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Department of Global Ecology

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Global Environmental Policy

USAMI Makoto, Professor

In the laboratory of Global Environmental Policy, we explore normative and positive questions concerning environmental problems and policies on local, national, regional, and global scales. On one hand, foundational topics are studied from the perspectives of legal and political philosophy. One group of these topics concerns issues in global justice, one of which is the question of what principle should be adopted in distributing the benefits and burdens of climate change policy among individuals or states across the world. Another group has to do with issues in intergenerational justice, notably the question of what are grounds for the obligation that the present generation might have toward future people.

On the other hand, we also conduct empirical research on international environmental law, environmental policy and its processes at national and local levels, and conservationrelated activities by NGOs, businesses, and citizens. We explore these topics by using both qualitative case study methods and quantitative statistical techniques.

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Environmental Economics

TAKEUCHI Kenji, Professor

The main cause of environmental issues is the economic activity of human beings. Therefore, it is critical to understand the principles of firms’ and households’ behavior when tackling the issues and proposing effective interventions. Our laboratory frames environmental issues from an economic perspective and considers how to design better policies.

【1】The Environment and Development
Is it possible to protect the environment while achieving economic development? This entails a fundamental inquiry that must be answered in order to attain sustainable development. Our laboratory addresses this topic by using field surveys and econometric analysis of micro-level data.

【2】Economics of Waste
Market goods are produced, consumed, and eventually disposed of into the environment. Economics mainly focuses on the production and consumption stages and pays less attention to the disposal stage. Can economic instruments help to reduce waste and promote recycling? To answer this question, painstaking data collection and sophisticated causal inference are indispensable.

【3】Valuing the Environment
The value of the environment is often omitted in the market economy. The question then arises if it even possible to evaluate the environment in monetary terms. Our laboratory employs stated preference and revealed preference approaches to tackle this conundrum.

Global Ecological Economics

MORI Akihisa, Associate Professor

The 30 years of developments in environmental economics and policy studies proves it indispensable to step into the research on sustainability transition of a socio-economic-technical system, which goes beyond the analysis of individual policy instruments and technical measure. To achieve sustainability transition, however, we have to overcome mutually reinforcing physical, economic, and social constraints, or infrastructural and technological, institutional, and behavioral lock-ins.

Against this backgro und, we Global Ecological Economics Group are making e conomic analysis of sustainability transition, taking cases of transitions toward sustainable energy, transport, agriculture and city around the world. We are exploring enabling factors and tipping points of the changes in the pathway from unsustainable toward sustainable one, by employing specific analytical frameworks in sustainability transitions research such as multi-level perspectives, and co-evolution between novelty and socio-technical regime for qualitative analysis, and econometric and simulation for quantitative analysis. We are paying attention to the role of divestment and green finance as well.

Global Ecological Economics Group is also making analysis of China’s Belt and Road Initiative from environmental, energy, and economic point of view, given its critical impacts on sustainability transitions in the Global South.

The Global Ecological Economics is also joining in the Research Unit for Development of Global Sustainability of Kyoto University (http://rurss.iae.kyoto-u.ac.jp/rurssen/index.html  )

Sustainable Rural Development

HOSHINO Satoshi, Professor
ONITSUKA Kenichiro, Associate Professor
SIANIPAR Corinthias Pamatang Morgana, Program-Specific Assistant Professor
HIGASHIGUCHI Akiko, Assistant Professor

Rural sustainability (RS) was traditionally maintained by preserving harmony within a geographically limited frame. This type of harmony was maintained by five components, as shown in the figure on the right. Because all of these components are associated with regional characteristics, rural sustainability also involves characteristics that are unique to each region.

In recent years, however, the declining and aging population, economic globalization, climate change and excessive human-induced development have brought about changes in those five components. As a result, rural regions are now facing various challenges and this, in turn, is significantly impairing rural sustainability.

Working from a rural planning perspective, the Laboratory of Sustainable Rural Development is designing and evaluating measures and policies in an attempt to offer solutions to these challenges and to rebuild region-specific rural sustainability that can extend into the future. Our research concerns cover a wide range of topics including regional resource management by way of knowledge management, restoration of social capital (SC) and regional revitalization, symbiosis between residential environments and wildlife, regional development through regional informatization, the establishment of resident-led community planning theory, and proposals on how to carry out regional realignment and social infrastructure development in a society with a declining population.

