Cheers Gregzilla! You've prompted a more detailed search -- I'll stick stuff here as I find it, ending in the more specific Godzilla material. Although I'm not finding out a great deal in terms of media influence - I've emailed Japan's Ministry of the Environment (genuinely quite interested in this).
Probably not of interest to most people, but just in case:Japan’s Edo period in the mid-1600s
"By 1570, shortly before the Edo period began, Japan’s population had reached 10 million. This spike in population and the corresponding need for natural resources led to a serious environmental problem for Japan. For the first time, the country was faced with widespread deforestation."
"In the mid 1600s, people started to notice the environmental issues that deforestation had wrought in Japan. Not only was it much harder to find decent timber, but soil erosion had become noticeable. Erosion in turn led to flooding, mudslides, and the silting up of rivers and streams."
"In 1666, the country had reached a breaking point and the shogunate took action. They implemented a national plan to reduce logging and replace the forests. To begin with, one had to receive the approval of a high government official to harvest and use wood. In addition to that, the government began to encourage the planting of tree saplings and the study of forest management.
The plan was incredibly effective. By the early 1700s, Japan had a complex and successful system of forestry management in place. Villages applied their community approach to agriculture, which had made for successful rice harvests, to forestry management. In time, some of the world’s first tree plantations were created."
"With the creation of trees as a form of controlled agriculture came far greater research and understanding into trees. Scholars and woodsmen developed new techniques to plant and care for tree species, many of which are still applied today.
While Japan’s forestry management system was effective, it was by no means fast. It took hundreds of years for the country to recover from the damage caused by exploitative use of their natural resources. The program was judged to come to a successful end only in the early 20th century. That’s something to think about with our own consumption of resources."
---Environmental issues in Japan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaHistory
"Current Japanese environmental policy and regulations were the consequence of a number of environmental disasters in 1950s and 1960s
. Cadmium poisoning from industrial waste in Toyama Prefecture was discovered to be the cause of the extremely painful itai-itai disease (イタイイタイ病, Itai itai byō?, lit. "ouch ouch sickness") which causes severe pain in the back and joints, contributes to brittle bones that fracture easily, and degeneration of the kidneys. Recovery of cadmium effluent halted the spread of the disease, and no new cases have been recorded since 1946.
In the 1960s, thousands of inhabitants of Minamata City in Kumamoto Prefecture were poisoned by methyl mercury drained from the chemical factory, known as the Minamata disease. The number of casualties in Minamata is 6,500 as of November 2006. In Yokkaichi, a port in Mie Prefecture, air pollution caused by sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions led to a rapid increase in the number of people suffering from asthma and bronchitis. In urban areas photochemical smog from automotive and industrial exhaust fumes also caused the rise in respiratory problems.
In the early 1970s, chronic arsenic poisoning attributed to dust from arsenic mines occurred in Shimane and Miyazaki prefectures."Establishment of the Environment Agency
"These public hazards received a great deal of public attention and media coverage and the government sought a radical solution in the problem
. In the 1970 lower-house session, today known as "Pollution session" in Japan, six new environment laws were legislated and eight laws were drastically tightened of its regulations... Although the agency lacked strong political power, it succeeded to establish effective regulations to curb photochemical smog pollution
through strict automotive emissions standards. They used policies as reducing of number of cars with usage age more than 7 years and giving to dissatisfied drivers 75% of the cost of their cars. The agency also worked to reduce noise pollution from trains and airplanes, to remove mining, forestry, and tourist debris left on mountainsides and in national forests, and to monitor noise and air pollutant levels in major cities.
Grassroot movements also contributed to solve the national-wide pollution problems. In a series of lawsuits in the early 1970s, many judge decided in favor of a plaintiff and admitted corporations' responsibility for damages caused by their products or activities. In 1973 the Pollution Health Damage Compensation Law was legislated and provides industry funds for victims. According to the Environment Agency's 1989 white paper, however, the regulations were not enough to solve Japan's environmental problems."Today
[of 75%] "Most believed that Japan, alone or in cooperation with other industrialized countries, had the responsibility to solve environmental problems
. In the 2007 opinion poll, 31.8% of the people answered environmental conservation activity leads to more economic development, 22.0% answered the environmental activity does not always obstruct the economic, 23.3% answered environmental conservation should be given preference even if it may obstruct the economic and 3.2％ answered economic development should place priority than environmental conservation."
