上田(Ueda) 崇(Takashi) is the climate data cruncher of the Plan A outfit. Taka is from Kumamoto, a city located in the province of the Southern Japanese island of Kyushu and sitting on the most active volcano in Japan. Needless to explain why Taka respects nature and its humbling power.
Confirmed climber, 90’s movie fan, baseball player and Borussia Dortmund supporter, Taka is our seventh planetary hero, because they may not wear capes (every day), but he has a cap. The freshest addition to the team is crunching climate data like the world depends on it. Thanks to him, we can prioritise climate action and find the best projects for the best outcomes for our planet.
What is climate change to you? How does it affect you? How to stop it?
To me, climate change means not being able to live with the climate and weather cycles in the way I grew up. Over the past decade, the world has been experiencing thousands of record-breaking weather events. Climate change will directly affect our lives and future generations.
As a result of climate change, Japan – my home country – has been suffering from extreme weather events. The recent floods and landslides that killed hundreds of people. A heatwave struck this summer has pushed the temperature to the highest ever recorded in Japan, killing dozens of people.
In order to tackle climate change, there are many actions an individual can take. Changing our own habits to reduce our personal carbon footprints (such as by eating less meat, or avoiding bottled water and refilling personal water bottles) is one of the most effective ways individuals can fight climate change. With my personal goal of cutting my carbon footprint, I decided to take meat out of my diet.
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As individuals, we often feel helpless to solve climate change issues. But, if large numbers of people started changing their habits in such a way as to prevent the impacts of climate change, we can turn small individual actions into collective actions and can have a big cumulative impact!
Where do you get your environmental fibre from? How did it all begin?
I have always had a keen interest in the environment. For me, it began when I was 10 years old in summer camp in a small village in Japan. There, we spent our time going for hikes, catching insects, building dens and forts in the woods, and doing animal-related activities like collecting eggs, milking a cow and feeding pigs.
After finishing high school, I had the opportunity to spend a year doing work in an organic farm in Japan. Working on the farm was challenging but extremely rewarding. The farm taught me stuff that I wouldn’t learn otherwise – where my food comes from. It has also led me to learn about how humans can live in tune with the natural environment.
Through these experiences, I have developed an affinity for the environment.
What is your totem animal (can be a plant too) and why?
An elephant because they are thoughtful and caring animals. They care about each other, help each other, and they even grieve for their lost ones. I also find it fascinating that elephants play a crucial role in maintaining the ecosystem. When they dig for water during drought, they help not only themselves but also other animals. They also contribute dispersing the seeds of many plants and trees through their dung, which is rich in minerals and nutrients allowing seeds to grow. Elephants help keep ecosystems healthy!