First, some of the problems relating to the environmental education usually performed at recycling and waste treatment facilities are pointed out. Learning about the significance and need for waste treatment in the history of waste disposal is important. In environmental education aimed at creating a recycling-oriented society, it is necessary to clearly elucidate on the load of energy and resources generated due to waste. After the significance of waste reduction is fully understood, some programs can be proposed in order to review lifestyle.
Next, various topics, which include placing priority on the 3Rs, producer responsibility and home-based hazardous waste management, are also discussed in the environmental education program on waste. As a practical example of partnership environmental education, the paper introduces the activities of the Kyoto City Association for Waste Reduction and Kyoto Ecology Center. Finally, possible directions and challenges that have arises out of these activities are discussed.
Human beings enjoy all the many blessings of nature, and have built unique civilizations and cultures according to such factors as climate, geographical features, and so on, all in harmony with natural providence. The rapid pace of industrialization that has taken place on the earth since the Industrial Revolution, however, has caused mass destruction of the natural world and the ominous spread of environmental pollution. The seriousness of global environmental problems has become even more apparent as the climate changes due to global warming and natural resources are being exhausted. We are already witness to the collapse of ecosystems and other natural processes.
Elements of the ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) are being implemented into environmental education, and the ESD model currently serves as a global measure, with its activities spreading throughout the world. The UNESCO World Conference on ESD 2014 will be held in Japan this November in honor of the last year for the United Nations Decade of ESD. Japan′s Ministry of the Environment is currently conducting environmental education programs that incorporate the ideas found in ESD, and is promoting a basic standard for environmental education with the aim of continually working to protect this beautiful planet we all share.
In order to create a sustainable society, our understanding of humans and environments must deepen. Along with this, we must also work toward a heightened acknowledgment of the value inherent in a rich natural world, emphasis on respecting the importance of nature and life and an adherence to our environmental responsibilities. NIER (National Institute for Educational Policy Research) aims to implement practical guidance in reaching these goals by initiating conceptual components for sustainable development, expanding abilities and attitudes in instructional guidance and the linkages between teaching materials and human behavior, as well as by moving from mere possibilities to real action. In the future, we will also be discussing how to foster in teachers an interest and respect for the particular location they happen to work in. We work to solve global problems including those related to the environment, poverty, human rights, disaster reduction, production and consumption and historical cultural legacies in local areas. We also dispatch teams in areas where we are working. We believe that by working at the local level we can send a larger message out to the entire world.
ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) offers many possibilities for approaching problems in the field of Material Cycles and Waste Management that were difficult for more traditional environmental education programs to address. In this paper, issues that emerged from interviews with stakeholders in the environmental education field were summarized in 3 modes : formal education, nonformal education and informal education. Furthermore, issues connected to environmental education with regard to the field of Material Cycles and Waste Management are discussed based on reviews of research related to environmental literacy and ESD study guidance. This paper reveals that there are some problems with program timing, the know-how necessary for program design and the implementation and interconnection of educational modes to promote environmental education within society.
Scientific affairs concerning the environment and material cycles are comprised of many fields, including physics, chemistry and biology. Environmental experts have not yet studied all the possible fields using official step-by-step studies but have been able to acquire knowledge through more practical means : memorization and linking. Although traditional education systems have preferred step-by-step learning to memorization and linking, the latter is now expected to win out and prevail at schools in order to increase the number of students learning about environmental issues through the sciences. One effective way of making this change would be to introduce these fields within the entrance examinations for schools and universities.
Social knowledge about the environment and material cycles has also been provided by local governments, however the content is still not fully satisfactory. This is why citizens will certainly welcome the establishment of the Museum for Environment and Material Cycles, which will have on exhibit simple scientific attractions, including a human-powered TV, charcoal production in a quartz furnace, and a PET bottle combat vehicle.
River environments consist of various creatures and substances hidden underwater and invisible to the eye. With these unique ecosystems being rather complicated and fluctuating, it is often difficult to fully observe the important processes and phenomena on-site. A combination of both on-site and visual media experiences are therefore crucial to environmental education, which is why interpretive visual media forms are needed. Movies and illustrations, as components of visual media, are good methods for presenting those features that are difficult to observe on-site. By expanding or compressing the time or space represented, movie content can clearly display such features and phenomena as micro and wide areas, underwater environments, transitory events and variations over long periods of time. Movies can also allow viewers to visualize the relationships between river phenomena and human lifestyles. Illustrations have perspicacity and are able to offer cross-sections of natural environments. Additionally, interpretation is made easier to understand when using well-illustrated data and graphs to show chemical changes in relation to morphology.
Understanding and action by individuals will be indispensable to initiatives by households, communities, and companies in their efforts to establish a sound material cycle society and eventually bring a halt to climate change. The “3R/Low Carbon Society Certificate” education program organizes and promotes learning of relevant knowledge.
A survey of certificate examination participants and others showed that the greater the involvement in “communicating, disseminating, and introducing information on effective methods for reducing waste volume (leader activities) to individuals other than family members, ” the greater the need for knowledge was felt. This shows that the certification meets important needs.
A key point for raising participation will be to work with the approximately 40 % of individuals in general (i.e., of the examination participants and others) who responded that, “although they currently do not participate in environmental awareness and educational activities, they would like to do so in the future.” In addition, examples of educational activities for the field staff of waste management-related businesses were observed. It is hoped that these activities will lead to overall improvements in the industry.
Environmental learning that tackles the issue of waste management at the elementary school level has been placed in the guidelines for the national curriculum. The program is being implemented in fourth-year Social Studies classes. In addition, environmental education highlighting practical 3R activities is also sometimes being introduced in comprehensive school learning courses. Of course, this is not limited to only fourth-year students, other students are also learning about waste and resource utilization. The author introduces the establishment of an environmental curriculum for sixth-year students, in which topics such as lost belongings are taken up in order to touch on areas that are close to the hearts of younger students.
The author introduces administrative activities regarding environmental education and learning on the topic of waste management in Kawasaki City. Two items are described. The first is a book called Living and Wastes, which is a supplementary reader to be used in Social Studies classes at the primary school level. The second is School Waste-delivery Service, an environmental learning program that provides users a true-to-life, physical-sense experience of a virtual world that takes on the issue of waste management. The implementation of both of these activities aims at creating A Global Environmentally-sound and Sustainable Material Cycle City, a concept that is being held up as a principal concept in the basic plan of municipal waste management in Kawasaki City.