The Progress of Environmental Education at Peking University
Professor of Peking University, China
Peking University was the first Chinese college or university to develop environmental education. Beginning in 1973, Peking University has built not only a solid foundation for environmental education, but also developed a full range of subjects and an excellent administrative structure. Now, Peking University has perfected its environmental educational system.
1. Professional Environmental Education at Peking University
Environmental education at Peking University is conducted by the department of Urban and Environmental Science, the school of Life Science, the Environmental Science Center and the Institute of Environmental Engineering. The Urban and Environmental Science Department, which developed from the former Geography Department, is devoted to researching the environment of human life and sustainable social development. In 1973 this department began professional environmental education. With a complete range of subjects, the department can train undergraduate students, graduate students and doctoral students.
The Life Science School contains the Environmental Biology and Ecology Department, which was the first such department to be set up in China. This department has the courses, research facilities, and highly qualified professors needed to train undergraduate students, graduate students and doctoral students.
The Environmental Science Center was set up in 1985 in order to bring together the environmental teaching and research that is distributed throughout all of the units of Peking University. This center, which is led cooperatively by the National Environmental Protection Bureau and Peking University, has a Training Department for High-level Leaders in Environmental Protection. The center currently can train undergraduate students, graduate students and doctoral students.
The Institute of Environmental Engineering was set up in 1995 by Professor Ni Jinren. With its solid science base and its ability to combine science and engineering, this institute can conduct teaching, science research, technology consultancy and engineering services. While it develops this institute will maintain its orientation towards combining environmental teaching and science with environment science, information science and engineering science.
At its basis Peking University is a liberal arts and science university with a complete range of subjects and rich human and material resources. The university also supports a wide range of environmental protection-related professions, such as environment science, ecology, environmental planning and management, global change and environmental forecasting, environmental chemistry, environmental law and physical geography. Peking University has made an outstanding contribution to environmental protection in China. In past years, Peking University has taken charge of or taken part in close to one hundred important environmental research jobs, published several hundred research papers and written many textbooks and science and technology monographs for Chinese environmental education undertakings. In the past twenty-odd years, Peking University has educated close to one thousand undergraduate students, graduate students and doctoral students whose professions are related to environmental protection.
2. Public Environmental Education at Peking University
The Environmental Science Center and the Urban and Environmental Science Department has conducted many training courses and correspondence courses. Through these courses it has educated three thousand people, including government leaders at all levels, high school and primary school teachers and workers and managers of factories, mines and other enterprises. The Environmental Protection Office, the administrative organization engaged in environmental protection of Peking University, also has done a lot of work in environmental education. Since it was set up in 1973 the office has publicized the importance of environmental protection and popularized the knowledge of environmental protection among the teachers, students, staff members and workers of Peking University.
There are three student environmental protection organizations at Peking University -- the "Environment and Development Association", the "Green Life Association" and the "Environmental Protection Association". These organizations research the campus environment, disseminate environmental information and carry out educational activities.
The "Environment and Development Association", which was set up in 1991, mainly is composed of students from the Urban and Environmental Science Department, although it attracts students from all schools and departments of the university. This association is engaged in academic research, environmental activities and environmental education. It has recruited one or two hundred new members every year, so in the last seven years more than one thousand undergraduate students, graduate students and doctoral students have joined and thus gained heightened awareness of environmental protection.
3.Future Plan for Environmental Education at Peking University
I believe that in the future Peking University's professional and public environmental education programs should inculcate the following concepts:
A. Environmental Valuation
The environment and natural resources are valuable. We should take their value into account.
B. Sustainable Development
Economic development is necessary, but we should utilize the model of sustainable development.
C. Environmental Ethics
Humans and nature should be regarded as equals. Moreover, current and future generations should be regarded as equals. We should follow the principle: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
4. Final Words
On May 4th, 1998, Peking University will celebrate its one hundredth anniversary. As it begins its second century, Peking University will carry forward its fine traditions and train more qualified people to meet the needs of China's environmental protection activities.
Technology and Human's Ethics about Nature
Professor of Peking University, China
Ecological ethics, also called environmental ethics, is an ethical theory about nature. It expands the concepts of morality from the relationship between human being and human being to the relationship between human being and nature. In environmental ethics, the objects of ethics are extended from human beings to the community of human and nature. Not only are human beings considered by ethics, but also animals, plants, and even inorganic substances.
