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Evacuate above the cherry blossom tree line - planting trees that will help protect the next generation from tsunamis

2015.03.11 Naoko Hirasawa

Creative Commons, Some Rights Reserved, Photo by Junpei Hazui

It was March 11, 2011 that the Great East Japan Earthquake and the subsequent tsunami struck the Tohoku region of Japan. Many of these areas still bear the physical scars left by previous tsunamis. In some places there were stone markers indicating how high the waves could reach. These helped save lives. But in other areas there weren't any markers, so many people lost their lives.

Tsunamis will strike again. So the NPO, Sakura Line 311 is planting cherry blossom trees as markers to help save lives when they do. They are planting a cherry blossom tree every 10 meters along 170km of land in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture so that the colonnade of cherry blossom trees will let people know how high the water rises. They want to make sure that the future generation will know to evacuate above the tree line when there is a risk of a tsunami.

This initiative, which began in the fall of 2011, has planted 767 trees as of December 2014 (please click here for a map of the progress, type of cherry blossom trees, and date that they were planted). A documentary film has also been made about Sakura Line 311's activities, and it is currently being shown at Arts Chiyoda 3331 and at the second 3.11 Film Festival being organized in satellite venues across Japan (this film festival introduces movies that feature a wide range of social issues that the Great East Japan Earthquake brought to light. The first film festival was held last year in March.)

Their goal is to plant 17,000 trees, but they still have more than 16,000 to go. There are many ways you can contribute so please take a look to see how you can help.

Help plant trees:
The spring tree planting event will be held on March 28. Although they already have enough volunteers to plant trees, you can still volunteer to help organize the event.

Monthly supporters wanted. You can donate 1,500 yen or more per month.

Show your support by clicking "Like!" or "Share":
You can help generate free donation by clicking "Like!" or "Share" on the social contribution platform, Gooddo.

Go to live performances and buy merchandise:
The Tohoku Sakura Live Project is an organization that supports cherry blossom tree planting by organizing live performances and selling merchandise. By supporting this organization you will also be supporting the Sakura Line 311 and other cherry blossom tree planting organizations.

And currently, they are selling limited edition products at the Tokyu Department Store. A portion of the proceeds will be used to help the Sakura Line 311's activities.

For each person who searches the word, "3.11", on Yahoo! on March 11, Yahoo! will donate 10 yen to organizations including the Sakura Line 311, who are helping the region get back on its feet.

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The area of this news

Iwate,Japan (Japan

Naoko Hirasawa

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