A Final Word from Co-editor, Taishi Sugiyama
During the interviews with stakeholders in Japan—my country—I was asked a very interesting question. After listening to my presentation on existing international expert networks to promote energy efficiency worldwide, one of the stakeholders asked me:
Why are people from outside the region working on East Asian energy efficiency? Are there any national interests behind it, or, are there any plots? Personally, I don’t think they will become millionaires by doing this. They must have grown up in a wealthy family without worrying about anything. It is not easy to believe that they are doing this just out of good will.
I found that to acquire wider confidence from stakeholders, the experts have to explain who they are and why they are doing such work. Intrigued, I conveyed this question to an expert from outside Japan who is involved in this work.He replied as follows:
I suspect that each of us have slightly different motivations, but perhaps you’ll see a common thread to them. In my case, here are some pertinent facts:
- I have two married children and four grandchildren.
- I’m comfortably well established (economically) and have no ambition to accumulate more money.
- I developed, in my youth, an expectation of how my country and the world were evolving with increasing economic prosperity that would continuously result in a higher quality of life, increased economic equality, and increased understanding and tolerance among the peoples of the world.
- My entire career, indeed, my entire life has been devoted to compassionate support for other people and to leaving this planet a better place than when I entered it (in terms of what I viewed as desirable human evolution). I, therefore, want to do what is best for my grandchildren (not as individuals; but as representatives of mankind).
- My devotion to the international expert network for energy efficiency is a reflection of these values and conditions.
- I have recently realized that the world is not evolving as I had envisioned in my youth; that increased economic prosperity in my country has not increased the quality of life; that the majority of my fellow countrymen do not share my vision; and that my government’s funding for what I care most about is rapidly decreasing.
- My support for energy efficiency cooperation among Asian countries is a better use of my time than other opportunities I find in my country, and is complementary to my endeavors with the international expert network.
That’s it in a nutshell. Albeit a bit oversimplified, I think it captures the essence of my decision to participate…
In short, experts are working toward the goal of energy efficiency. Immediately after this conversation, I realized that it is not difficult for me to understand since the same goes for myself. I am also working for my values.
In conclusion, I am happy to report to potential donors to the Fund about the research team’s motivations. They have been working hard out of personal conviction and professional passion, but have not yet secured significant and stable support from any national government. That is why they are always struggling for funding for their activities. We have found that what they are doing is promising. Those who fund this expert network will be making a cost-effective investment.
This is a chapter from Cooperative Climate: Energy Efficiency Action in East Asia (e-book).
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