Public debate on the meaning of academia in times of environmental crisis
What is the role of academics in times of environmental crisis? That was the main question at the debate at the School of Business and Economics last Wednesday, organized by Students4Climate Maastricht and Sustainable Maastricht 2030. Where some panel members emphasized the steps that have already been taken, others – together with many voices in the audience – were more critical: they feel not enough is happening and time is running out.
The panellists all agreed on one thing: education is key. But it’s not just students who need to be informed, the university and its staff members can also play a role in educating the general public. “To a lot of people, it still seems as if 50 per cent of the scientists think climate change is real and the other 50 per cent don’t, when in reality it’s 99 per cent versus 1,” says Pim Martens, chair Sustainable Development at MSI. “We have to speak up more when we see climate lies being shared.”
“We still have opportunities, but I’m quite pessimistic,” says Martens. “We did next to nothing between the late 90s and now. What we need is a system change, not just some adjustments.”
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