Human beings' viewpoints of the relationship between nature and themselves as well as the moral principles based on these viewpoints are changing with human beings' abilities of modulating the nature. This change can be divided into four periods.
The first period is from remote ancient times to the beginning of civilization, or to the initial period of the Agricultural Revolution. At this stage, technology was at a very low level. And human beings were not powerful before nature, they had to submit to it. In their opinion, nature was high and mighty, and it changed in an unpredictable way. They regarded nature as holy, and began to worship it. This is the initial form of religion. It was regarded as right and good only when human beings showed their docility and humility to the nature like a virgin.
The second period is from the beginning of civilization to modern times, including the periods of the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. Especially, with the Industrial Revolution, man developed scientific technology, a powerful weapon for conquering nature. Depending upon science and technology, people achieved great success in the process of transforming nature. We no longer feared nature, we even behaved like the masters of nature. This produced such thoughts as: man is the soul of the macrocosm; man can always surmount nature; the output of the earth is determined by human will. At this time, in the process of challenging nature, human beings were going ahead accompanied by triumphal songs, and victories came one after another. Everything they did to subdue nature was supposed to be right and good.
The third period is modern times. After we came into twentieth century, technology was changing the world with magic power. Relying on technology and productivity stimulated by technology, human beings could almost throw away the hills and upset the sea, summon the wind and bring rain. They believed that there was no improbability in the face of scientific technology, but they did not see that technology was very much like a horse without bridle. It neighed and dashed wildly ahead. There was almost way for us to rein it. Technology enabled the wealth of the world to increase rapidly, liberating human beings from the oppression of nature; however, it also provoked the careerism and avarice of human beings. Human beings begin to endanger nature, and as a result, they accelerated nature's retaliation upon human beings. All kinds of disasters and environmental pollution happened one after another all now people have to face the environmental problems of the earth.
The fourth period is from modern times to the future. In 1972, United Nation sponsored the first Globe Conference of the Environment. After being panicked and puzzled for some time, people found out that despite all the successes they achieved in fighting nature, these were acquired by ruining the surroundings they depend on. Via contemplation and introspection, they begin to realize the roles they perform in nature. They understand that they are sharing the same fate with nature. They must ensure the subsistence of all living beings in order to guarantee the their own subsistence . It is right and good only when they are keeping and advancing the compatibility of all living things.
Human beings have modified their viewpoints about nature. They evaluate technology not only by economic effects and social effects, but also by environmental effects. Besides taking from the nature, they begin to think about how to repay nature and how to keep ecological balance and stability. But there is still a long way to go. It needs the efforts of several generations in order to establish the new creed of maintaining harmony between human and human, human and nature.
Agriculture and The Natural Environment
Agricultural Techniques and Recovery of Nature in Thailand
Assistant Professor of Rajabhat Institute Phranakhon, Thailand
This article will provide ideas about the history of agriculture in Thailand and the negative impact of modern agriculture on the environment. In addition, the idea of alternative agriculture in Thailand will be considerd in this article.
Thailand is an agricultural country with an area of 514,000 Sq. Kms. In 1952, the population of Thailand was only 18 million. With rapid population growth, the population increased from 1952 up to the present to 60 million. Thailand is the leading world producer of rice, averaging around 20 million tons annually with 60 percent of the population traditionally engaged in rice farming. The most significant change in the past 45 years has been from self-sufficient localised production to agriculture for commercial and export use. In order to increase agricultural production, modern technology has been utilized resulting in environmental problems.
2. Thai Agriculture
In the past Thai Farmers used local plant and animal varieties. Farmers search the way to do farm nature and used a lot of farm manure and other organic fertilizers. Farmers's culture are work together for increasing production in such activities as the Harvest culture, Fire work asking for rain, Loy Kratong for respect the rivers etc.
Much of the current process of agriculture is based upon large monoculture and farm aggregation. In many ways this agriculture with its reliance on inputs such as chemicals, machinery, plants and animals varieties has failed and had several negative impacts, collapse of communities, ecological impacts, loss of genetic diversity, as well as effects on the health of producer and consumer.
