In the year 2017 the RUW year theme is “Ecovision”. In the activities we organize over the year will look from an interdisciplinary perspective at the different visions, agreements and developments related to sustainability and how these ecovisions are put into practice.
With the eye on big challenges and uncertainties, mainly concerning climate change, the world is shifting more and more towards a vision with focus on environmental, economical and social sustainability.
We see the following 4 trends underpinning this shift towards green thinking:
1. On 12 December 2015, 196 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Paris Climate Agreement, a new framework for an internationally coordinated effort to address climate change. The Agreement represents the culmination of six years of international climate change negotiations and was reached under intense international pressure to avoid a repeat failure of the Copenhagen conference in 2009. Among others, the Agreement establishes a global warming goal of 1.5°C or well below 2°C on pre-industrial averages. A coordinator of RUW Foundation attended the conference and organized a panel discussion on the impact for Wageningen.
2. Parallel to the Paris Agreement, there are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which follow and expand on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The SDGs are an universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years
3. Pope Francis published an encyclical titled “Laudato Si: On Care For Our Common Home”, dedicated to the relationship between humanity and nature. This is a fundamental shift in how the Catholic Church approaches nature and covers issues as broad as the environmental limits to growth, climate justice, overdevelopment and the role of humanity as a part instead of a ruler of nature. The RUW Foundation Sustainability Book Club has read and discussed this extraordinary document.
4. Academics have discovered a new geological era: The anthropocene. This is a period of time in which humanity acts as the main driver of environmental change. In essence the anthropocene means that the fate of humanity and the fate of Earth have become one. This changes the role of COP21 Paris agreement and the SDGs from alterations to the current trajectory of development to a reconsideration and re-imagination of how humanity shapes its future. A new time requires a new ecovision. Recent developments, such as the refugee crisis and growing resource scarcities, force people and governments not only to think about possible solutions but also to take action on global, national and regional levels. In the anthropocene problems can no longer be tackled in isolation and require a coherent and integrated approach.
The combination of these 4 trends resulted in the year theme 2017: Ecovision. We believe it is important to discuss and shed an extra light on the global challenges and related policies and developments, as well as local and regional initiatives. In 2017 RUW will function as a vehicle for sharing and creating eco-visions.
As always, RUW Foundation does not take a position in the debates and discussions. However, as an organisation with a strong focus on sustainability we would like to give students of Wageningen University the opportunity to learn more about and actively engage in sustainable practices through lectures, excursions, workshops, debates and the screening of movies and documentaries.
A new time requires a new ecovision
In 2017 RUW Foundation aims to:
- Discuss the current and future challenges and uncertainties that require vision in an interdisciplinary perspective;
- Critically explore and debate the different (recent) developments and agreements concerning sustainable visions, ideas and practices in a social, economic and political context on global, national and regional levels;
- Give recent research and innovative solutions a platform to inspire students by presenting their ideas on sustainable development;
- Invite governments, companies, institutions and other actors that carry responsibility in the development and execution of sustainability to bridge the gap between science, education and practice.
In this manner RUW foundation wants to inspire students to deepen and broaden their understanding of topics related to sustainability, to use and share their knowledge and to learn from people with other professional backgrounds. In short: Create Conscious People Through Critical Content.