Through detergents to conservation: IUCN Goodwill Ambassador IRUKA celebrates her 40th anniversary

IRUKA became IUCN’s Goodwill Ambassador in 2004. Since then, she has organized numerous concert tours to support IUCN activities and to promote biodiversity issues to both adults and children. This year, IRUKA is celebrating her 40th anniversary. She tells us how she became involved in promoting nature conservation and what are some of the most interesting projects she has planned for this year.


What made you engage in nature conservation?

- It all started with a detergent. When I got married in 1972, I started to spend more time in the kitchen, which made me think about how it is connected to the Earth. I then created a women’s group which studied the impact of garbage and detergents on the environment.

How do you think music is connected to nature?

- I have always thought of myself as being “a tiny part of the universe”. Music always gives me the power to connect to nature whenever I wish to do so.

Why did you decide to become an IUCN Goodwill Ambassador?

- When I was a little girl, I wanted to work with wild animals when I grew up. But before I knew it, I became a singer. But my love for nature remained and this is why I have written many songs about it. When I was offered the possibility to become an IUCN Goodwill Ambassador, I felt that my dream had come true and I was very happy to accept it!

This year is your 40th anniversary. What are some of the projects you have planned?

- I will hold special concerts to promote IUCN’s activities widely this year, as I have done in the past. As a member of the ‘Life on Earth’ Committee of the Ministry of Environment of Japan, I will promote biodiversity issues at events to local governments and educational institutions. I will also work to support the recovery from the Higashi-Nihon earthquake.

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