Eco-Card: Nishinomiya Japan

by Jen Cirillo                                                                                                                                  

In 1998, Shelburne Farms, representatives from the Vermont Department of Education, and local educators visited colleagues at LEAF: Learning and Ecological Activities Foundation for Children in Nishinomiya, Japan. (  There, they were so inspired by the community and school-based sustainability initiatives that they returned to Vermont to deepen their work in Education for Sustainability (EFS).  They pursued the development of a sustainability standard (now standard number 3.9 found in Vermont’s Framework of Learning Standards) and took home several great project ideas.  In addition, the cities of Burlington, VT and Nishinomiya signed a joint communiqué as “Environmental Learning Cities” in 2003 with the goal of promoting shared learning and participation of citizens in creating more sustainability and ecologically healthy communities.  

Another one of the ideas that was brought back to Vermont was the “Eco-Card”, a community passport of sorts that engages youth and community members in environmentally friendly activities in their communities.  

The “Eco-Card” has been used by tens of thousands of school-aged children in Nishinomiya, a city of 476,000.   It is intended to reconnect schools, families and community and has been successfully implemented across all grade levels. 

Now the “Eco-Card” will be featured in a textbook for Junior High Schools all over Japan.  The text book company will have a newly edited version ready for the next academic year starting in April 2012.  A word-for-word translation into English should be available in the near future. 

For more information on LEAF, the “Eco-Card”, and the City of Nishinomiya see “Realizing Education for Sustainable Development in Japan: the Case of Nishinomiya City at



This article appeared in the SSP's Fall 2011 Newsletter.

Download a PDF of the article here.

Download the Fall 2011 entire newsletter here.

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