Dean's Message

Dean Tanaka
Yoshinari Tanaka
Sophia University Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Dean

The planet earth we live in is currently facing an unprecedented crisis, a global environmental problem, caused by a species called Homo sapiens. It includes a variety of problems such as global warming, biodiversity loss, ecosystem destruction, and marine pollution from chemicals and microplastics. The combination of these factors has warned many scientists that the global environment is at a critical tipping point called the "Planetary Boundary." It is theoretically expected that once the global environment exceeds this tipping point, it is almost impossible for the planet to restore the destroyed environment. In order to deal with this unprecedented crisis, there is an urgent need to integrate various fields of natural science, social science and humanities related to environmental science. This is because any measure against an environmental issue will not be effective unless we create a social and economic system that makes the best use of science and technology, even though knowledge of the natural sciences is indispensable for understanding the impact of human activities on the natural environment and making any concrete measures. This is also demonstrated by the diversity and interrelationships of the United Nations’ SDGs goals.

What kind of solution can be considered? I believe one of the solutions is the advanced education on environmental sciences, thereby producing new human resources who have a broad perspective and knowledge of environmental studies and are inspired by high environmental ethical standard. Young people are given the vitality and privilege to create new approaches and values, without being bound by traditional values, customs and academic barriers. The Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Sophia University was established in 2005 as a graduate course with an interdisciplinary curriculum to achieve such objectives. We have accepted many students in the world and sent them off as diverse human resources to the society in the world. Since its establishment, the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies has provided interdisciplinary educational programs by diverse professionals. Another major feature is the emphasis of learning through hands-on experience in the field in addition to course works in each subject. For that purpose, many environmental field trip activities are planned.

When I am writing this greeting on March 8, 2021, there are no signs yet that the infection status of the new coronavirus in Japan and the world will fade away. We have been reminded, through the sacrifices of more than 2 million people from this plague, that all countries around the world are integrated into one closed system. Furthermore, solving this problem requires integration of knowledge and methods in natural sciences such as medicine, pharmacy and epidemiology with social sciences such as economics and policy studies. And above all, we have learned that our individual behaviors with high consciousness and cooperative behaviors among people are the key element for the solution. All of these could be said also on the global environmental issue which is processing on a much longer time scale. But I believe that human being will eventually overcome the corona scourge. And I would like to believe that Homo sapiens has the potential to overcome global environmental problems as well. We welcome graduate students who are willing to take on the challenge of global environmental issues without losing these two disasters.

Yoshinari Tanaka
Sophia University Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Dean