JGP-GSGES International Spring School at Kyoto 2016 – Measuring Our Environments – had been conducted under the area of Environmental Studies in a program of “Japan Gateway: Kyoto University Top Global Program (JGP)” for 3 weeks (February 17th to March 8th, 2016). This program is a part of the international joint education with world-class partner universities prominent in environmental studies. International Spring School at Kyoto 2016 was designed to understand the mountainous, fresh water and marine environment in Japan through both lecture courses and field studies under the internationally academic culture of Kyoto. This Spring School program provided various techniques and knowledge of environmental science (environmental engineering, marine ecology, atmospheric chemistry, agronomy, and soil science) which has being implemented by Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies (GSGES) since 2002. There were 105 students from partner universities applied in this program, and through a rigorous screening in documents and interviews, 21 students of 11 nationalities from Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America in 16 universities in master and doctoral courses were selected in the last December.
In the 1st week (17th – 23rd Feb.), general guidance, self-introduction among participants, laboratory visits in GSGES, and field study at Lake Biwa (study about fresh water environment) were implemented. At the guidance, the outline of JGP program and detailed schedule of this program were explained. In the laboratory visits, 29 lecturers from 13 laboratories in GSGES welcomed students to introduce research work and, techniques in analysis and methods of field study through the lectures, seminars, experiments, and field studies. At the Lake Biwa, students visited Kabata in Harie region (Takashima city) to learn from the local residents about the wise use of clean spring water available in commune canals, and visited the source (mountainous area) of clean spring water. In addition, student studied the wastewater treatment system in Kusatsu city. Moreover, students visited a company producing sweet snacks to see their challenges such as quality improvement in taste and services, organic agriculture, and local oriented products.
In the 2nd week (24th Feb. – 1st Mar.), field study at Mt. Aso, Kyusyu (study about mountainous environment) and field observation and lectures about Atmospheric Chemistry were conducted. Field study in the mountains focused on the pros and cons of volcanos and surrounding livelihoods with some background of geological history of Mt. Aso, Mt. Kujyu, and Mt. Unzen through the visits on geothermal power plant, natural hot spring, agriculture land, Aso volcano museum and disaster areas by debris flow. In the Atmospheric Chemistry, O3 and NOx were monitored around Yoshida campus in Kyoto University, and results were then analyzed and presented by students. In addition, special lecture “Photochemistry in Atmosphere” was provided by Dr. Christa Fittschen (Research Director of CNRS, Lille 1 University, France).
In the 3rd week (2nd – 8th Mar.), field study at Maizuru (study about marine environment) and final presentation of International Spring School were conducted. Onboard training to monitor the marine water parameters and benthic organism sampling were implemented in Maizuru bay. Collected data and samples were sorted and analyzed in Maizuru Fisheries Research Station, Kyoto University. At the laboratory, students conducted morphology classification and DNA analysis to understand the character of benthic organism structure in Maizuru bay. In the final presentation, students presented their future research work and described interested issues related with whole/some activities in this program by deepening the issues or comparing some cases in each country.
Under the various cultures, customs and languages, students communicated in English actively and highly motivated to participate in all activities of environmental studies in Japan. In addition, interactive lectures at the fields brought various topics and interests to discuss/reconsider in each country, and it gave the time to build up the sense in local and global for each student. All activities were conducted as scheduled with generous cooperation from 34 lecturers from GSGES (more than 60% of lecturers in GSGES joined). This is an entrance of the environmental studies, however, it was a good opportunity to learn the frontier of environmental studies and to know the difficulties in each society and cultivate both global and local sense of environment for the future. We would expect to broaden the network in academia and develop further cooperation and collaboration in environmental studies in near future.