BM69: COP21 Resolution “Act local, think global”

08.12.2015
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The environmental balance of our planet is in danger. Due to unreasonable usage and exploitation of natural resources and uncontrolled release of greenhouse gases we have constantly been endangering our environment. Furthermore, climate change causes a loss of biodiversity, more frequent natural catastrophes, and serious threats to natural balance of our planet. These changes turn out to be a humanitarian crisis, as a serious share of the world population will in soon be seriously affected by the climate change consequences or is already suffering. This situation of environmental crisis requires an urgent and strong answer.

Students unions cannot ignore this reality and must realize that it doesn’t only affect them as human beings, but also as student representatives and their very issues of student movement.  Our education models are part of a society that evolves in perception frames that are socially constructed and that organize our world. These perception frames define the social role of education in our society and the way it interacts with other spheres of public action. Not taking position on these frames means letting them confine our action reach. The environmental crisis is one of these frames.

Also, the mission of the student movement includes to bring information to the students and to defend them. And as students are actors and future decision makers of our society, they must be aware of the main challenges of the upcoming decades. Moreover, universities have the mission to spread their knowledge and expertise. Universities are spaces of independent spirit, research and critical sense. They play a crucial role in society and have the responsibility to tackle dominant patterns and models, such as our current destructive behaviour towards natural resources, in a long term perspective.

From 30th November until 11th December, world-leaders have been invited to Paris to attend the Conference of Parties 21 (COP21) and tackle the climate change issue. Previous COPs on climate change in Copenhagen and in Doha either turned out to lack ambition for results, or to be a failure. This is why the European Students’ Union would like to express its concern about the COP21 outputs. Furthermore, we expect state leaders to take their responsibilities and propose a strong, ambitious, and restrictive answer to the environmental crisis.

As political decision makers have obvious responsibilities to tackle the environmental crisis, the higher education institutions (HEIs) do also have concrete actions levers and must act as trail blazers.  HEIs must propose a pluralistic set of courses that enhance students’ awareness of the world they are living in and of the environmental challenges it encounters. Also, as the sustainable development work touches on  different disciplines, HEIs should foster interdisciplinary and long term research. HEI also play a role in the support of local student structures and in the settling of necessary conditions for extra-academic student involvements. In terms of infrastructures, HEIs should devote financial resources to implement green campus logic on their sites.

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