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Midsummer Issue (Jul.)



While concern about environmental issues has been growing worldwide, Waseda University has long conducted environmental education and research since 1979.
As an education and research university, how can we contribute to solving environmental problems?
Here we will introduce some of the environmental education and research activities being undertaken at the university.


Environmental Education and Research

Environmental education through all-faculty sub-majors (themed study).
On the other side of raising interest in the environment is the increasingly complicated study related to the environment and diversification.
As one of the all-faculty sub-majors (themed study) at Waseda University, a theme titled "Strategic Environmental Research" has been established to
(1)provide a place to comprehensively learn academic systems related to the environment, and
(2)provide a place to acquire a broad viewpoint regarding the environment.
In each lesson, academic staff from various fields conveys research processes, and the students are able to choose subjects in their field or interests.
In Part.3, we ask about the content of lessons conducted by six professors.

Lesson 1 Environmental Issues and a Sustainable Society

Norihisa Yoshida
Faculty of Science and Engineering Professor

Having an eye to see through the heart of things and knowing the true state of environmental issues

Norihisa Yoshida

It can be said that solving environmental problems lies in "creating a sustainable society."

In this lesson, three professors give a birds-eye view of the environment from the viewpoint of three social sciences, politics, economics, and public administration, and lecture on environment literacy as basic education. For example, in politics, the history of the idea of sustainability is followed until its establishment in the world, and then, unravel climate change issues (global warming problems). Students also learn of the imbroglio between development and environment safety facing Asian countries, looking at realistic topics and dealing with guaranteeing the sustainability of human society.

I am in charge of environmental policy (public administration). Using Minamata disease as an example and what caused a half-century of suffering, by teaching the realities of government policies, I train students to see to the heart of the matter.

When looking at environmental issues through social sciences, you become aware of the factors causing the gap between rich and poor, the North-South problem, and differences in gender, religion and deep-rooted tradition. When looking at natural science at the same time, we see that growing populations lead to the drying-up of natural resources and that we can't maintain the earth in this way. When taking the social science and natural science views into consideration, what is important is discarding various prejudices and creating a fair society.

Lesson 2 Easy "Environment and Energy"

Isao Shimizu
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

For the Purpose of Science Communication Between Science and Literature

Isao Shimizu

Right now, "Environment" is the primary concern of the century. In my student days, when environmental pollution was causing uproar, I also thought how to end pollution and majored in chemical engineering contributing to pollution prevention. Because I didn't enter a chemical engineering lab, at graduate school I began research in organic synthetic chemistry (chemistry producing functional materials using medicinal and electronic materials). In the present day, chemistry is a field of study we can not live without. By using chemistry to construct an affluent society, it is important to put into practice manufacturing without adding any extra burden to the environment by using what is called "green chemistry."

2008 open subject lesson"Practical Science Communication"(Karuizawa Seminar House)

Now, the lesson in the title is for students taking the Open Education Center's themed study of "Environmental Strategy" and "Intellectual Property Communication," with the aim of understanding simple science related to the environment, and being able to facilitate communication between science and literature. Along with basic science, we touch upon the history of the earth, history of industry, and history of science, starting with the questions "What is environment?," and "What is an environmental issue?," and learn about petroleum, nuclear power, energy restoration, the carbon cycle, chemical substances, earth environment, environmental economics, and regulatory science (science based on regulations).

But this is not just about enhancing knowledge, I expect each and every student to be able to make judgment on something in society using scientific knowledge.

Lesson 3 Environment Related Facility Tour Lecture (Speculative Volume?Practical EditionZ)

Mamoru Enjoji
Professor, Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences

Experiencing and Discussing Social Conditions Focused on Environmental Issues

Mamoru Enjoji

In this lesson student groups chose environmental facilities, make bookings for a visit, present their results and outcomes, and hold an overall discussion on problem areas. Possible targets include nuclear power generation plants or wind power plants, regional and public waste treatment facilities, and food, electronic and automobile factories, which are involved in environmental safety. As well as classroom discussions, we also hold camps.

For students, getting a grasp of social conditions with an environmental focus is a succession of surprises, gaining extremely large educational benefits each time. In a schedule with trying conditions where classes start late at night, facility visits are conducted separately, and consultations and contact is irregular, the students are exceedingly enthusiastic, positive and independent. This is probably because the students gathered already had a high awareness of the issues and have had these conditions pushed on them. The style of lesson aside, I have shared an enjoyable time with this positive group of students.

Since the inception of this lesson, there have been students from all faculties and even other universities, and this situation remains today. In the beginning mainly first year students signed up, but recently many older students have started to take the course. In recent years, the time of becoming aware of environmental issues has slightly changed.

My research major is geochemistry and natural resource science.
Using minute objects in minerals or tiny amounts of water, I try to clarify the creation or changes in minerals and mineral deposits related to the geochemical environment. Many related views come up on the way, such as environmental pollution and securing natural resources. I am in charge of this type of lecture.

