Think the Earth
What's Think the Earth?
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How many times a day do you think of the Earth?

In 1961, mankind obtained its first photo of the Earth from space.

"Seen from space the Earth is indescribably beautiful, the scars of national borders nowhere in sight."

"All of us on Earth are traveling in the same boat."

The words of astronauts teach us that viewing the world from the perspective of space and feeling closer to the Earth are where it all begins, and where all begins to change.

If each of the six billion people living on the Earth thought of the Earth more often, the world would be a better place...

Herein lie the beginnings of the Think the Earth Project.

The Think the Earth Project creates opportunities for people to think about and relate to the Earth in their everyday lives.

The basic ethos of the Project is "ecology and economy in coexistence."

Business keeps the world economy ticking over, and to make business a better driving force for social change, Think the Earth offers ways to contribute to society through business, encouraging companies and individuals worldwide to participate, and creating opportunities for each of us to think about the Earth. Think the Earth also makes maximum use of the Internet, which has at once a global perspective, and also connects people at a local level.

Confronted by social and environmental problems of global dimensions, most people seem to believe such issues have nothing to do with their lives, or that there is no way they as a single individual can bring about change. At the Think the Earth Project, we believe this apathy and fatalism to be the most critical issues of all.
19 February 2001   From speech at the launch event: Seiichi Mizuno
Message from the promoters: Susumu Furukawa, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Luciano Benetton

19 February 2001   From speech at the launch event: Seiichi Mizuno

Seiichi Mizuno / President, Institute of Marketing Architecture Co., Ltd.

Prior to today's inaugural announcement, all sorts of people have been asking just what the Think the Earth Project is. In my speech here I will explain, and in doing so, I must also explain the close cooperative relationship between the Think the Earth Project, and the newly established company, Spaceport Inc.

The question of what companies actually exist for is one that frequently arises.

The ultimate goal of traditional companies has been to yield maximum profit from sales of products on the market, and by doing so maximize the prosperity of their stockholders. Recently however, a change has been taking place throughout the leading industrialized nations of the West.

In short, the mission of companies is now being considered from the perspective of the society to which their shareholders and market belong, and of the contributions they are making and the burdens they are placing on the environment, in other words the Earth that sustains the people that make up those societies.

In the late 20th century, even traditional companies gradually began atoning for the impact of their manufacturing activities on the environment by donating a percentage of their profits to social initiatives. But such actions are nothing more than "virtual absolution."

Phrases like "social entrepreneur," "CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)" and "BSR (Business for Social Responsibility)" are now used extensively in the United States. The prime objective of new companies is to make a contribution to society. Among these are companies that have gone public, and are rated highly by stockholders and the market.

This is the objective upon which Spaceport Inc. -- the company managing the non-profit, environmental support project Think the Earth being introduced here today -- was established.

Spaceport Inc. collaborates with various companies to develop products to be sold primarily via the Internet, the proceeds from which--through the Think the Earth Project -- will be donated to non-profit and non-government organizations actively tackling environmental issues, and/or to support new business start-ups offering outstanding environment-related technologies.

People tend to think of environmental movements as being strictly limited to ecology. One of the key issues of the Think the Earth Project, however, is the fusion of ecology and economy.

Traditionally financial/profit-making pursuits and concern for the environment, i.e. economy and ecology, have been in conflict. But in this day and age, the two must be regarded compatibly. I believe there is plenty of potential for thisto be achieved.

Spaceport Inc. represents a pioneering Japanese BSR. But having only just begun, the non-profit Think the Earth Project with which it maintains a close cooperative relationship will require outside support until it gains momentum. I therefore ask the Project promoters here with us today -- Seiko Instruments Inc. President & CEO Junichi Hattori and NTT Data Corporation Inc. President Toshiharu Aoki--and those that were unable to attend -- musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, Microsoft Corporation Senior Vice President Susumu Furukawa, and Benetton Corporation President Luciano Benetton -- and all of the founding committee members and candidates here with us today for your ongoing support.

Spaceport Inc.'s initial product -- symbolic of the Think the Earth Project -- is wn-1, a watch developed in collaboration with Seiko Instruments Inc.

This Project may still be a little difficult to comprehend, but with the cooperation of various individuals and companies we hope to develop a series of new products and business activities. In doing so, I am sure we will deepen your understanding of what we are endeavoring to do. I hope I can count on your ongoing support.

Promoters's Messages

Susumu Furukawa

Until now, "beating the competition" to secure profits or increase market share has meant being prepared to sacrifice something. As a result, corporate competition has hurt the individual; it has even shortened the life of our beautiful blue planet.

Traveling by airplane reminds one just how vast the Earth actually is.

Many of us depart from the airport saddled with corporate or national pride, but when we realize just how small our beings are compared to the Earth as seen from the stratosphere, the eager, serious characters we were when we boarded the plane become almost amusing. As we observe the endless horizon and white clouds, and the brilliance of the ever-changing sky, we begin to cherish the Earth in all its azure glory -- we also begin to see ourselves. And when we alight, our hearts are cleansed by the veritable tapestry woven by the colors of the sea and the sky, the smell of the air, and the rustling of the wind that until now we had failed to notice.

Words like collaboration and symbiosis epitomize what is expected of 21st century corporations, and each and every individual working for them. While individuals in the Internet age still belong to companies and nations, they work together on the face of the Earth, they live together -- and that should lead to protecting our living Earth. @

Ryuichi Sakamoto / Musician, Artist

The one sure way to resolve environmental problems would be for humankind to disappear from the face of the planet. "Environmental problems" are human problems, which wouldn't exist if we didn't.

But how do animals and plants view the issue? Most likely they'd be happy to see the mammals that are driving them into extinction disappear.

The value of such things changes with how we measure time.

Consider the near future -- our children and grandchildren will most certainly suffer if we continue this way. And yet from the perspective of microorganisms that have lived for four billion years, the extinction of mammals would be no big deal.

The sun, our fixed planet, will become a supernova in one to five billion years. And when it does, our microorganism friends will board a tremendous electron storm on another trip into outer space.

After journeying for millions of light years, they will settle again on a planet fit for existence and begin to evolve -- Hindu reincarnation indeed. To save our precious, humble genes, we must conform to the mission of living creatures, control our excessive desires, and extend life by recycling all limited natural resources other than the sun's energy.

What stands in the way? It is time for us to think this through earnestly.

Luciano Benetton / President, Benetton Group.

In his hundred thousand years of history, Man has never known an acceleration of progress equal to that of the last decades. Everything indicates that in the century that has just begun, the rhythm of innovation will continue to grow. If it is true that technology can give us a better life, it is also true that this cannot continue to happen to the detriment of our planet's health. The moment has arrived to make a serious attempt to reconcile the reasons for development with the safeguarding of the environment. In the same way, it is important to strongly defend, in the era of globalisation, local identities and cultural diversity, which represent the founding values of every society.

There are still many barriers to overcome, such as that of a world divided into two different spheres of civilisation: the sphere of those with access to the most advanced technology and to economic development, and a second sphere (representing about half the human race) of those who don't possess so much as a computer to enable them to become citizens of the world. In the 21st century we must undertake to ensure the benefits of globalisation reach everyone, without the exclusions that give rise to new conflicts and social tensions. So that progress truly becomes a great collective patrimony. So that all can say: "I have a future."