Xiao Li

Xiao Li

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Past visiting scholar
Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability


2013-2014: Ph.D. candidate in Ecology, Fudan University

2009-2013: School of Life Science, Fudan University, BSc

The Earth is the only planet that human beings and their economies and cultures depend on. However, the current earth is not what it used to be. Our Earth is rapidly changing, and most of its surface has been transformed, which is progressing faster than any seen in the last 2,000 years. Such a change can affect many related aspects of where and how people, plants and animals live, such as food production, availability and use of water and other resources, and health risks. Therefore, the quality of our life is likely to be affected by the transformation in the future.

Facing the rapidly changing earth’s surface and the threats it presents, our societies around the globe need to reduce land transformation to avoid adverse impacts and reduce the risks of creating changes beyond our ability to respond and adapt. Finding solutions to changing earth requires not only the actions to take by the governments but also cultural transformation. Our changing world needs a culture focused on collective decisions that remake our infrastructures and reform the way we live and work together. The cultural transformation is an issue that can be difficult. What we need to do is to raise the public awareness of the impact of environmental change, which can be translated into actions of protecting our earth ecosystem partially through the public. In so doing, we need to identify and devise ways to address the topic while being attentive to its emotional, social, cognitive, and practical dimensions. Therefore, ecological education that is less practiced in China can be an important component of the measures that protect our only planet. This is why I am focusing on ecological education.

Globalization has drastically increased interactions over long distances, often with profound impacts on socioeconomic and environmental sustainability (Reid et al. 2010). As one of the world’s most important emerging economics, China’s socio-economy and environment are affected by its local human-nature dynamics and international human-nature dynamics far away. The Chinese government advocates the sustainability and is promoting the construction of ecological civilization, in which ecological education is an important component. Ecological education uses ecology theory as a rationale and guides human to think and deal with all kinds of relationships from a view of sustainability of human-nature system. So far, there is no feasible ecological education model which is suitable for the situation of China. A new award-winning conceptual framework of telecoupling, which encompasses both socioeconomic and environmental interactions among coupled human and natural systems over distances (Liu et al. 2013), provides an integrated approach to ecological education.