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Educational Couse

Welcome to the “Next Environment Architects”

INAOKA Kyoji

On October 26, 2020, Prime Minister Suga gave a general policy speech at the plenary session of the House of Representatives and the plenary session of the House of Councilors. In his speech, Prime Minister Suga made the following statement: “We hereby declare that by 2050 Japan will aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero, that is, to realize a carbon-neutral, decarbonized society. We need to adjust our mindset to a paradigm shift that proactive climate change measures bring transformation of industrial structures as well as our economy and society, leading to dynamic economic growth.” Through this speech, Prime Minister Suga called for a change in the ideas held by Japan. In this manner, Japan is leading the way in implementation of the contents adopted at COP21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; 2015, Paris Agreement).
It will soon be about 30 years since Japan hosted COP3 in 1991. Although various initiatives are being implemented, Japan has not reduced the total amount of CO2 emissions, which account for more than 90% of greenhouse gases. The industrial sector is doing its best, having reduced CO2 emissions by approximately 20% compared to 1990 by saving energy and introducing advanced technology. Conversely, in the household sector, CO2 emissions have continued to increase gradually and have reached about 40%. When considering the accumulation of target substances with respect to time, we must do more than simply transform momentary values or social structures; instead, as stated by Prime Minister Suga, we have reached the stage of transforming and implementing various ways of thinking—this means doing away with preconceived notions and making necessary reforms.

I am a researcher in the field of heat transfer engineering. I have been involved in environmental issues based on my belief that solutions are possible by accumulating and combining technologies. However, I now strongly feel that a change in mindset is needed. Of course, it is undeniable that technology is essential for solving environmental problems. Nevertheless, when we consider how the environment surrounds people and their activities, there are limits to the solutions that can be achieved by focusing solely on technology. As evidence, even in Japan, a country with outstanding technological capabilities, reductions are currently not progressing as expected. For a true understanding of the environment, it is essential to consider individual people themselves and the connection between people. In order to define and solve problems, it is essential to assess the space for various environments, comprehensively ascertain the time axis, and directly face these factors. In addition to technological aspects, the key to solving environmental problems is to develop people and human resources who can act from this perspective.

In April 2021, the Doshisha-Daikin Next Environment Research Center will open the Next Environment Co-Creation and Human Resources Development Course. In addition to the ability to conduct research, the course aims to develop people and human resources who will create the “Next Environment.”
In this co-creation course, young employees of Daikin Industries, a world leader in air conditioning technology, and graduate students of Doshisha University come together to hold discussions and study while providing mutual stimulation. Participants will acquire the perspectives and knowledge needed for understanding the environment as a comprehensive issue. They will start by considering what type of living creatures human beings are and studying the internal environment of human beings. Then, they will study the relationship between the environment and society, communities, culture, systems (all of which are operated via the relationships among people), contemplate the form of the environment as a shared social resource, and study the state-of-the-art technology. Moreover, when training to transform their way of thinking, participants in the course will be asked to break away from the present and define their dreams for 10 to 20 years in the future. Their assignments will include using current social trends to imagine the future and set themes for solving environmental issues. Participants will assume the role of active future generations, discuss new technological ideas and other topics in accordance with the issues being examined, and build from complete scratch. They will then use those ideas to define their research themes.
In this way, the course will cooperate with society to create people and human resources who are capable of proposing and implementing methods for creating the “Next Environment” by enabling participants to accurately understand the current environment and to explain such conditions to others, and by providing an experience that places awareness on the time axis of creating new ideas from absolutely nothing.

I hope that you will strive to become a person who considers and creates the “Next Environment” so that people can continue to lead daily lives rich in spirit in their respective communities with peace of mind.

INAOKA Kyoji
Dean, Institute for Advanced Research and Education