3. Sustainable, or Alternative Agriculture
This has led over the last 20 years to a search for new methods, with the concept of sustainable development being adopted by the King of Thailand under the Royal Projects. This name is "Sustainable Agriculture". This way for development works is not only simple for local people to understand and apply, but also truly beneficial, economical and leading to conservation of natural resources. Paying attention to geographical conditions of farm area, sustainable agriculture through initiating cultivation of machine gears, pest control by means of balance of nature and integrated farming. Thailand has farmers who find the way for new methods called "Integrated Agriculture," which aims to promote greater integration and renewability of ecosystems through low inputs, the avoidance or elimination of chemicals and the use of appropriate technology. An accompanying change in philosophy often emphasizes community self-reliance and learning through doing.
The linkage between agriculture and environment should aim for food self-sufficiency. There should be less emphasis on cash crops for export.
Agriculture is a systematic approach interlinking the human system with the environment to minimize negative impacts. Therefore, it bears in mind issues of economic loss, human needs, socioeconomic problems, natural disasters and environmental protection in deciding upon the most suitable form of agriculture.
The Relationship between Botany and Ecosystem:
from the Viewpoint of First Nations in Canada
Nancy J. Turner
Professor, University of Victoria, Canada
First Nations in Canada are diverse, both linguistically and culturally. However, as long-time inhabitants of the land who have depended completely upon the resources of particular localities for their sustenance, they share many common approaches to their environments. Their relationship to plants, animals and places is characterized by deep respect and appreciation. There are strong cultural sanctions against wasting, abusing, hoarding or over-using resources. Foods, materials and medicines are all harvested carefully, with acknowledgement to the spiritual entity that provides them and makes them work for people.
In this presentation, I provide examples of relationships between people and plants in British Columbia, the area I know best. I first acknowledge the wisdom and knowledge of the many Aboriginal people who have shared information and experiences with me. Most of these are older people who, during their younger years, participated in many of the traditional harvesting practices, at a time when people still depended largely on wild plants and animals for their living. People still hunt and fish extensively, and some gather berries and use traditional herbal medicines, but these practices have diminished in recent years.
One of the best ways to demonstrate how people relate to their environment is through their stories and narratives. I present four narratives that illustrate peoples' relationship to the land. The first story is a Nlaka'pamax (Thompson) version of Old-One and the Creation of the Earth. In this story, the Creator fashions the Earth from the body of a woman. Her hair became the trees and grass; her flesh, the clay; her bones, the rocks; and her blood, the springs of water. People live on her, derive nourishment from her, and use all parts of her. The second story, is the Kwakwaka'wakw family story of my friend and colleague Daisy Sewid-Smith, about origins of The Sacred Cedarbark Ceremony, and how Daisy's ancestor was saved during the Great Flood and was taught how to honour the cedar tree. The third, a Hesquiaht Nuu-Chah-Nulth Story of the Three Yellow Cedar Sisters, tells how three women caused themselves to be turned into trees for their people to use. The forth is a Nuxalk (Bella Coola) story of a woman who learns respect for the berries she picks from the anthropomorphic forms of the berries themselves, the Blueberry Boys. There are many such stories that have long oral histories for First Peoples. I will discuss the contexts of these stories and their use to teach people the proper protocols and respect for the land and other lifeforms. Also relevant are the ways people address the plants and animals they use, and the careful ways they have of harvesting and processing these plants to ensure they are not over-used.
I also discuss other aspects of peoples' knowledge and use of plants and the environment, including practical strategies to use plant resources sustainably, ways of creating and maintaining certain habitats for optimal production of key resources, and traditional ways of communicating and exchanging knowledge and information about plants and the environment.
Language is an important component of such knowledge systems. Relevant to this discussion is the recent history of environmental degradation on both land and waters, coupled with a serious loss of peoples' cultures, languages and well-being that has occurred since the colonial period in Canadian history. Often, changes were made to the land and resources were over-exploited without any consultation with or understanding of the perspectives of the First Nations.
Aboriginal peoples have often been marginalized, and their rich knowledge systems ignored in planning and decision making. In British Columbia, over much of the traditional territories of the First Peoples, there were never any official settlements of peoples' rights to their lands.
First Peoples were established in small, often inadequate reserves, and were often prevented from using their traditional lands and resources. This has resulted in cultural and physical poverty for many First Peoples, and in a severe loss of traditional knowledge about plants and the environment.
Recently there have been several initiatives that attempt to rectify this situation, and today, First Nations are active participants in some aspects of government, industry and community land and resource planning and decision-making. More of their knowledge about plants and the environment is being disseminated and applied in education programs, park and protected area management, and in forestry, fisheries, tourism and other types of economic development. This trend of increasing respect for traditional knowledge will probably continue into the future.