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Water Environment Conservation

FUJIWARA Taku, Professor
NOMURA Youhei, Assistant Professor
KAWAGUCHI Kohei, Program Specific Assistant Professor

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Historical Geography and Culture

YAMAMURA Aki, Professor
TOKUNAGA Yu, Associate Professor

This laboratory will help students to approach the causes and structure of contemporary culture and socioenvironmental issues from the perspectives of history and geography. Students will learn the historical-geographical methods to deal with local problems and to find environmental values or potential attractions within the local spaces.

On the one hand, many people have come to abandon those traditional lifestyles and means of livelihood that had roots in local natural environment. On the other hand, they increasingly connect with others residing in distant places, including different countries. As this global transaction of items and people accelerates for each country to become interconnected, it appears that each region loses its individuality and culture and society get more and more uniform. However, the cultural landscapes, exchanges, ideas, social relationships which constructed through the interaction between human and nature in the long history functions strongly even in the contemporary local spaces, as. We have to learn the ‘cross’ regional structure as well as the the vertical spatial-social structure which include the local historical geography and culture to understand the contemporary culture and socioenvironmental issues essencially within the local spaces.

This laboratory will explorer the local spatial-social structure analyzing the historical documents, old maps, cultural landscapes and heritages, and consider the perspectives and methods approaching to the contemporary issues.

Environmental Marketing Management

YOSHINO Akira, Associate Professor

To achieve a more sustainable society beyond “negative externality” problems, all members of society must internalize the value of harmonizing with the environment. Can enterprises cover the costs with the returns from their pro-environmental activities? Is there a high probability that they can gain the support of consumers? We are addressing the following themes mainly on the Japanese market:

  • Corporate market strategy based on pro-environmental activities: differentiation strategy, defensive strategy, and brand strategy beyond CSR
  • Environmental communication between corporation and consumer: environmental labels, environment management system certification, and environmental risk communication
  • Consumers’ perceptions and behavior in relation to environmental issues: consumer segmentation, analysis of consumer behavior
  • Pro-environmental agriculture: activities and management, market analysis, and consumer behavior
  • Food risk communication: theories, analysis of consumers’ risk perception and risk-averse behavior, and evaluation of food safety policies

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History of Art and Culture

TAKASHINA Erika, Professor

The purpose of this research field is to gain a better understanding of the various aspects associated with the creation and reception of art works in a historical context, focusing on the modern era in Japan, and to attempt to clarify the historical significance of artworks and their relationship with the inner lives of individuals and society.

Our aims are:
(1) To examine the relationship between the influence of tradition and other cultures on the process of creating works of art and plastic expression, for example, the problems of coexistence, fusion, and conflict between Western aesthetic values and Japanese aesthetic consciousness.
(2) To clarify how art has attempted to express nature and society in the modern world, in terms of historical tradition and its innovation.
(3) To investigate how art has been accepted in the social environment.

In modern Japan, where the social and natural environment surrounding human beings has changed drastically, not only the works of art themselves but also the places where they are received have had to change as well. Each work of art inherits the tradition of art, and in the midst of changing times and changing trends in society, it sometimes acquires an unexpected and innovative expression, affecting both society and individuals. We believe that it is important to listen to the voices of the artworks and clarify their historical position and meaning in order to pass on their full value and significance to future generations.

Environmental Education

TRENCHER Gregory , Associate Professor
BAARS Roger C., Senior Lecturer
ANDO Yuta, Program-Specific Assistant Professor

Research and educational activities in this laboratory are broadly subsumed under three themes: 1. education and approaches for material cycles and sustainable community, 2. governance of energy and sustainability transitions, and 3. climate change and disaster preparedness.

One research focus of the lab is on material cycles and sustainable community system approaches, with emphasis on municipal solid waste (MSW) including food loss and plastic waste, disaster waste, and sustainability (toward SDGs) awareness and behavior. Research and education are carried out in Kyoto and other local communities, on campus, and in developing nations in the Asia, Pacific, Africa and other regions.

Research on the governance of energy and sustainability transitions focuses on examining how different governance strategies like public policy, laws, industry rules and business models can accelerate the production and diffusion of clean technologies and the transition towards a sustainable society. The principal approach is to combine data-driven, empirical research with theoretical frameworks inspired by different fields such as public policy, sustainability transitions, innovation management, political science, economics and human geography.

The third research focus of the lab is on climate change adaptation as well as disaster preparedness and resilience. Work in this area includes projects on climate change education and adaptation, new approaches to sustainable lifestyles, social transformation, and behavior change, as well as disaster preparedness and resilience. Projects mainly focus on fieldwork in Japan, Europe, and the South Pacific (including Australia and NZ).