International Symposium, ESD and Place-Based Education, held

On 11-12 Jan 2015, International Symposium \”ESD and Place-based Education\” was held in National Olympic Memorial Youth Center, Tokyo, Japan. Guest speakers and participants both exchange ideas and opinions about outdoor education, environmental education, community, sustainability and the place.


Over 100 people attended the conference.
Over 100 people attended the conference.

Over 100 participants from students to community leaders, researchers, and practitioners attended the conference. In the afternoon of Sunday, the conference opened with keynote speeches of three guest-speakers form the world.

Prof. Pete Higgins of Edinburgh University reported the situation on “Learning for Sustainability, LfS” in Scotland. He showed a photo of canoeing class in river Spey and said it is not just for the canoeing skills. “We talked about many things, from climate change, history, geography, culture, law, or economics. He stressed the value of Place-based Education and said the planet is the place in this time.

Dr. Ihi Heke from New Zealand talked about a challenge of Maori people to reconnect their tradition and nature into learning. He pointed out that the current society is occupied by Western way of thinking. With governmental support he is setting up a curriculum based on Maori wisdom based on constellations, water and the land.

Dr. Jess Salathong from Thailand introduced some activities in ASEAN countries. He also explained cases of ESD in Thailand and said that at the base of ESD Program in Thailand, the principle, \”Sufficient Economy,\” exists. His photo of a wind turbine at the palace in Bangkok raised by the King for the promotion of sustainable development dragged attentions from the audience.

During the panel discussion followed the keynote speeches, Prof. Abe Osamu of Rikkyo University argued the relation between GLOBAL and LOCAL and audience joined the discussion.

On 12th, Mr. Suzuki Shigeo, Mayor of Kuzumaki Town, gave his speech with the title of “the power of mountainous village.” He introduced a history of a town with 6,854 people tried to find and to use what they have within the area and now the town grew to \”Milk, Wine and Clean Energy\” town. Its sufficiency on food and energy are over 100% and a new system of its high school inviting students from city area is to start this year, he said.

Then, participants separated into three sectional workshops; Life and Learning, Outdoor/Experiential Education and Place, Public Education and place, and exchanged opinions. After those, concluding session was took place and finished the conference at around 3 p.m…

Group photo, at the end of the conference.
Group photo, at the end of the conference.

Participants say; it was encouraging to hear about Scotland\’s situation, which moves the politics to LfS. / the important thing is what to put on the root of education. Maori has 24 views on the world and tries to connect them with education / Kuzumaki\’s attempt is a good stimulation for other mountainous villages. / Many participant\’s discussion from different backgrounds made the symposium full of diversity.

ECOPLUS will publish a report on March. Photos and some reports are on our facebook page.

Video of keynote speeches are available from following URL.

The panel discussion is also seen from the URL