Ecological Movement and Environmental Education:
Relating to Social Education in Korea.
Professor of Environmental Sociology, The Catholic University of Korea, Korea
1. Korea's Environmental Movements in 1990's
Korea's environmental movements have changed a great deal in 1990's as compared with those of the previous decade. Changes involve the constitution of participants, objectives and major targets of movements, strategies and tactics of struggle, and sources of mobilization for movements.
After the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, people's consciousness on environment has grown so much that environmental organizations began to expand their membership. Citizens in general, women, salaried white collar workers, professionals, and students are major sources for new membership. Radical students and dissents became minor part of the movements. Polluting companies and government had been major targets for environmentalists in 1980's, but environmental movement in 1990's tried to win supports from general public. Political democratization was one of the most important agenda in the previous decade for all civil movements in which environmental groups are included. But in 1990's, their targets varied very much into environment, women, education, urban poor and civil participation. Environmental groups now tend to pursue partnership, from time to time, with some business and government, as government attitudes since 1993 have changed to a great extent.
Among new trends of environmental movements in 1990s, I can identify two distinct characteristics: environmental education and ecological perspective.
2. Informal Environmental Education in Korea
Korean environmental groups began to stress their educational activities. They open ecological schools for children, organize ecological tours, and public lecturing programs, etc. There is no differentiation between environmental campaign and education for Korean environmental groups. Environmental educations are also instrumental for Korean environmental NGO to raise financial gains, and to expand their membership. While governments do not have significant programs of environmental education for general public, NGO' s educational activities should not be underestimated.
However, there are significant shortcomings in NGO' s educational activities. They lack in professionalism, facilities, tools, and financing. Staffs in charge of education should be properly trained, their educational materials standardized, educational system more institutionalized.
On the other hand, big mass media organizations, that is, newspaper and broadcasting companies, carried out massive campaign for environmental protection. They took up garbage problems, water pollution, forestation, recycling, and energy conservation. The impact of media campaign appeared to be impressive. These campaigns might contributed to enhancing environmental consciousness of people in 1990's. However, it is questionable whether these media campaign will have lasting effects or not, because mass media failed in organizing people into environmental action.
Through environmental movement, it is made clear that environmental education is an imperative to change people's attitude toward nature, human being and society. But such change in attitude will not be sufficient to preserve environment. In order to properly sustain environment for both present and future generation, it is ultimately necessary to change government policies and institutions. That is, environmental movement should pursue changes within people's mind, and on social and political structure as well.
3. Ecological Perspective in Environmental Movement
Korea's environmental movement had been more politically oriented in 1980's, because the political democratization is a prerequisite for environmental protection. All civil movement organizations including women, urban poor, unorganized labor movement, and education had strived for democratization, before it has changed their targets in 1990's. In Korean environmental movement, ecological perspectives were virtually non-existent in 1990's. Their anti-nuke movements were motivated from political reasons, rather than ecological ones.
Korean environmentalists took up the problem of wildlife, wetland, coastal reclamation, and whaling in 1990's. This is a new trend in Korean environmental movement. Environmental education was also heavily political in 1980's, but now it is more focused on ecological awareness.
4. Cooperation between Environmental Movement, Local Government and Mass Media
To carry out environmental education on the basis of ecological perspective, it is necessary for environmental movement to cooperate with local governments and mass media. Local government is a political locus where various interest groups interact each other to shape decision-making and institutions to affect the environmental protection.
From the experience of Kawasaki City, Japan, I learned it is very important to change local government structure in fundamentally order to make new bylaws. People's initiative and power are indispensable in changing industrial regime so as to mitigate environmental pollution. For this purpose, it is imperative for environmental NGO' s to fully mobilize resources from local government and mass media. Environmental education is aimed at opening people's new consciousness not simply on environment, but also on social, political, and economic structure which sustain an 'unsustainable world structure'.
Global Environment and Environmental Education
Adjunct Scholar, University of South Australia, Australia
The paper will consider the following -
* What is Global Education?
* How is Global Education in Australia addressed by
** government and private education systems?
** post-school institutions?
** government agencies other than education?
** non-government agencies?
* What is global mis-education?
* What are some important sources of global mis-education in Australia?
* How might Global Education in Australia become more effective?
