Universities pride themselves on preparing students for a bright future. But with the climate in crisis, where disasters of “unprecedented” scale and impact become the new normal, what future will our students have? As we face environmental degradation and biodiversity losses of unimaginable proportions, universities and other educational institutions’ priorities should be adequately preparing their students and staff for increasingly challenging times.
Climate change and ecological destruction affect all parts of life including what we need or value the most, such as water, food, ecosystems, wildlife, safety, shelter, energy, transportation, health, communities and the economy. The basic human needs of many, in particular those who are the most vulnerable, are already in jeopardy.
Dealing with climate-induced conflicts, mass migration, health impacts, economic costs and environmental degradation represent challenges of extraordinary proportions. There is simply no greater challenge than addressing the ecological and climate emergency and universities owe it to their students to be at the forefront of these issues.