, we aim to continue the "Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classrooms" and "Satoyama Woodland Preservation Project," and hope to surpass the 30,000 mark in total number of participants by increasing participants by 10,000 over the past three years. With 5,100 people taking part in fiscal 2017, we are on course to achieve the target.

Plan for Increasing Number of People Participating in Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom and "Satoyama" Woodland Preservation Project
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