2. What is Global Education?
In Australia this activity is usually considered to consist of at least five intersecting areas. Each
area concerns itself with assisting learners to develop their -
* awareness of ideas and information
* abilities to practice skills which enable them to further their awareness and to work
* motivations to use their awareness and abilities to improve situations and resolve problems
* experience of success in such improvements and resolutions.
The five areas, and the central issues with which they assist learners to appreciate and to improve
* Environmental education - problems caused by inappropriate ways in which humans manage
natural and human engineered environments.
* Development education - economic and socio-political disadvantages experienced by many of
the world's peoples.
* Multicultural education - prejudice and stereotyping which leads to the undervaluing of minority, or 'non-mainstream' groups. The area of Indigenous Studies is sometimes considered to be a sub-set of Multicultural Education; many first peoples maintain it warrants consideration in its own right as a sixth area
* Peace education - the use of violence in conflict resolution.
* Human rights education - denial of basic human rights to individuals and groups, again generally minority groups. An alternative view is that the more appropriate overall orientation is Development Education in which learners are assisted to develop themselves so that they seek to be actively involved in decreasing inequities resulting from abuses of power. Humans then learn to respect and nurture the rights of all other peoples, whatever their cultural background, and the rights of all the other entities, living and non-living, with which humans share the Earth. What is then approached is a global society in which humans are at peace with themselves, their fellow humans and the planet. Whether one prefers Global or Development Education as the title of the field of education enclosing the others is not the primary concern of this necessarily short paper. Instead I shall summarise ways in which the five areas are addressed in Australia. So the subtitle of the paper is really "The practice of Global/Development Education in Australia " because I consider Environmental Education (EE) to be a subset of either of these approaches.
3. How is Global Education (GE) addressed in Australia?
3.1 government and private educations systems
Nationally developed curriculum documents have been prepared for 8 key learning areas across levels of schooling from pre-school to senior high school years. Studies of Society & Environment (SOSE) is considered to be the major 'source' of GE, support coming particularly from Technology, Science and Health & Physical Education if one is talking about Environmental Education; the other 4 learning areas are English, The Arts, Languages other than English, Mathematics. This is an unsatisfactory model given that GE, like EE, is without doubt a cross-curricular activity dealing with real-life issues which are never properly addressed by a subject discipline approach. Examples will be provided of how SOSE is organised to promote the presentation and learning of GE and how integrated /thematic planning can also be used. Nationally derived documentation of curricula is, however, subject to State government control of schooling so that Global Education may be addressed in substantially different ways around Australia. National government has funded professional development (PD) programs for teachers; monies have been available to States and national organisations depending on their readiness set their PD within the frameworks of the nationally derived documents which were specifically not intended to be a national curriculum as was developed in Britain. Examples will be given of programs presented under this National Professional Development Program (NPDP). Schools operating within private systems, some religious and others humanist, are even less closely tied to the adherence to national government curriculum guidelines. Education departments, often in combination with other departments, support young people's expressing their views on youth environment forums; some examples will be described.
3.2 post-school institutions Universities and Technical/Vocational Colleges
contain some Centres/Departments offering courses or units at least in Development Studies or EE. Although several Australian universities are signatories to the Talloires Declaration binding them to developing environmentally responsible curricula and administration there are no post-school institutes of learning which have seriously embraced environmentally responsible behaviour, let alone institution-wide curricula and administration reflecting all of the five areas of GE. Perhaps most cause for concern is that few, if any, teacher education faculties have provided an explicit and substantial attention to GE or EE, either in individual units or in whole-course planning and delivery. Some Australian universities are at the forefront of socially critical approaches to EE, approaches which stress that effective Environmental and, by extension Global, Education only occurs when learners experience the fourth of the aspects of development mentioned early in the paper, that of success in improving situations and resolving problems.
3.3 government agencies other than education
There are national government departments, commissions or other agencies for each of the five areas of GE except Peace Education. State governments also maintain agencies with similar agendas. There will not be time to refer to all of these but, for example, the national Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade contributes significantly to Global Education through publicising of its foreign aid program, particularly in its funding of Global and Development Education Centres in several Australian capitals and in funding development and implementation of curriculum support materials for teachers. Its funding of the Overseas Service Bureau's Australian Volunteers Abroad program also contributes to GE especially in the explicit educational activities carried out by many returned volunteers and implicitly in the changed worldviews which they bring back to the communities and occupations they influence on their return. Environment Australia, the national department managing environmental issues provides conference and other support to the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) and other teacher organisations, and is collaborating with AAEE in the development of a national strategy for EE which we hope will be issued this year and will provide for a greater coherence to and recognition of the many EE programs across Australia. The National Heritage Trust funds environmental projects in Landcare and other programs, many of which are carried out by non-government agencies.
