In August, the headmaster of the University of Tromsø, Anne Husebekk, and senior adviser Andrea Tilche launched a climate call. The call considers the role of Norway’s higher education institutions in climate research, the development of sustainable solutions and the universities’ responsibility to educate students who can handle future challenges as a result of climate change. On this occasion, the About Tomorrow Foundation was contacted to contribute with its network to promote the call ahead of the UN climate change summit on September 23. The answer from About Tomorrow was a clear and emphatic yes!
With our network between today’s young people and important societal actors, and between academia, business and politics, we would, of course, use this as our strength to communicate and reach out to many.
The climate call was started after inspiration from a similar initiative in Belgium. “For decades, the international scientific community has raised alarms about the many threats that our lifestyle, consumption, and production create for our societies and for the future of the planet,” it was written in a reader post in the Belgian major newspaper “Le Soir” in April. The reader post was signed by many of Belgium’s leading figures in academia. Employees at the universities of Belgium spoke out to start a massive reorganization of society.
Back in Norway and Tromsø, the climate call was formed with three main points.
- Education – All education programs in Norway must teach a syllabus that addresses sustainability problems and possible solutions within the current field of study. A thorough review of the syllabus in higher education is required.
- Research and Innovation – In order to respond to global and local climate and environmental threats, efforts are needed without equal in research and innovation. The educational institutions must incorporate sustainability into all research and innovation activities while encouraging collaboration across all disciplines, including in publications and career development.
- A showcase for solutions – The educational institutions in Norway must be an example of sustainability and zero-emission principles, also within their own management groups. Highly ambitious goals in greenhouse gas emissions must be set, and educational institutions must take leadership roles to demonstrate that the transition to a zero-emission society is feasible.
The students of About Tomorrow quickly took on the task with great enthusiasm for promoting the call. On Wednesday September 18th, Om tomorrow published a video of the Rector at UiB explaining why he has signed the climate call. Two days of booths were also quickly planned at BI Bergen 19th and the Student Center 20th where many engaged students spoke with employees of About Tomorrow about climate and environmental change, as well as our visions about the path to a zero-emission society and why we chose to promote the climate call. Our stand activity set a signature record for the climate call on both Thursday 19th and Friday 20th!
The signature campaign is now complete and after a brilliant effort the crew in About Tomorrow will be ready to take on the next task in the fight for a greener and more forward-looking society!