"The OECD's first Environmental Performance Review of Japan was published in 1994, which applauded the nation for decoupling its economic development from air pollution, as the nation's air quality improved while the economy thrived
. However, it received poorer marks for water quality, as its rivers, lakes and coastal waters did not meet quality standards. Another report in 2002 said that the mix of instruments used to implement environmental policy is highly effective and regulations are strict, well enforced and based on strong monitoring capacities."
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The Showa-era movies played on a lot of fears and interests of people during the time period in which they were made. For instance, Godzilla was a movie designed to warn people about the use and testing of nuclear weapons. Likewise, Godzilla vs. Hedorah was designed to carry a message about the dangers of pollution."
"Although his origins vary somewhat from film to film, he is always described as a prehistoric creature, who first appeared and attacked Japan at the beginning of the Atomic Age. In particular, mutation due to atomic radiation is presented as an explanation for his size and powers. The most notable of Godzilla's resulting abilities is a his atomic breath; a powerful heat ray of thermonuclear energy that he is able to fire from his mouth."
"Godzilla is one of the most recognizable symbols of Japanese popular culture worldwide and remains an important facet of Japanese films, embodying the kaiju subset of the tokusatsu genre. He has been considered a filmographic metaphor for the United States, as well as an allegory of nuclear weapons in general. The earlier Godzilla films, especially the original Godzilla, portrayed Godzilla as a frightening, nuclear monster. Godzilla represented the fears that many Japanese held about the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the possibility of recurrence.
As the series progressed, so did Godzilla, changing into a less destructive and more heroic character as the films became geared towards children. Since then, the character has fallen somewhere in the middle, sometimes portrayed as a protector of the Earth (notably Japan) from external threats and other times as a bringer of destruction. Godzilla is also the second of only three fictional characters to have won the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award, which was awarded in 1996."Godzilla vs. Hedorah
"After Yoshimitsu Banno finished directing Godzilla vs. Hedorah, he began work on creating another installment in the Godzilla series. Like his first Godzilla movie, Banno had wanted the next film to have a strong message against pollution. "
---Ministry of the Environment
Government of Japanhttp://www.env.go.jp/en/aboutus/pamph/html/index.htmlHistory of Environmental Administration 1880-1992
(jpg)History of Environmental Administration 1992-2005
(jpg)State of Japan’s Environment at a Glance
"●Summary of the Basic Environment Law
In its first chapter, the Basic Environment Law sets out three basic principles for environmental conservation, and the responsibilities of each sector of society - national and local governments, corporations and citizens - in living up to these principles.
The second chapter gives a list of basic environmental conservation policies, including the formulation of the Basic Environment Plan, the promotion of environmental impact assessments, economic reforms to remove obstacles to environmental conservation practices
, and measures to deal with global environmental problems. The third chapter lists the councils needed to develop the policies listed in chapter two."
"Under the heading of "the current environmental status and the challenges for environmental policies," the plan describes "directions for environmental policies at the start of the 21st century," painting a picture of the ideal sustainable society that all of society should aspire to achieve. To make this kind of a society a reality, the plan calls for "incorporation of environmental considerations into every activity," "application and combination of policy methodology," "participation of every entity in society" and "efforts at every level, from local to international."
In this process, according to the plan, four long-term objectives should be aimed for - "environmentally sound material cycle," "harmonious coexistence" "participation" and "international activities.""
"In order to respond to current environmental issues, it is necessary to create a society where the environment and the economy improve together. By creating a ﾒvirtuous cycle of the environment and the economy," the Ministry of the Environment aims to create a society where improving the environment leads to economic growth, and economic revitalization improves the environment."
"To build a sustainable society, citizens must take environmental action with a very thorough understanding and high consciousness of the environment."SpeechesWhite Paper
Radicalohank wrote:You nearly hijacked my plane of thought!
You nearly hot-wired my car of thought!