3.4 non-government agencies (NGOs) Australia hosts many
international organisations whose concerns are some part of GE including for example Amnesty International and Greenpeace. National organisations taking EE to communities, schools business and government include the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) ,The Wilderness Society and the Australian Association for Adult & Community Education (AAACE). ACF's campaigns join at least Environmental and Development Education and it was an important player in the emergence of Australia's National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) whose somewhat brief references to the need to infuse ESD perspectives - which are similar to Global/Development Education - into national education remain largely unheeded. AAACE has developed materials supporting study circles, an approach to community group consideration of environmental and other issues, including the difficult path towards reconciliation between Australia's first peoples and its present mainstream society. All of the five areas are the concern of ACFOA, the Australian Council for Overseas Aid, an organisation of about one hundred agencies with interests in part or all of GE. A major activity of ACFOA is lobbying national government for an increase in overseas aid either directly or through community and school education campaigns. Community Aid Abroad is one of ACFOA's member groups probably most widely recognised in Australia for its work in GE organising human rights campaigns, consumer action, aid programs and responsible trade and tourism activities. Several Australian 'think-tanks' or lobby groups exist; the Australia Institute is perhaps the most active in providing aspects of the kinds of GE defined in this paper. Teacher and other professional organisations and trade unions contribute to GE, although few in ways which suggest a sophisticated understanding of what becoming a globally educated society demands. Many NGOs call for Australians to continue - or begin - to develop profound changes in their relationships with themselves and their Earth companions if a sustainable world is to ensue; the field of GE at this point moves beyond informed activism to matters deeply philosophical and spiritual. These are not matters given much weight by interests to do with profit and so-called pragmatism and rationalism, or with the fears which have led to an exposure of the racism embedded in some sectors of the Australian psyche - as it is in most societies.
4. What are some sources of global mis-education in Australia?
I have used definitions of GE which identify its concern to assist learners to develop their abilities and action towards changes which will reduce the inequities experienced by many humans and most of the non-human entities of the Earth. Global mis-education works to oppose or hinder such developments in learners, or to suggest that inequities are fictitious or unimportant. Something of the roles of mass media, business-supported think-tanks and Australian governments in promoting this discounting of the violence humans do to themselves and others, humans and non-humans, will be discussed
5. How might GE in Australia become more effective?
The paper will conclude with suggestions about ways which might make GE a more effective agent for positive social change.
The Development of Environmental Education in Japan
Professor of Osaka Kyoiku University, Japan
1. Japanese Environmental Education started from
the Pollution Education (kogai kyoiku) and Conservation of Nature
Japanese cleverly combined their own culture that derived from old customs in Japan and the western culture that consists of science and technology. This hybrid culture between original and western has modernized our life since the Meiji Restoration. However, we have destroyed our environment that is the base of our life in this culture. The result of it, this hybrid culture has brought about environmental pollution, that is "Kogai." With this situation, the beautiful nature of Japan is losing. Then, the pollution education and conservation education became necessary.
The pollution education is the prototype of Environmental Education. It started from the 1960¹s. On the one hand, the teachers who lived in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Yokkaichi and Minamata where pollution occurred, struggled to develop a campaign of pollution education. On the other hand, the government established the Environmental Pollution Control Law (kogai taisaku kihonhou) in 1967. At the same time, teachers began to study about pollution and they started research groups of pollution control (zenkoku shochyugakkou kogai taisaku kenkyukai). The issue of pollution was discussed many times in the Diet. At this time, the needs of education for environment was pointed out by the Diet members. Generally speaking, however, the opinion only tended to put blame on industry for their pollutions. Wherefore, pollution education had been called a one-sided education. That is why pollution education was not widely accepted by Japanese people.
