In the hall of the University of Paris-Dauphine, from the stand of the green association Dauphine Durable, Maxence must use its memory and smartphone. When the student comes to the university in 2020, he finds a mandatory course on climate called “Environmental challenges of the XXI century”. Especially in the program “Greenhouse effect phenomenon, biodiversity”. This Friday, September 23, young people are once again mobilizing for climate with the call of the Friday for Future movement launched by Greta Thunberg in 2018. Gatherings are planned in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Dijon and even Rennes. A demonstration in Paris is to be held on Sunday.
>> According to Mathis Montelon, one of the coordinators of the climate march in Montpellier, “Many young people are eco-concerned or eco-angry”
This movement begins again in the students’ full questioning of the meaning of their education. Last spring, during the graduation ceremony, young people from AgroParisTech or Sciences Po openly criticized their schools – not being green enough, with no or few courses on climate change and mobility. At the University of Paris-Dauphine, since 2020, all first-year students, regardless of their license, have a mandatory course in this subject, but opinions about the practice are mixed. In addition to biodiversity and the greenhouse effect, another lesson concerns energy production or even understanding IPCC reports (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). “A global view of climate change. Why? How? What are the effects? Thus, nature, which is not uninteresting to us, was viewed from a scientific point of view through the veil of physical sciences”Maxens highlights.
A scientific base provided by mathematicians, economists and climate experts. “In high school, we had enough general information about science educationBlanche explains, whereas it would be more related to companies, more how to build environmental policies, etc. Solen agrees: “I see that they have not provided enough solutions, not tools, to combat this global warming.”
Sociologist Dominique Meda, co-designer of this module at Dauphine University, answers that it is impossible to do everything and see everything in just 18 hours of lectures: “I understand very well that they are in a hurry, they want solutions, because they want to get involved in this! But we think that this first year is done to deepen observations on the carbon footprint, IPCC scenarios. All this is still taking a long time.” In the first year of the bachelor’s degree, the course is devoted to the natural and physical sciences of climate and environmental crises. In the second year, it focuses on economic, social and cultural aspects
Time for theory in the first year of undergrad and then? Do students learn more later, especially in masters? Cassandre Goldstein, student representative for environmental responsibility, is sure of it. “There’s a master’s degree in international relations and development, a master’s degree in sustainable development and environmental law, another in energy, finance, carbonhe lists. So this is already the first step.”
The Minister of Higher Education wants to show Dauphin as an example. Sylvie Retailleau’s goal: all undergraduate students have “Keys to Understanding” environmental problems, from the beginning of the academic year in September 2023.
Climate courses at the University of Paris-Dauphine are considered too limited – report by Thomas Giraudeau