The Futurability Initiatives International Symposium 2014: Humanity in Nature: What ought to be?

Dates: March 24, 2014
Location: Tokyo, Japan

Established in 2010, the RIHN Futurability Initiatives emerge from our conviction of the need for design-oriented science. Whereas conventional science has traditionally been employed to describe “what is,” design science asks “what ought to be” the character of interactions between humanity and nature. In that sense, the Initiatives seek consilience, the unity of knowledge, and are intended to enhance design-oriented, problem-solving approaches to contemporary environmental problems.

To date, three full-research projects have launched through the Initiatives, all of which call on co-design, co-production and co-delivery processes of inquiry, forming stronger collaboration between science and society towards achieving “futurability.”

The aims of the symposium are twofold: 1) to review the status of RIHN’s design-oriented science and transdisciplinary research activities and their contribution to solving multi-scale environmental problems, and 2) to offer a showcase for engaging stakeholders and activate a more dynamic discussion on what the relationship of humanity in nature ought to be. The panel discussion will focus on humanity in nature, interdisciplinarity within transdisciplinary research, joint fostering of global environmental values, and international co-funding strategies for global environmental research.


Session 1: Welcome to Futurability and Transdisciplinarity
Chair: Steven R. McGreevy (RIHN)
10:00 – 10:05 Opening Address
Tetsuzo Yasunari (RIHN D-G)
10:05 – 10:15 Guest Address
Naoki Kimura (Director, Scientific Research Institutes Division, Research Promotion Bureau, MEXT, Japan)
10:15 – 10:25 Introduction
Jumpei Kubota (RIHN Deputy D-G)
10:25 – 10:55 Keynote Address 1
Legal Responses to Planetary Boundaries: How to Transform International Law?
Peter Roderick (Barrister and Co-Founder, Planetary Boundaries Initiative)
10:55 – 11:15 Framing platform for global change research and RIHN initiative projects
Makoto Taniguchi (Professor and Programme Director, RIHN)
11:15 – 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 – 12:00 Keynote Address 2
The Convergence of Anthropocentric and Ecocentric Values towards Global Catastrophic Risk Reduction
Seth Baum (Co-Founder and Executive Director, Global Catastrophic Risk Institute)
12:00 – 12:20 Consilience Cyberspace: A World Connected through Your Environmental Values
Itsuki C. Handoh (Co-Developer of Consilience Cyberspace and Associate Professor, RIHN)
12:20 – 13:30 Lunch
Session 2: Transdisciplinary Integrations
Chair: Hein Mallee (RIHN)
13:30 – 14:10 Designing Local Frameworks for Integrated Water Resources Management
Jumpei Kubota (Professor and Deputy D-G, RIHN) + Seita Emori (Head of the Climate Risk Assessment Section, Center for Global Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies)
14:10 – 14:50 Creation and Sustainable Governance of New Commons through Formation of Integrated Local Environmental Knowledge (ILEK project)
Tetsu Sato (Professor and Deputy D-G, RIHN) + Salvatore Aricó (Senior Programme Specialist, Biodiversity Assessments and Inter-agency Coordination, UNESCO / Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Study, United Nations University)
14:50 – 15:05 Coffee Break
Session 3: Panel Discussion ― Societal Transformation towards the Future
Chair: Hein Mallee (RIHN)
15:05 – 16:55 Coordinated by Ryo Kohsaka (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Human and Socio-Environmental Studies, Kanazawa University)

  • Harutoshi Fukui (Novelist)
  • Peter Roderick (Planetary Boundaries Initiative)
  • Seita Emori (National Institute for Environmental Studies)
  • Seth Baum (Global Catastrophic Risk Institute)
  • Salvatore Aricó (UNESCO)
  • Takamasa Kameishi (President, REBIRTH PROJECT)
  • Tetsuzo Yasunari (RIHN D-G)
16:55 – 17:00 Closing Remarks
Tetsu Sato (RIHN Deputy D-G)