Yes, today I want to smile


Usually, when I take a pen, it’s either because I have an assignment or because I’m scandalized by something and I want to let the world know how angry it makes me. But today on this CliMates blog, I won’t be scandalized, or shocked or angry. Today, I want to take my pen and write a few lines on what is going to happen next week on the Sciences Po campus and which makes me feel deeply happy and confident.

This week, CliMates has the honor to be invited to the Sustainable Development Week  at Sciences Po Paris. Hosted by Sciences Po Environnement , the green student movement at Sciences Po, this event is dedicated to promoting debates and activities about sustainable development, the environment and how these notions are intertwined with politics, civic engagement, daily life, economics, etc. It aims at helping the whole Sciences Po community to think about new paradigms, to discover new behaviors and to promote green projects on campus.

As a CliMates member, I am obviously very concerned about sustainable development and climate change issues. What’s more,, it comes as obvious to me that everybody should feel concerned about how to make our societies resilient and sustainable – simply because it is a matter of basic responsibility and survival. When you are a young student, interested in these issues, you naively want to get the whole world in your campaign. But then, it’s time for reality check. Environmental concerns are inconvenient to many – in particular to many elders. In that sense, promoting a sustainable economy is disruptive. Tackling climate issues is disruptive.

But this week at Sciences Po, the whole student community will dedicate an entire week to these issues. When I was in high school, I had a teacher who once told me that disruption is a catalyst for change. I think he was completely right, and I would add that initiatives such as this sustainable development week are definitely catalysts for change. Many associations are getting involved and will have the opportunity to present and discuss their ideas with and for students. And CliMates will host two events, which are undeniably inspiring… and make me feel like smiling.

Using the open space technology , CliMates will host an open forum on the theme “Youth and sustainable development: in theses times of electoral debates, what would you say to candidates, as a young student?” and a conference on the role of youth since Rio 1992  The open forums are based on the idea of crowd’s wisdom  or citizen science. So what about an open forum dedicated to sustainable development uniting students?

John Ashton, Special Representative for Climate Change at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told a few CliMates members during a meeting we were lucky to have with him: « People always say « grown-ups will take care of it ». In the fight against climate change, there are no “grown-ups”. If you don’t do anything, things will go on with the old system: you are the next generation. You must be the grown-ups. »

The spirit of this open forum is based exactly on this idea: young people need to be federated and talk about these issues, without a utopian vision.

This week, it will be a first start thanks to a partnership between Sciences Po Environnement, CliMates and Paris +20 committee.

I may be still quite naïve, but I don’t care. Today, I want to smile because I’m getting ready for this inspiring week at Sciences Po.

Beware! Students are coming. And together, they can be very wise.


Johann Margulies

CliMates Communication Team

Candidate to the title “Catalyst for change”

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