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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Chugoku Branch Office
Children at the Ushitashinmachi Komyo Nursery School were invited to a nature observation session held in cooperation with the Hiroshima Prefecture Ryokka-Center. While collecting fallen leaves and twigs, the children were told how they decompose and return to the Earth and learned how strongly scented plants avoid being eaten by deer. We hope to make such excursions even more enjoyable in the future by providing more opportunities to encounter animals, which is likely to draw the attention of young children more easily.
Power Distribution Systems Center
Together with the residents of the Tejima Island, an island off the coastline of Marugame City, we enjoyed various activities, including the observation and exploration of nature, creating stone art using colored stones found along the shore, and making bows and arrows using bamboo,. In addition, we also cleaned the seashore by picking up flotsam, including a large volume of rubbish swept onto the beach from the Seto Inland Sea. We also performed a picture-story show, "The Great Adventure of Marin, the Sea Turtle," using materials borrowed from the Japan Coast Guard. This provided a good opportunity to reflect on the environment surrounding the sea.
With the 8th Environmental Plan, our objective was to continue the "Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classrooms" and "Satoyama Woodland Preservation Project," and surpass the 30,000 mark in total participants by increasing the number of participants at least 10,000 over the three-year period. With approximately 5,000 people taking part in fiscal 2018, the total number of participants to date has reached 39,000, enabling us to achieve our three-year target.
For the 9th Enviornmental Plan, the new three-year plan spanning fiscal 2019 to 2021, our goal for the Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom and Satoyama Woodlands Preservation Project is for a total of 50,000 people to have participated. This will require increasing the participant figiure by 12,000 over the three years.