The association of Japan Conservation of Nature (shizenhogo kyokai) pointed out the needs of conservation education (shizenhogo kyoiku) in 1957. This association presented the Ministry of Education Culture and Science (MECS) with the "statement of conservation education (shizenhogo kyoiku ni kansuru chinjyutu)". Then, the liaison committee of study into conservation of nature (shizenhogo kenkyu renraku iinkai) was organized by the Science Council of Japan. The Science Council of Japan was putting a effort into conservation education as well as the conservation of nature. But they were insufficient. So the Japan Society of biology education (nihon seibutsukyoiku gakkai) presented the "statement of the requirements of conservation education (shizenhogo kyoiku ni kansuru yobosyo)" to the Science Council of Japan.
2. The Environment Agency worked hard in promoting the Environmental Studies in the
The Environment Agency was struggling to develop environmental studies, for encouraging the citizens to reform the environmental awareness, with the existence of environmental problems. Environmental studies was promoted to the local self-governing body in accordance with the report of the round-table conference of Environmental Education (kankyou kyouiku kondankai) which was established in 1986. The administration of environment at each local self-governing body resolved upon the basic policy of Environmental Education, and conducted the activity of environmental studies in each region. In 1989, Osaka Prefecture organized the committee for investigating Environmental Education (kankyou kyouiku kihon houshin kentou iinkai) at the beginning of Japanese Environmental Education. I was also involved in this committee. In addition, Osaka Pref. investigated the way of environmental studies at the local society, school and family. Especially, Osaka Pref. made up the manual on Environmental Education for the school. It was paid attention by other local self-governing bodies.
The Environment Agency recognized the necessity of the partnership which cooperated with industry, the schools and the government. Therefore, the Environment Agency put forward the special events that is called "festival of Environmental Education (kankyou kyouiku fea)" every year, with the local self-governing body. And the Environment Agency organized a club of Environmental Education for children that is called "Kodomo Eco Club" by the administrative divisions and municipalities from 1995. This club helps children to study and act for local environmental education, and to enrich the regionalism.
The Environmental Pollution Control Law was shifted to the Basic Environmental Law in 1993. This law and the local self-governing body's basic environmental plan (kankyou kihon keikaku) specified the need for the Environmental Education. It is very important for the development of Environmental Education in the future.
3. The prevailing Environmental Education at school and local areas
Shiga Pref. had handled the Environmental Education in schools besides pollution education since the early 1970's, because there was the water pollution in Biwa-lake. The Environmental Education at schools is expanded to Japanese people from the end of the 1980's to the 1990's, by calling MECS. It is supported by the Environmental Agency from 1989. The Environmental Education manual was compiled by the MECS for high schools and junior high schools, and for elementary school in 1991. Then, they were handed out. Therefore, all Board of Education in Japan opened the meeting about Environmental Education and worked hard in promoting it. The MECS as well as the Environmental Agency conducted the symposium of Environmental Education nation wide.
The policy of the MECS do not set up specific subjects for only Environmental Education in the curriculum at the educational facilities. Teachers teach their students on Environment through each subjects in an interdisciplinary way. "The class for interdisciplinary studies (sogo gakusyu no jikan)" will be conducted on environment at the next revision on "educational" curriculum by the MECS. It is meaningful but it might raise new problems for Environmental Education, for the Education would be limited by studies.
The class about environmental issue at the University was started from the 1970's. I have the classes entitled the "Studies of Human Environment (ningen kankyou ron)" at University. The Environmental Education is now in widespread study all over the college and some universities, for example Konan University.
Environmental Education or Environmental Studies in Japan have been put into effect not only by the administration by the Government and educational facilities but also by consumers' cooperatives, NGO, for example, consumer organizations and conservation groups and so on. The consumers' cooperative gives guidance to profit environmental pollution by the detergent, the problems of food by food additives and how to dispose of rubbish. The conservation group has conducted not only observation of nature but also study of the philosophy of nature and our lifestyle.
4. We have to discuss Scientific Civilization
Environmental Education is the activity of study that considers our lifestyle. The lifestyle will be better when it is originated at the region and climate. Japanese had the lifestyle that was good for living in, before science civilization was imputed from Europe. We have to recover our original condition in Japan by Environmental Education. Indeed, we get the pleasant and convenient life by science and technology. However, our lifestyle spends a lot of energy and resources. Besides, science and technology give rise to so many environmental destruction in Japan. Does the western culture fit our lifestyle? How do we make our own culture? What kinds of "hybrid culture" do we make, by utilizing the western culture? So as to clarify of Environmental Education, it is necessary for Japanese to make a synthesis of climates, lifestyle, culture of other countries with those of our own. Through these studies it is possible for people to learn how culture and civilization could be in the future.
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