Understanding environment through culture, UEHIRO×WASEDA Seminar series

Final Report (Bea Po)

My overall reflection on the Fall 2019 class

One of the most memorable moments about this class was definitely the field trip to Takahata. In Takahata, my group and I were assigned with one of the farmers. Our assignment was to first, harvest the onion leek, and then pack them altogether into bundles. Secondly, we had to clean the carrots and other vegetables to be ready for packaging again. It was interesting to see how local farmers whom stick to their value of organic farming, live. I also have a whole new appreciation towards Japanese farmers because of all the labor they do, and additionally, the amount of commitment and passion they put into their work. It was especially sad however, seeing the Apple Tree farm being infected with a disease that made the apples look unappetizing, which the farmers knew would not sell at all to the public. Although unappealing, they still tasted delicious.

Many countries are trying to support organic farming and agriculture through collective farming. Collective farming is the act in which a community is brought together to engage in collective work for maintaining common resources or social common capitals. During class, we were able to discuss this in depth with our classmates and through lectures.

Although I was unable to be present in the Jan 24 class due to a personal problem, I was able to think of a solution to improve how humans interact with the environment. Philosophically, I found a philosopher named Arne Naess who proposed a theory of Deep Ecology. Deep Ecology is where humans change their relationship to nature. Values will be based on prioritizing nature solely. Humans have to understand and recognize nature of importance. However this is very difficult because values are embedded since birth and it is difficult to bring people of different backgrounds together. But I believe this can be spread out more through education, for example, climate change education.

Overall, this class was able to make me consider environmental problems more, and truly analyze present environmental problems today. I was able to construct well-justified opinions on nature and so on. I definitely would recommend this class to people, especially because of the amazing hands-on experience that comes with it.

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