Today is #educationday at COP24, what is at stake for universities ?
The COP24 in Poland is a great opportunity to remind the international community that universities have an essential role in educating citizen, scientists, and decision makers who will tackle climate change in the future.
What are some examples of actions at Université Côte d’Azur to adress climate change ?
At Université Côte d’Azur, we have set a reference center on the smart and sustainable city (IMREDD) which develops education, research and innovation projects in close collaboration with companies and local governments. Projects focus on clean mobility, smart grids, energy efficiency, and bring innovative climate mitigation solutions. Other initiatives target risks prevention with climate adaptation projects. Recently, the IMREDD Lab on climate change brought together students from various Master programs (engineering, law, design, communication, management) to imagine with the Metropole of Nice projects to adress climate change impacts in 2050. A great opportunity to sensitize students to climate change and to foster creativity and transdisciplinary work. At the Sustainable Design School, students use design thinking to integrate climate change in the solutions they are creating. Students are invited to calculate their carbon footprint and think how they could reduce it. To walk the talk, everyone should take action. The university-wide zero waste initiative is a great opportunity for everyone on the campuses to act.
And at the international level, what are some examples of action ?
As a member of the European Association of International Educators (EAIE), I have engaged a dialogue with other universities on how to address climate change. International partners provide benchmarking ideas and projects. Some universities implement low-carbon solutions on campuses, such as constructing energy-positive buildings. Some institutions position themselves at the forefront of research on earth sciences, while others develop extensive educational curricula on clean energies. Some universities are even engaged in advising national decision-makers on how to frame public policies. It is always very interesting to exchange with peers and look at potential scientific collaborations and partnerships. No single institution can fix the problem alone: international collaborations are essential for finding innovative solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Marianne Mensah is International Executive Director at Université Côte d’Azur.