Teaching Human Nature and Morality in the Scope of Climate Change

Teaching Human Nature and Morality in the Scope of Climate Change

Prof. Lam Chiu Ying (Department of Geography & Resource Management)
Date: 24th April 2014, Thursday

Prof. Lam Chiu Ying has been offering “UGEB2114 Climate, Energy and Life” since 2010. The course design arose from Prof. Lam’s vision for a moral education for university students. Many young people nowadays seem to find morality an out-of-date set of code of conduct created out of thin air to “control” them and to deprive them of innate “rights”.  In the meanwhile, popular media sometimes intoxicates them further by espousing “greed is good” so long as money is made. Prof. Lam proposes that a way has to be found to convince students in layman terms that these prevailing thoughts may be misleading.  

The course “UGEB2114 Climate, Energy and Life” employs ideas of evolutionary biology to show that morality is a product of human evolution to achieve survival of the species in the face of environmental stresses arising from climate change. It is hoped that students would go away from the course realizing that their sense of "right " and "wrong" comes from within for a good reason and that "to do good" is as natural as eating and sleeping.  The ultimate goal of the course is to help students resolve to be good men in the rest of their life.

In this lunch seminar, the speaker will explain:

  1. how he has used “climate change” as the theme in his university general education course “UGEB2114 Climate, Energy and Life” to attract students to hisand;
  2. how he then uses “climate change” as the thread to sewpieces of knowledge from diverse fields to form a coherent picture of the making of human nature and morality to students.  

***Prof. Lam is the awardee of the 2013 Exemplary Teaching Award in General Education.

Speaker’s Bio

Prof. Lam Chiu Ying is Adjunct Professor of Department of Geography & Resource Management at CUHK, Chairman of HKSAR Environmental Campaign Committee, Chairman of Hong Kong Countryside Foundation, Honorary President of Hong Kong Bird Watching Society and Ex-Director of Hong Kong Observatory. Prof. Lam is a long-time fervent bird-watcher and after retirement, has turned into an active speaker. Starting with climate change, Prof. Lam promotes love of and respect for Nature as well as simple life-styles to a wide audience. His publications include: Thoughts on Wing, Birds of Hong Kong and South China (co-author), Director's Blog (co-author), Where for Peace in the Changing World.

pdf icon Presentation Powerpoint (login required, in Chinese only)