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Activist spreads green message through Cambodia

A JAPANESE man is aiming to alter perceptions of the environment among Cambodians by walking through the country and planting trees until the end of this month.

Political science graduate Yuji Miyata, 28, is spreading the message about pollution and living in harmony with nature during his two-month trip.

Already, he has covered thousands of kilometres since 2007 by walking through countries planting trees and spreading his message.

He said his trip has shown him the value of nature, and has given him the chance to talk to many people about living in harmony with the environment.

“Peace not only exists between people in other countries but it also exists between people and nature,” he said.

“We are all created by nature and need to drink water, to eat fruit and other food produced by nature. So tree planting is a good start to find peace for us,” said the activist.

“If we can’t make peace between people and nature, we will not be able to make peace between people and
people.”

Last weekend, Yuji Miyata planted 15 trees along with members of the Khmer Youth and Social Development programme and students of the Royal University of Agriculture.

After planting some trees, Professor Dok Chhang of the Royal University of Agriculture said: “This is the first time for my university to take part in such an event with a non-government organisation, as we have only planted trees with agriculture students before.

Dok Chhang said: “Due to increasing climate change, I think that this small event can also be a symbol of the sky opening for organisations and other partners to protect the environment in Cambodia.”

Yuji Miyata worked for Peace Ambassador Paul Coleman of the United Nations between December 2007 and August 2008, walking 2,200 kilometres and planting 234 trees in that time.

His travels have taken him through South Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Cambodia to spread the message of environmental peace among governments, NGOs, media and ordinary people. He plans to stay in Cambodia until the end of November, and his next target country is Thailand.

“Since I first stepped foot on Cambodian soil in Bavet and walked through to Phnom Penh, I’ve seen beautiful Cambodian views of nature. What’s unforgettable about this country is the smiles of Cambodian people,” he said.

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