Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere, Kyoto University.
Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere, Kyoto University.



Among many problems that human probably face during the next hundred years, resource and energy deficits and environmental degradations due to explosive expansion of world population and economy are the ones which require immediate reactions. Planet Earth can be regarded as a closed system in terms of material cycling; however, when it comes to energy balance, it can be regarded as an open system driven by the solar energy. The solar energy is the ultimate energy source of all organisms of Earth. For example, plants serve as a primary producer fueled by the solar energy. This primary production forms a basis of the existence of all heterotoroph such as animals, and we, humans, are no exceptions.

Human societies are heavily depending on fossil energy sources, and causing the distortion of natural material cycling and energy balance based on the solar energy. World population has expanded dramatically since the beginning of the 20th century and has led to resource and energy deficits and environmental degradations as results of this distortion. Continuous growth of world population and economics will accelerate the aggravation of these problems. We can forecast that human societies will meet great difficulties ever faced probably by mid 21st century.

In order to change human societies from the conventional ones, depending heavily on the fossil fuel energy to the ones relying more on the solar energy, the first step is to understand material cycling and energy flow within Humanosphere. For this purpose, collaborative research among a wide range of academic fields is required in addition to the conventional ways of specialized research. RISH puts emphasis on the importance of the collaborative research, and works hard to accomplish its leading roll to serve for the welfare of mankind.

Objectives of RISH

One of the important objectives of RISH is to accurately “diagnose” the current conditions of Humanosphere, to evaluate the results of this “diagnosis”, and forecast the future of its conditions based on this evaluation. For example, we investigate the atmospheric dynamics, which are closely related to environmental changes, by high performance radars designed for the accurate monitoring of the global environment. Moreover, the social infrastructure based on renewable resources rather than non-renewable ones can be achieved through the extensive utilization of renewable wood resources. For this purpose, RISH has conducted research on bio-based resources as well as CO2 fixation as a function of forests. We strongly believe that it is our commitment to strive for sustainable societies for the future generations by finding solutions to stop the deterioration of Humanosphere.

Another objective of RISH is to expand Humanosphere from currently available regions to the new ones into space. RISH has conducted research on Solar Power Satellite (SPS) which directly converts the solar energy to electric energy, and transfers to the Earth through microwave. SPS can provide a large capacity of power generation without fossil fuels resulting in the reduction of CO2 emission while meeting the increasing energy demands. RISH has also conducted research on space environments such as computer simulation of large scale constructions in space, and observations of electromagnetic environments in space. These researches are expected to be the fundamentals to achieve future human activities in space and possible expansion of Humanosphere into space. In addition, RISH has focused on research and development of advanced technology on production and utilization of forest biomass, which account for 95 % of renewable biomass resources. We have conducted research on genetic engineering to enhance the carbon fixation capacity of wood, development of new wood materials for eco-housing and new recycling techniques. The objectives of these researches are not simply the solutions to the problems we face, but re-creation of the regions of Humanosphere.