Aims of the workshop on environmental education are to discuss, develop and spread education tools and methods based on LCT（Life Cycle Thinking）, because the concept of LCT is thought to be useful for changing consumers’ life styles toward sustainable society. Since the workshop inaugurated 7 years ago, members of the workshop have presented their own products of LCT educational tools and method in not only special meetings of the Institute of Life Cycle Assessment, Japan, but also in other education societies for enlightenment of the concept of LCT. Concerning the environmental impact brought by daily life, some members have made trial teaching based on LCT in elementary school, junior high school, high school, consumer parties, and so on. Exhibition so called “Eco-Products”, known as one of the largest scale exhibitions in Japan has been utilized as another promotional opportunity of LCT. Their lively and various activities are summarized in this report. As the latest activity, the Workshop attempts to distribute information utilizing an LCA point of view for environmentally better choice in daily life, since some information distributing to consumers are not appropriate to evaluate environmental impact.
This report is a survey of practices and resources employed to teach home economics in school lessons related to lifestyle and environment, as well as “Life Cycle Thinking（LCT）”. In home economics education, the area of “consumption and environment” is established as main content in the course of study. The aim of such education is to foster students who imbibe the knowledge and skills of their own lifestyle and behavior to resolve environmental issues. Since the 1980’s, there have been advanced class lessons on consumption and environment. Recently, despite the emphasis of consumption and environment education, this area is not gained popularity, because of reduced class hours and many other reasons. I propose that students learn about environmental issues with LCT, which is a method that considers the environmental impact of products and services during all their life cycle stages. From now on, I hope that class lessons that are based LCT will become popular, and in addition, be adopted in teachers’ training programs.
Objective. This paper examines the process of designing and implementing, as well as the impact of, an environmental education program based on Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) in an elementary school. The program of LCT-based materials and methods for the elementary school was developed and implemented over four years, started in 2010. The program then designed lessons and instructional materials on green wall cultivation using a rainwater harvesting system in the fifth year. In this final year, a questionnaire study on rainwater, green wall cultivation, and LCT was conducted for both the implementation group (N=58) and the control group (N=316) to assess the effects of the program. A questionnaire study was also conducted on the critical thinking aptitude of the implementation group only, before, during, and after implementation, and at follow-up. Results and Discussion. The implementation of the environmental education program started in 2010, when a rainwater harvesting system was also installed at the elementary school. In 2011, lessons in environmental education were introduced for the students, who started to cultivate the green wall and to attend lessons based on LCT in 2012. By the final year, 2014, the lessons included worksheets to calculate the amount of CO2 discharged by using the rainwater harvesting system to cultivate the green wall, as well as group discussions about better ways to reduce the environmental load of this system. The results of the questionnaire studies completed in 2014 demonstrated that the implementation group had a significantly higher level of interest, willingness, and knowledge and understanding of rainwater, the green wall, and LCT than the control group. However, it did not demonstrate the expected effect of enhancing their aptitude for critical thinking. Conclusions. Two conclusions could be drawn from these findings. First, it is important to garner students’ interest and willingness towards familiar environmental topics from the outset to enhance their knowledge and understanding of LCT. Second, students should acquire an aptitude for critical thinking through learning and understanding LCT. As the results showed aptitude for critical thinking not to be enhanced, future studies should develop instructional methods and materials that will improve critical thinking, and consider measurement tools to assess the effects of understanding LCT.
We created a self-directed e-learning program for high school environmental education. The learners are expected to understand their indirect contribution to environmental problems such as global warming or energy consumption through this program. Life cycle thinking (LCT) is a key concept to link learners’ daily activities to the environmental problems. The advantage of e-learning is that it makes possible to provide schools with an opportunity of environmental education without much extra preparation required for school teachers. This feature of e-learning is especially important for LCT based education, because the concept of LCT is usually unknown by most of school teachers. The program created is composed of two parts. In the first part, learners study the LCT concept using visual materials that describe the life cycle environmental impacts of pro-environmental behaviors, such as local production for local consumption and reuse tableware. In the second part, learners calculate the life cycle energy of their own belongings using the dedicated LCA software named ‘Energy Consumption in Your Bag?!’. These learning materials can be down-loaded from the website prepared for the e-learning. Approximately 500 high-school third graders studied using this self-directed e-learning program, individually during the summer break. Their teachers’ role was to provide students with the follow-up quizzes to confirm what they had learned. The result of the self-assessment survey conducted after the e-learning showed that more than half of the learners became concerned about LCA. Moreover, there was the tendency that their concern to environmental problems was higher than that of the previous third graders in the same school. Furthermore, we analyzed the learners’ impression statements written after the e-learning, and found that the learners who began to be concerned about LCA tended to describe more about their daily lives in their impression statements than those who were not or less interested in LCA did.
