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Schools team with city to create ‘curtain of green’

Date Posted: 2008-03-21

Students at four elementary schools are joining forces with Naha City in a new program to reduce global warming and protect the environment.

Naha City has embraced the ‘curtain of green’ project proposed by students at Mekaru, Uebaru, Tsuboya and Joutu elementary schools, a plan to plant goya and hechima vegetable plants along walls of schools and public buildings. The vines, students say, will grow anywhere there’s concrete, and the vines can become cooling curtains or blinds all the way to the building roofs. The plants will, at the same time, bear vegetables.

Goya and hechima, officials say, grow easily, and in time will create curtains of green vines that will help prevent global warming. Naha City has committed to researching how the project will protect the environment, affect the children, and provide food education, too.

The Okinawa idea isn’t exactly new. Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture schools are already planting vegetables on walls or windows, the green curtains softening the strong sunshine while beautifying the schools, public facilities and even residential areas. Officials say a byproduct is that children are learning to enjoy plants and vegetables, while learning about insects and butterflies that flock to the green zones.

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