Greetings from the Environmental Committee. We are reaching out to you for a very urgent matter that regards us all. Last Monday, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the latest part of its 6th Assessment Report. Its findings are alarming. It demonstrates that:
a. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions continue to increase. This shows that the current measures taken by states, private actors and individuals are not sufficient to stop global warming. b. Reducing emissions is crucial, but we also need to increase the capacity of the so-called "carbon sinks." c. Nature-based solutions will be of crucial help to stop environmental degradation. d. Societal and individual lifestyle shifts are essential to the reduction of GHG emissions. e. Climate finance is three to six times lower than where it should be to induce the energy transition we need. f. We have three years. Rising emissions must stop before 2025 if we are to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. Our Responsibility
On behalf of the student body, the Environmental Committee (EC) invites you all to reflect on the findings of the report and on the impacts the IPCC’s findings might have on your future. We would also like to take this opportunity to encourage you to take actions in your everyday life to mitigate the effects of climate change today and in the future.
We invite you all to pay attention to our awareness events, such as the recent Sustainability Week in March, grassroot projects, such as the Community garden and the improvement of the cafeteria’s menu, Save the Food, and the nonprofit student-run organic and local market.
We also want more help and support, if you are willing to contribute, in advocating for the Institute’s administration to increase its sustainability efforts. In light of the latest IPCC findings, the entire community of the Geneva Graduate Institute urgently needs to accelerate our engagement to be where we ought to be - as a leading institution in the global issue of climate change research and advocacy.
The EC will continue to dedicate all its resources to engage with the students and the other members of the Institute to encourage everyone to pursue sustainable lifestyles. But the responsibility should not and cannot solely be the burden of individuals. Only with systemic change will we be able to mitigate climate change effectively. The EC thus also works closely with the direction of the Institute to bring about structural change. We therefore call on all members of the Graduate Institute’s community to contribute and advocate towards a sustainable and equitable future.
What next? We invite everyone to participate in our grassroots projects, as well as our upcoming events that promote a deeper understanding about environmental issues. Our unique position in International Geneva cannot be taken for granted. Let our diverse backgrounds and experience be our strength in our advocacy efforts towards an inclusive ecological discourse in both domestic and international politics.
If you have any ideas you would like to share to improve the environmental footprint and sustainable practices of the Graduate Institute and its community, please reach out to us. All input is welcome!
It is not too late to change. Together, we can place the Graduate Institute and each of our lives at the forefront of environmental sustainability in higher education!
Small, immediate actions you can take: ➢ reduce your consumption of red meat. The cafeteria has started offering great vegetarian options. You should try! ➢ prefer train over other transportation means when you travel to other european places ➢ pay attention to the origin of the products you buy: the closer the better! ➢ seasonal fruits and vegetables are tastier, better for your health and for the environment! ➢ keep the 3Rs rule in mind: Reduce - Reuse - Recycle! ➢ Encourage the people around you to live more sustainably ➢ Become an activist!
Tools: - You can find the latest IPCC report mentioned here. It has precise data, future scenarios and advice for behavioral change. - If you want to estimate your individual carbon footprint, we recommend the app KLIMA (Klima - Live carbon neutral). It takes 5 minutes to fill in and is a great resource to better understand your carbon footprint. - Here you will find some ideas from the EU, Columbia University, and the NY Times that will help you reduce your carbon footprint. These include reducing your meat consumption, turning your water heater down, and buying second-hand clothes, among others. Yours sustainably, The Environmental Committee and GISA