CeBER Seminar 2016 #5: Dr Tomohiro Akiyama
Dr Tomohiro Akiyama
CeBER Seminar 2016 #5
Date: 11th of March
Guest Speaker: Dr. Tomohiro Akiyama
Dr. Tomohiro Akiyama (Assistant Professor from the University of Tokyo, Graduate Program in Sustainability Science – Global Leadership Initiative) gave a stimulating presentation, describing a fresh approach to sustainability assessment. Examination of the history of development reveals the paradigm of Cartesian dualism which separates nature (object) and human beings (subject). In his work, Dr Akiyama modified Ken Wilber's All Quadrants, All Levels framework to focus on the interconnectedness of various perspectives within the concept of sustainability. Dr Akiyama and his group applied this new framework to examine the interaction between humanity and the hydrological cycle in the Heihe River basin in Northwest China across the period 1944 – 2014. The research group investigated the environmental problems seen in the Heihe River basin and the interlinking relationships between nature, culture, behaviour of nature, and social systems. Among these, social systems were the fundamental cause of environmental degradation. The four-quadrant framework demonstrated in this research consists of interior phenomena, exterior phenomena, individual experience, and collective experience. Their results showed that the four-quadrant approach, through its focus on the interconnection of different perspectives, is an effective approach to sustainability assessment.