Understanding environment through culture, UEHIRO×WASEDA Seminar series

Final Report Fall 2019 (Lim Sze Lynn)

Symposium (Jan 24) outcome

  On the last day of class, we did a fish-bowled styled symposium with the theme of “commons” where 3 groups were formed and took turns to be in the centre to present their ideas. The 3 groups, with teams named spirit, grassroots, and policy, talked about commons and the different ways of dealing with environmental issues from different perspectives, focusing on specific recent articles in 2020. 

  My group “spirit” discussed the topic of the recent wildfire that happened in Australia. We related the problem with a similar phenomenon that happened in California, which was unfortunately caused by man (power company). In 10 years, we predict that in a positive way, people will be more aware and conscious about how our behaviours can not only destroy nature but also to ourselves. Therefore, we came up with solutions related to philosophy- in which people have to change their behaviours from the inside out, and with the help of education, we might be able to teach the future generation more about the importance of nature and the problems that we face today. We also came up with an SDG+1, think and act as a cosmopolitan- which means everyone should come together as one in the spirit of a team, in order to tackle any issues faced. On the other hand, predicting in a negative way, the problems will not be solved and continue the way it is, as some people think that nature, also known as the “commons” is not in our control, believe that climate change is a course of nature and no matter what humans do, global warming will still continue. With this selfish mindset of not cooperating and taking Mother Earth for granted, we humans will be the ones who suffer mosts. 

  In conclusion, after listening and taking part in other groups’ discussions, the outcome was that there were definitely many ways to look at environmental issues and many ways to deal with the problems that human race faces now. While the goal is to spread the knowledge of sharing the commons and the importance of commons, saying is easy but doing is essential. With great policies, strategically education and good spirit, I don’t see why it is that hard to protect our nature. 

Ecological ethic

  Ecological ethics is the way of thinking, what actions we do regarding the environment is right and which is wrong. It outlines our moral obligations of the concerns that we face linking to nature. What are the duties that humans have for the environment, and why? (Cochrane, n.d) Well, in a nutshell, I personally think that just us being human beings, one of the most intelligent beings, born in the surface of Earth, makes us the biggest responsibility to give back to the Earth. It shouldn’t be an issue, because it could be common sense. We could have treated nature just like how we would treat our family, siblings, or friends. However, it can be said that people don’t ignore ecological ethics on purpose, but just the fact that people are taking the Earth’s resources for granted, and unaware that our behaviours, ironically in the surface hugely contributed to humankind which we should be thankful of, but in the meantime, we have sacrificed the environment and many would not even think twice that humans are wrong. Nevertheless, I think that sustainability will continue to be a serious problem that many people still have no idea why they should contribute to. Thank you to social media, we are able to be exposed to more information about sustainability and environmental complications. Whether it is a trend online or a threat to real life, as long as people are learning more about nature from receiving data in their daily lives, I am positive that chances of people contributing to Earth, even just a little step, can increase gradually. 


  Over the course of the past 15 classes, I have learnt many new things regarding the environment, nature, culture, and relationships. Through lectures in classes and talks given by guest speakers, I learnt the fundamentals about environmental crisis around the world, and how organizations, especially in Japan, are tackling the problems. To really understand the themes of the course and seeing what our professor is doing in her academic careers, we were able to visit Takahata, a satoyama consisting of local agricultures supported by a system called “Teikei”- which connects farmers to consumers organically. Not only did we get to experience how to do organic agriculture, but we also get to enjoy the beauty of the countryside, as well as the delicious food and drinks all provided by the farmers who grew them. The trip made me appreciate “farm to table” more, since it is so hard to find in anywhere else, especially in the big city. I also grew more interest in sustainability, making me more aware of what I consume in my daily life. Lastly, since our class consists of both Japanese and foreign students, we also got to bond really quickly through the fieldworks. Overall through this class, I personally think that I created a good relationship with my classmates and professor, and most importantly I found the best relationship with nature that I want to keep forever. 


Cochrane, A. (n.d.). Environmental Ethics. Retrieved from


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