The Concept of Environmental Leader

  • Tomohiro AkiyamaEmail author
  • Kyoungjin J. An
  • Hiroaki Furumai
  • Hiroyuki Katayama


Leadership has shifted focus from the individual to the group or institute. Efforts to link leadership and the natural environment have already begun and the necessity for environmental leadership has never been higher than ever in the era of complex and evident environmental and social problems, such as climate change, global conflict, limited resources, an overwhelming amount information, etc. There is no single solution for environmental problems that can solve the conflicts of diversified community relations. Therefore, environmental leadership development is a priority element for improving the deteriorating environment. However, the current education system, especially in Asia, lacking in providing a holistic view of environmental issues, as well as inter- or trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural approaches, or a balance between the environmental, economic and social dimensions, using hands-on experience. In response, APIEL strives to fill this gap by improving education for environmental leadership with sustainability issues in mind. This chapter will review the concept of the environmental leader through a discourse on leadership. As well, it will introduce the authors’ experiences in fostering environmental leader by establishing and implementing environmental leadership education over the past four years. The discourse on environmental leadership illustrates how environmental leaders have been educated to cope with emerging environmental issues. The concepts of transformational/transformative-, eco-, collective, green, and communicative leadership provide a map to understand the evolution of the theory and practice of environmental leadership education.


Discourse on leadership Environmental issues Environmental leadership Leadership experience 


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© The Author(s) 2013

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomohiro Akiyama
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kyoungjin J. An
    • 2
  • Hiroaki Furumai
    • 3
  • Hiroyuki Katayama
    • 4
  1. 1.Graduate Program in Sustainability Science, Graduate School of Frontier SciencesThe University of TokyoKashiwaJapan
  2. 2.Asian Program for Incubation of Environmental Leaders (APIEL), Department of Urban Engineering, Graduate School of EngineeringThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Research Center for Water Environment Technology, Graduate School of EngineeringThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Urban Engineering, Graduate School of EngineeringThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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