Lesson 4 Modern Environment Theory

Takehiko Murayama
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Using Various Methods of Information Gathering to Get the Full Picture of Current Environmental Issues

Takehiko Murayama

In "Modern Environment Theory," on top of giving an outline of the history of environmental issues so far, I also deal with concrete issues such as the atmosphere and water, soil, waste, and climate change. While summarizing present conditions as much as possible, I strive to present topics that have common points with environmental issues as a whole and with individual issues.

In "Environmental Policy and Planning," the focal point is mainly the policy side of things, where, along with core operations and policy stage regulations, I lecture about individual implementation methods. Stating with regulations for the burden of the polluter, I deal with comparisons between prevention and protection policies and the relationship between regulatory methods and economic methods.

Meeting at Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture on the theme of chemical substance risk communication

In "Environment theory," after introducing content about the finite life of the earth, intergenerational fairness, biological rights, and environmental issues and community fairness, I set a concrete topic where students apply the KJ method (a method for summarizing data) or provide students an opportunity to think for themselves through debate. Also, of activities in the classroom, in risk communication of chemical substances, in the event of lack of information or false information relating to toxicity, we are aiming to develop risk management methods through communication of related people in many positions like businesses and citizens. To achieve this, by holding actual meetings in designated regions, mainly centered in Saitama and Tokyo, we are looking at ways to promote information and discussion to deepen debate.

Lesson 5 Environment Ethnology

Hiroyuki Torigoe
Professor, Faculty of Human Sciences

Researching the passing down of traditions and devising of methods of customs within the environment

Hiroyuki Torigoe

There is a field of study called "Ethnology." Mentioning the names of ethnologists Kunio Yanagida and Shinobu Orikuchi may give you a clear image. Ethnology is the study where customs and traditions passed down by the people are researched. "Environment Ethnology" is the part of Ethnology specializing in environmental research.

Rubbish has been eliminated through the effect of a mini shrine gate.

Using water as an example, a lack of freshwater and pollution are becoming issues on a global scale. But when we look back to the Edo Period, it was possible to drink river water running through the city of Osaka. Even nowadays, when you go to the country you will find few people drinking river water or spring water. What kind of methods did these people devise to prevent pollution or water loss? As an example, where there was spring water, the "water god" there was worshipped, somehow influencing the waste and pollution of the water. Using a god again as an example, recently many people throw away rubbish on mountains. Even if warning signs are posted, people ignore them and throw away their rubbish, but if you put up a gate to a shrine like the one in the picture, people think twice.

The content is related to the students taken the lesson so they take interest and listen to the lectures keenly, and tell of experiences from their own regions. This is a field where you study your own observations and experiences.

Lesson 6 Environment Ethnology

Junji Ota
Professor, Faculty of Human Sciences

Researching the passing down of traditions and devising of methods of customs within the environment

Junji Ota

The spring semester lesson "Environment Ethnology," from many areas of environmental issue focused research, presents topics centered on climate, energy, food and the biosphere.

In the autumn semester's "Global Environment System Theory," students learn of "heat gain and loss" and "the cycle of matter" in the basics of the spring semester topics, and are lectured on the beauty of autonomous systems combing the global climate and living things. Accordingly, topics and basics related to the global environment can be divided into these two subjects, being able to start reviewing from either subject with no adverse effects to the other.

The content contained in the autumn semester course doubles with that of the generally said to be difficult meteorologist examination, with several students passing every year. Of those, there are even some who have become female TV weather presenters. Regardless of these types of qualifications, for anyone who wants to have proper scientific understanding of the earth's environment, I think this set of lessons is the course for you.

By the way, my laboratory is currently concentrating its activities on measuring the heat island effect in Tokyo, and developing environmental models for rice paddies in Asia, and distribution models of regions inhabited by the malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquito. Common factors in these seemingly unrelated areas is "heat gain and loss"

Advanced electric community bus (WEB3), jointly developed with National Traffic Safety and Environment Laboratory and Showa Aircraft Industry Co., with financial assistance from NEDO

Challenging humanity topics at the Center for Sustainability and Environment with a "unified academic approach"

This center, set on achieving a "possible" cyclic society with sustainable development, was established in 2002 at the Honjo Campus with the aim of conducting leading research and development related to environmental issues. With the object of consistent coordination from germination to practical implementation, the Graduate School of Environment and Energy Engineering, starting with the Honjo Waseda Research Park Foundation, has joined forces with organizations in and out of the university. We are working at solving problems through the "co-creation of 4 types of citizens," a single entity made up of community citizens, business citizens, scholarly citizens, and furthermore, overseas citizens.

Also, we have a target of CO2 reduction, an environmental issue which easily changes its standing but, by firmly sticking to a "university's neutral stance," we gain the trust of the community and progress with research and education. In actual society, "real location, real objects and realism" are thoroughly practiced, and we aim to establish "skills for society."

At present we are conducting 18 research clusters such as "green hydrogen model society systems," "advanced community transport systems" and "sustainability security through politically aware decisions and journalism" in each field or in cooperation with related organizations, and 11 research projects, with the themes narrowed down?such as "agriculture suited to the environment," "lifestyle environment evaluation systems from the standpoint of human safety and comfort," and "environment education program development."