Understanding environment through culture, UEHIRO×WASEDA Seminar series

Nature and Culture final report – Aino Owada

Nature and Culture – Final Report Aino Owada   No one would disagree with the concept of sustainable life to keep our commons with ecological ethics. There is, however, a large gap between ideal concepts and behaviors in reality – as Greta Thunberg actively warns against inaction on the climate crisis.   The final symposium held on January 24th made us think deeply about it – how to encourage people to be responsible for the environmental issue on a daily basis. 20 students with diverse backgrounds joined the workshop and had a fishbowl discussion to enclose the class.   Through the symposium, I learned the importance of NOTICING the fact […]

Final Report (Hannah Choi)


Final Report

View from Ofuna Station Throughout this course of “Understanding the Environment through Culture, Field Study of Sustainable Design  01” we got to learn a lot about the environment, especially about the commons and how we can improve the management system to protect the commons from being over-exploited and degraded. In the class, we spent most of our time exchanging our ideas on sustainability and working on how to achieve a balance between nature and our everyday life, or in other words, how to enjoy the convenience in our life while still enhancing nature and preserving it. Besides, we also learned about other concepts like SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and carbon […]

Final Report (Nanako Terada)

On our first day of class, we were assigned to draw our own “ideal sustainable chair”. This exercise seemed simple at first, but as I contemplated on this, it actually turned out to be more difficult than I had expected. What are the definitions for sustainability? Do we have to consider not only human species but also other living creatures to attain a sustainable environment? In the end, I decided to draw a chair that would help slow down global warming. However, now coming to the end of the course, I realized that attaining a sustainable society is of course not all about global warming. There are various aspects with […]

Final report (Kanako Noro)

“Well, I need to do something right for our future, immediately.”  This was my first expression after seeing an exhibition about plastic pollutions in United Nations, NY. Nowadays Everybody talks about how serious plastic problem is, and I thought I knew it well. However, the reality was beyond what I expected, and I was just overwhelmed. At the same time, I was scary that these issues keep going and become much bigger while I’m having a lunch with my friends and taking a nap in a class. “We cannot ignore what is happening in our planet, and each of us must make some actions.” This vague but strong awareness let […]

Final Report (Bea Po)

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 […]

Final report (Yuka)

Symposium We had a symposium with the theme of “common” on the last class. My group “grassroots” discussed the topic of the grassroots movements for young generation. We picked up Scotts Miracle-Gro, a foundation that provides green places and garden for children. According to NSR newswire, “Today’s youth spend less time outdoors than any other generation.” This situation gives rise to children’s social, mental and physical health problems. SMG foundation emphasis on supporting community-driven garden and green space projects that directly engage youth in order to deal with these problems. It is said that outdoor playing and gardening leads increased consumption of vegetables, increased emotional well-being and better academic performance. […]

Final Report (Miyu Asai)

Grassroots Activity At the symposium on the last day of the class, my group’s topic was “grassroots”. Speaking of the grassroots movement, I remember that I did it when I was in elementary school. My school took some classes for picking up garbages on the street. Though I was too young and had no idea about grassroots movement, I just knew that no one should thorough garbages on the street, I think that it was an important activity to let children like me think where garbages should go. The first time I realized my interest in social problems, especially in environmental issues such as waste, was when I was in […]

Final Report (yushi)

    I believe in order to reach the solution and achieve the commons, media should play a vital role. The lack of understanding/interests for environmental crisis is mainly led by the lack of portrayal in the media. Instead of talking about wildfire in Australia, Japanese media would talk about the actor would had affairs or the actress who had been arrested for the drug use. They will talk about the wildfire for a minute, then shift the story and talk about cute dogs in order to gain high ratings. People do not like to hear detrimental truth, and people like to hear/see what they want to hear/see.   This […]

Final Report

Nature and culture final essay Out of all the courses I took this semester, “Understanding environment through culture, field study of sustainable design” course was definitely an exception since my area of studies are more related to mathematical subjects. As a civil and environmental engineering student, I recall this one lecture I had from my first year in college quite vividly. It was an introductory course about civil engineering and one of the guest lecturers asked us what kind of qualities we should have in order to become a good civil engineer. Since he gave us multiple answers to choose from, majority of the class went with the obvious and […]

Final report (Chan C.)

Symposium The topic of my group at the symposium was “grassroots”. By grassroots, we mean our relationships with nature, especially that of children. The goal of our presentation was to analyze the current problems of grassroot awareness and to suggest what should be done to have a better future.   Reflections on our relations with nature One of the current problems we highlighted was that nowadays children spend less time in nature than previous generations. In our presentation I asked the audience when was their last time hugging a tree. For me, my first time hugging a tree was around 5-year-old during a family trip. Then, I have not hugged […]

Final report 2019-2020 (Nicolas Belleville)

Introduction This report aims to provide a summary on the lessons learned during class and fieldwork from a student’s perspective, and share perspectives on how ecological ethics can contribute to society. In my academic experience, this is the first time I benefit of a class focusing of empowering students while offering them the possibility to connect with each other, instead of setting demanding objectives to prove compliance to the course syllabus. My general experience of Waseda courses showed me the importance of letting students be creative. In contrast to my experience in Switzerland where most classes grade very strictly defined reports, presentations and classes, the Japanese style education I went […]

Final Report (JeongHoon Lee)

  Mālama ʻĀina is the traditional concept and commons in Hawai’i which means to take care and nurture the land with love so that the ʻāina (land) will return all the things we need in order to live and sustain for all future generations. It is the traditional concept of the native Hawaiian language (ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi) of a spiritual and physical relationship and the bond between the man and to cherish the spirit of the ʻāina (land). For native Hawaiians, sustainability is part of their lifestyle. Natural resources in Hawai’i are produced with the sole purpose of using it responsibly and preserve it for future generations for a sustainable future. […]

Final Report(Kosuke Nagano)

Outcome of the symposium On 4th January, we had a symposium about “commons.” Speakers sat in a small circle and audiences gathered around. Regardless of you are presenter or audience, you can get a microphone and give your opinion towards presenters’ topic. We had three groups, grassroots for children, policy, and spirit. Each group picked up one article happened in 2020 and predict the future situation in 2030 related to the article. My group named grassroots for children focused on grassroots movements for environmental issues and sustainable life. Since grassroots movement is a bottom-up movement and implicate us an image of plants growing from a sprout to lush greenery, we […]

Final report (Van Anh)

The OECD defines ecological ethics as moral principles governing the human attitude towards the environment, and rules of conduct for environmental care and preservation.


Commons There are different ways of thinking about commons. We can think of the ideas of Garrett Hardin (1968) wherein commons are in a constant tragedy because of the greediness of humans. Humans only think about themselves and will therefore not act in a way that is best for the community (ibid.). An example of this could be overfishing, too much woodcutting or air pollution (ibid.). Or we can sympathize more with the words of Elinor Ostrom et al. (1999). She argues that humans can and will act in the good of the community regarding commons (ibid.). Here humans are capable of self-managing commons and can act in a matter […]

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 […]