Our group developed a new teaching material for life-cycle-thinking-based environmental education which is applicable to coursework in science in Japanese schools. This material was prepared as a part of the program for environmental education based on mobile phone technologies. The main subject of the present material is a battery including its social as well as technological issues in terms of its life cycle. Some of the assigned teaching topics were also designed to correspond to the teaching topics indicated in the curriculum guideline for coursework in science in Japanese junior high schools and high schools established by the Japanese government. This dual structure was considered to encourage a science teacher to apply the present material in usual science classes in addition to a special class with respect to the environment. The present material includes both a lecture-based part and group working. The lecture-based part was composed of five sections along with two educational objectives; the acquisition of fundamental knowledge of batteries and the recognition of the environmental impact of batteries’ use based on their life cycle. In the group working, the students will consider a better way in batteries’ use in their daily lives for considering a sustainable future on the basis of what they have learned in the lecture-based part. We also prepared a guideline for teachers to help their application of the present teaching material in usual science classes.
Objective. Power and industry systems include Printed Circuit Board（PCB）and Main Power Component（MPC）such as power semiconductor device. The researcher of Life Cycle Inventory（LCI）often faces the difficulty in collection of the required data for PCB which is comprised of a large number of parts and MPC of special specification. To response this problem, JEMA LCA-WG for power and industry system（JEMA-WG）calculated the GHG and CO2 emission of a power inverter unit which include PCB and MPC based on the JEM-TR 243 “Life cycle CO2 emission assessment guidelines for power and industrial systems” by using the methodology of JEITA, the database of “Life Cycle Assessment Society of Japan（JLCA）”, and the LCI database（3EID）of Economic Input-Output Tables by National Institute for Environmental Studies. JEMA-WG also showed the GHG and CO2 emission factor of PCB for power and industry systems from the LCI analysis of 6 PCBs of power inverter unit and plant control system.
Results and Discussion. From the results of LCI of power inverter unit, it is clear that PCB and MPC have high sensitivity of GHG and CO2 emission. On the other hand, the impact of the PCB assembling process could be neglected. In the PCB which include active component, the GHG and CO2 emission factor of PCB is 185g-CO2eq/g and 150g-CO2/g. In the PCB which include passive component, the GHG and CO2 emission factor of PCB is 30g-CO2eq/g and 25g-CO2/g. JEMA-WG also indicates the formula to calculate the GHG and CO2 emission factor by the layer number of PCB which include active component as a reference information.
Conclusions. JEMA-WG showed the necessity of the analysis of PCB and MPC of power and industry systems. The CO2 emission factors of PCB were shown as helpful information for LCI researcher.
Purpose. An organization has to consider the influence from an environmental change, such as climate change, to its business activities. Life cycle assessment（LCA）evaluates an impact to the environment; however, there is no LCA method to evaluate an impact from the environment. This study aims to develop a method for evaluating a relative potential impact from climate change to a product system using an LCA framework, and to support adaptation planning.
Methods. This paper proposes LCA framework adaptation planning（LCA-AP）that can be applied to climate change. First, it identifies environmental drivers induced by climate change and that impact human health and social assets. Second, an elementary flow from each environmental driver with potential impacts, such as freshwater use, is identified. Third, an activity requiring a large amount of the elementary flow is identified. The identified activity is a hotspot potentially impacted by climate change, and possible improvements are considered. LCA-AP is demonstrated by a case study of printing paper production.
Results and discussion. The current life cycle impact assessment methods, such as water footprints and land use, evaluate impacts to the environment. In contrast, LCA-AP evaluates an impact from the environment, and the environmental mechanism is different. In LCA-AP, a practitioner has to calculate the impact for each country, and has to do the same for the water footprint method. After hotspots are identified, the next step is to scrutinize an actual risk of climate change to a company’s own product supply chain. Collaboration with a business partner may identify a risk and its countermeasure.
Conclusions and recommendation. Application of LCA-AP to climate change was proposed and its effectiveness demonstrated through a case study. LCA-AP evaluates a relative potential impact from climate change to a product system in an LCA framework at the product design stage. Existing LCA databases and software can be used to implement LCA-AP. The author recommends expanding the method to other environmental impact categories and developing a way to prioritize impact categories through damage assessment and weighting.