School of Environment & Natural Resources
Renmin University of China
Dr. Lei Zhang obtained her master and doctoral degrees in environmental management from
Wageningen University in the Netherlands and since 2002 she continued to work as teacher
and researcher at Environmental Policy Group at Wageningen University.
She joined the School of Environment and Natural Resources at Renmin University of China as associate professor since 2009. As an environmental sociologist, her researches cover topics ranging from ecological modernization of rural industries in China, environmental risk management, governmental environmental auditing, governance of environmental flows, environmental information disclosure, sustainable consumption, to food safety, etc. She teaches courses on environmental policy analysis and evaluation, environmental politics of superpowers and research methods in environmental science.
“From the perspectives of ecological civilization and environmental flows governance theories, this paper starts with clarifications of these two concepts in academic research and management practices and their implications to development of SCP Ecosystems-oriented education programs. The essence of the SCP Ecosystem development is about governing varied environmental flows that flow through different human activities (from production to consumption activities)-dominated social-economic complex ecosystems. The environmental flows here are hybrids of material flows and social flows along with and the complex ecosystems are the spaces of governance. Depending on the nature of the environmental flows, the governance level can go from local, regional to global levels. The combined descriptive and analytical power of environmental flows and complex ecosystems enables us to bring production and consumption into holistic pictures in which the boundaries of governance can be defined, critical points for interventions can be identified, social networks and drives that decide the behaviours of the environmental flows can be analysed. The value of such conceptual framework lays in the fact that disciplinary knowledge and researches that used to be more isolated can now focus on the same environmental flow as the common research unit and contribute to solutions with knowledge on micro and macro levels and on both production and consumption sides. Based on these arguments, this paper discusses the implications to development of new education programs and new roles of educators, then opportunities and challenges ahead. “