Japanese Environment Ministry Fights Climate Change with Moe

posted on 2017-02-25 19:45 EST by Eric Stimson
"Mirai Kimino" teaches "Ima Kimino" how to be more environmentally responsible

As part of the international agreement on lowering carbon emissions reached in Paris in 2015, Japan has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2030. To educate ordinary Japanese about the energy-efficient lifestyle choices they can make to meet this goal, the Ministry of the Environment has launched a "Cool Choice" campaign. Young people in particular were found to be ignorant of and uninterested in environmental issues in a Cabinet survey, so the Cool Choice campaign is turning to a very Japanese strategy to reach them: moe schoolgirls. (It apparently was inspired to do so by the Ministry's acronym, MoE.)

Ima Kimino (which sounds like "Your Present") is a lazy slob who doesn't care about environmental efficiency. She leaves the lights on, she leaves the refrigerator door open... she's so irresponsible, she even turns up the heat in the winter so she can enjoy her favorite food, ice cream! Clearly she's not making Cool Choices.

Enter Mirai Kimino ("Your Future"), Ima's equivalent from a parallel world that makes smarter choices and enjoys a "clean, prosperous, advanced, and sustainable lifestyle." The two worlds were once one, but at some point in the line they diverged — and apparently wasteful energy use was the culprit. Now Mirai takes it upon herself to teach Ima how to shape up her lifestyle and save the environment.

The Kimino characters were chosen by the Ministry from 135 different submissions to support its PR campaign. The concept and character designers (seen above) are borges (Murē Akusawa) and Maou_Illust. Borges hopes that the characters will "gradually come to be accepted by all and be loved for ever and ever" and thinks "there could be nothing more wonderful than if they contributed to environmental conservation by getting passed around little by little."

The Ministry of the Environment plans to spread the Kimino characters through videos and an app, Cool Choice, that explains how to make your home more energy-efficient and provides resources on climate change like videos from experts explaining it, a virtual reality tour of a warmer planet, and videos of how your hometown could be affected.

Sources: Cool Choice official website and TBS News

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