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The Sloth Club

August 4, 2009

The Sloth Club
established in 1999

6-15-2-912  Ojima, Koto-ku, Tokyo 136-0072

There have been many global campaigns to ‘Save the Whales’ or ‘Save the Elephants’, but the core of the Sloth Club concept is to actually ‘become’ a sloth. The aim is to emulate some of the basic behaviors of the sloth in order to find a way to live in harmony with the earth.

So what does it mean to be ‘sloth’? Is a sloth lazy and dirty? Is a sloth stupid and slow? Ask yourself the question: Is a sloth really sloth-like? You may be truly surprised to find out how they live.

We now realize that most humans (especially in rich countries) are usually busy living in ways that destroy the planet – we want to promote the concept of ‘doing’ less, living simply, minimising our destructive impact and finding joy in our life without consuming an endless stream of meaningless things. The three-toed Sloth may be our greatest teacher in how to do this. It is also one of the animals that cannot live without the native forest. Maybe the best way to save the Sloth is to become sloth-like. Shift from the culture of ‘more, faster and tougher’ to that of ‘less, slower and non-violent’.

What are the goals of The Sloth Club?

– ENVIRONMENTAL: To help preserve the natural environment and prevent further destruction by changing our lifestyles.  To this end, we hold events, create original publications, and support campaigns.
– CULTURAL: Provide ways for Japanese and other people to lead a life of symbiosis with the natural environment.
-SLOW BUSINESS: Support local economies through fair trade, sustainable business practices, and eco-entrepreneurship in Japan.

Here are some of the concrete ways we are trying to achieve these goals:

1 Slow Lifestyle Movement

One of the examples of our lifestyle movement is Hachidori (Hummingbird) Campaign which was inspired by a story told to us by the mayor of Cotocachi, Ecuador.  A traditional tale of doing our best for the greater good, we disseminated this story throughout Japan with a bilingual book.  We’ve also established an educational website where people can learn about the environmental impacts of their everyday lives, and get motivated to make simple yet effective changes by signing the Hachidori Pledge.

We also believe ‘slow’ means reconnecting with each other. The Sloth Club creates various events and programs that enable people to “practice slowing-down” and in the process, discover a more enjoyable life.  For example, we began a “Voluntary Blackout” in 2001, which has since grown into a nationwide event called Candle Night Summer Solstice.  The slogan is “Turn off the Lights and Take it Slow.”   Worldwide Candle Night efforts are now coordinated on the bilingual website  HYPERLINK “”

2  Slow is Peace

We consider the foundation of the slow life is war resistance, and therefore we often participate in movements for peace.  For example, we support Article 9, Japan’s Peace Constitution, and initiated “9 Lovers,” a support group for Article 9, which published “Sowing 9,” a book about Japan’s Article 9 youth activism.
We also believe that given Japan’s history and geography, nuclear power is not a slow energy solution.   We are active participants in the campaign against the nuclear reprocessing plant at Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture and other nuclear power plants in Japan such as Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in Shizuoka.

3  Establishment of Sloth Fund for Environmental Preservation

Dues from Sloth Club members go towards a Sloth Fund that supports forest preservation worldwide, with a special focus on sloth preserves and rainforest.  We also support movements by indigenous people to preserve their forests.  Since Japanese citizens are often not aware of the role of Japanese corporations in other countries, we support cultural interaction and events that link Japan with indigenous people from around the world.

(Inspired by agroforestry efforts in Ecuador, The Sloth Club participates in the Fair Trade of organic coffee and handicrafts (especially from Ecuador) as alternative to copper mining in those areas. One of the active members of the Sloth Club, Aya Wada, is the director of Kurikindi, an organic permaculture farm in Cotacachi, Ecuador.

4  Planning and support of Slow Business

Recently, public attention has focused on the possibility of business to contribute to solving environmental problems.  We are dedicated to nurturing those business, and promoting the principles of Slow Business, which include fair trade, zero waste,
Slow Business cares about land, people, and life, not just profits.  We also believe in the importance of creating jobs whose principles align with ourselves.  We are a partner with the Slow Business School, a conglomeration of Japanese entrepreneurs who are dedicated to increasing the number of Slow Businesses in Japan, and nurturing the next generation of slow businessmen and women.

Four companies have been formed so far by Sloth Club members, inspired by the ideals of Slow Business.  They now maintain a partnership relationship with the Sloth Club, and donate 1% of yearly profits to its activities.

5 Localism/Slow Places

Namake is an alternative currency created by the Sloth Club in autumn 2002.  The actual bills are made from recycled waste and sustainably harvested tagua nuts from Ecuador.  So as we use this alternative currency, we are simultaneously supporting Fair Trade.

The Sloth Club is also the organizer of Slow Tours to countries like Bhutan, Ecuador, and Australia.  Our tours include visits to indigenous communities to support reforestation projects, eco-village tours, and other places that ordinary tours do not go. Our goal is to encourage participants to bring what they have learned overseas, into their daily lives here in Japan.

One Comment leave one →


  1. Panorama da Janela

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