Every sector will be affected by the upcoming consequences of the ecological crises. In spite of this statement, most of the students graduate without having learnt any of the basic skills to tackle the ecological transition. As students, it is impossible to take action if we are not properly aware of what is at stake. Moreover, lacking the adequate tools may prevent us from leading this transition. In a word, university syllabus is a much more powerful way to lever up the ecological transition.
At the Ecological Awakening movement, we have been working for two years to better integrate the ecological stakes in university syllabus. We aim not only at mobilizing authorities, universities, and students (see our various interventions in the timeline below), but also at creating new educational content on this topic.
The goal of the platform is to mobilise and guide students to "wake up their university" by emphasizing the importance of integrating ecological transition issues into the training courses offered. It is intended for all students and young graduates, regardless of their background, because the need to be trained on ecological transition issues applies for all higher education students.The Education for an ecological transition platform relies on 5 steps, each one of them includes feedback and advice.
We acknowledge that it is hard to have a clear picture of the true ecological commitments of our institutions. Nevertheless setting a clear and thorough assessment is necessary to initiate ambitious ecological transition projects.
The Great Barometer meets this need. For now the study has been focusing on giving self-assessment keys to French universities on 6 major topics:
Strategy and governance
Numerous universities agreed to answer our questionnaire. This highlights the fact that we are legitimate to support and push the ecological transition in universities.
Thanks to these answers, we made a synthesis of the current situation and provided students with interpretative keys . This work comes in addition to what was done with the Education for an ecological transition platform, which helps students to transform their university.
The Wake up Call on the environment: A Student Manifest, and the Shift Project report “Mobilizing Higher Education for Climate” (Mobiliser l'enseignement supérieur pour le climat) have opened up and fuelled a debate in France. Since then, numerous initiatives have blossomed.
Specific variations of these reflections are underway, to adapt the transformations of education to the sectors in question. In particular, The Shift Project is proposing experiments in engineering schools, finance courses, and public service courses...
Students, recent graduates, associations and other universities stakeholders now have the opportunity to give more momentum to this dynamic... And this is just the beginning! The Ecological Awakening movement is involved in many game-changing projects:
A combined task force with the French Ministry of Higher Education which focuses on defining a common-core syllabus concerning ecological transition knowledge for universities. A first step of work resulted in July 2020 in a set of recommendations, listed in the Jouzel report, and the second phase of the working group is underway and should result in a more complete and operational report in late December 2021.
The MOOC "Understanding the ecological crisis to reinvent the company", which we created with the Collège des Directeurs du Développement Durable. We wanted it to be free, accessible to all, and easy to deploy so that as many people as possible could have access to it. It was created and financed with our six project partners: ADEME, the Responsible Generation Collective, Comité 21, MEDEF, ORSE and UN Global Compact France. It is divided into three modules: "Understanding the ecological crisis", "Our socio-economic model at the heart of the ecological crisis" and "How to reinvent the company in the face of the ecological crisis". Experts and practitioners in business were interviewed such as Dominique Bourg, Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Gilles Boeuf... It provides a first approach to the challenges of the ecological emergency, and gives everyone the desire to deepen their knowledge and sharpen their critical thinking.
The FORTES project led by the Transition Campus who published A handbook for the Great Transition. This book gives analysis keys through the motto: knowing to act, teaching to transform.
The association The Climate Collage is carrying an initiative called the Climate Education Kick-off. This aims at raising awareness among students on climate change. This will also help students to have a better understanding of the current overall situation and give them keys to take action.
Since January 2021, the student's COP2 has brought together dozens of institutions that have set up internal think tanks to accelerate the ecological transition of higher education. The result is the Grenoble Accord, which commits the signatories to a number of objectives, and which is accompanied by a White Paper proposing an evolving synthesis of the measures proposed by the focus groups.