The sustainability education we need

A statement by the UM TEAM

Written by Anna Terporten

Posted on June 9 2020

Maastricht for Climate calls for an inter-faculty, mandatory sustainability course at UM. We believe that all students need to be aware of climate-related issues that will affect their future.

Why do we need sustainability education?

… Because Climate Change influences us all.

Climate Change affects every sector of life, among them politics, health, mobility, energy and housing. Therefore, it is of vital interest to educate people who pursue different study programs on sustainable living as Climate Change has a profound influence on our careers’ requirements. Solutions to mitigate the effects of Climate Change have to be developed in every field. Apart from our careers, our personal lives will be affected by rising sea levels or increasing temperatures that make some regions of the world uninhabitable.

Thus, we demand for Sustainability Education at UM because we need to be well-educated to act adequately to our surroundings and to the crises we face. As students, we need to learn about how to cope with the new challenges we are confronted with and how to create a world that we and future generations can comfortably live in.  Hence, education on sustainability does not contradict existing curricula, but is an essential extension of them.

… Because we are not only trained to become professionals, but to be responsible citizens.

Young students should be encouraged to develop innovative solutions to tackle the problems of society. Sustainability issues are an increasingly severe matter and the university needs to meet these new demands. In today’s world, there is an ever-growing need for skills and knowledge outside of job requirements. Maastricht University in particular has always emphasized the importance of interdisciplinarity. Our university demands from its students to connect different viewpoints and obtain knowledge about issues not directly linked to their field of study. Our ecosystem is heavily interlinked. Each step we take does ultimately affect other fields. The world is, especially since the globalization process has started, highly interdependent. We cannot understand the world by looking at it from only one perspective. This is why we need this university-wide course, in each faculty of UM.

…Because it is an urgent issue we need to tackle now.

We call it Climate Crisis – because it is a problem that we need to deal with immediately. Our generation has to take action. We demand this course at university level because students are important multipliers of change: We are likely to end up in influential positions in society. We are trained to critically reflect on the world we live in and to contribute to society.

Climate Change is a very complex issue impacting all fields of our lives. Therefore, at university, students have access to more in-depth knowledge on this topic. University can offer more specified and detailed courses, linked to the study program. We believe that universities have both the freedom and the obligation to make space in the curricula for the required education on climate-related issues.

We need this Sustainability course now, and we need it for every student. Your study program is something you choose but Climate Change is not. It will affect every single one of us regardless of our profession. There is an ever increasing need to educate everybody, not only those interested.

It is a fact that this crisis is already happening. We need to learn about climate change to act adequately upon it. We need to act upon it to limit suffering and inequality. We are responsible, and we need an education that lives up to our societal role.

Want to help bringing this course into reality? Then sign our petition: https://www.maastrichtforclimate.nl/course-petition/

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