Mary Robinson addressed students in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) on the role of education, civic participation and multilateralism in advancing climate justice. Among the diverse audience were students participating in the TCD-UCD M.Sc. in Development Practice and the GCU M.Sc. in Climate Justice, as well as other students and staff from the TCD Schools of Law, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences.
The TCD/UCD M.Sc. in Development Practice was the first Master programme in Ireland to include a dedicated module on climate justice. Similarly, the GCU M.Sc. in Climate Justice was the first programme of its kind, and emerged from GCU’s Centre for Climate Justice. During the lecture, Mrs. Robinson challenged students and faculty staff alike to think of ways in which the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 global goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, could be integrated into the teaching and research of all schools and faculties.
Speaking about the role of education in advancing climate justice, Mrs Robinson said: “A practical first step would be for universities to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals across teaching in all schools and faculties. There are some fields where the relevance of the SDGs are obvious – engineering, medicine and global health, economics, gender studies to name a few – but perhaps it is worth considering where other skills might be brought to bear to advance the SDGs. What can historians tell us about the success and shortcomings of other great societal transitions? Can anthropologists provide insights that would spur progress towards more equal societies? What is to be learned from epidemiologists about the spread of information on social media that might help to better communicate the 2030 Agenda?”
During the lecture Mrs. Robinson commended the TCD student body for their commitment to climate action and sustainable development. She said: “The success of the push for the university’s divestment from fossil fuels was down to the perseverance and dedication of the students. Determined to go further, now I hear concerned students are working with Provost Patrick Prendergast to secure membership of the International Sustainable Campus Network this year. I draw inspiration from your dedication to the sustainable transformation of the campus.”