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Last updated::2016-12-22    



Learn from the Confucian Idea “Unity of Man and Nature”: Dr. Liu Chao-han on Sustainability

By Secretariat
Liu Chao-han emphasized that “sustainability” is the prominent issue n.. Liu Chao-han emphasized that “sustainability” is the prominent issue nowadays, and in Taiwan, the germ of such an idea is from NCU. PHOTO: Chen Ju-Chih

NCU invited Dr. Liu Chao-han, the former NCU president and the Academician of Academia Sinica, to give a lecture “from Global Change to Sustainability: The Cultivation of the Talented in the Field of Sustainability” for the course “Humanities and Sustainability” this semester. Dr. Liu stressed that “sustainability” is the prominent issue nowadays, and NCU was the first university that promoted such an idea in Taiwan.

Long before twenty years ago, NCU pioneered the promotion of “sustainable development.” Thanks to the “Program for Promoting Academic Excellence of Universities” of the Ministry of Education, more than a hundred faculty members from six colleges at NCU collaborated an initiated and interdisciplinary research project on sustainable development. It was the pioneering effort in Taiwan!

The “global change” refers to the long-term and even irreversible change of the Earth that humans’ all kinds of activities have been causing. Both the speed and the influence scale are unprecedented. Yet, the Confucian idea of “unity of human and nature” from two thousand years ago already revealed the concept of sustainability.

“Human beings as a member of the Earth system should learn to live in harmony with other members on Earth,” emphasized Dr. Liu. He further stated that the mission of NCU is not only to focus on science, but more crucially, to offer solutions to the problem of sustainable development. Therefore, he suggested that NCU should offer more interdisciplinary and interdepartmental courses in order to explore more methods to solve such a complicated and unknown problem as sustainability.

In addition, NCU should promote the school culture that practices sustainability: to respect lives and realize that all creatures play their roles in the Earth system; to respect nature and not to deliberately change and destroy it. Dr. Liu expected that each student started from themselves, creating a trend and further making positive influence on the whole society.

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