The ecoresponible mission of Université Côte d’Azur

Publié le 7 novembre 2022 Mis à jour le 7 novembre 2022

Emilie Demoineta, relying on student's input
a Université Côte d'Azur, Mission Eco-responsable

Human activities are the cause of global warming, the consequences of which are dramatic for the planet, biodiversity and for future generations. (IPCC report). To limit this temperature rise to 1.5°C at the end of the century, it is necessary to halve global carbon emissions by 2030 compared to current levels. If the average footprint of a French citizen is currently 10 tons of CO2eq per year, it will have to be limited to 2 tons of CO2 per year by 2050. The individual, collective and institutional behavior changes to be made are therefore profound and important. To support these changes and make sustainable, desirable and attractive our futures, the university has an essential role to play: both in terms of awareness-raising and training, but also by proposing concrete solutions tested for the entire university community (students, staff, researchers, teachers, etc.) and replicable elsewhere in the territories.
Thus, Université Côte d'Azur adopted an eco-responsible mission 4 years ago, the aim of which is to support these behavior changes but also to take advantage of the diversity of university players to make its campuses and university sites, participatory and collaborative testing grounds, places of co-creation, sharing, cohesion and innovation in order to make them demonstrators of tomorrow open to the territory in association with the local ecosystem (associations , communities, citizens, etc.). It is particularly essential to work on this common collective by taking advantage of and promoting the expertise of the skills present at the university, with accessible, desirable and locally achievable solutions taking into account the specificities of each territory.
For this we offer for the entire university community (i) awareness-raising actions and participatory and fun activities (climate issues, carbon footprint, zero waste and eco-responsible behavior, actions to develop the use of soft mobility, festival ..) (ii) concrete local and replicable actions in connection with training and research: “repair café” (place of co-repair), low-tech workshops and experimentation, composting and vermicomposting on campuses, setting up of participatory gardens inspired by the principles of permaculture (promoting biodiversity and food accessible to all), DIY workshops to make durable and useful objects from materials considered as waste, upcycling (from university event materials : tarpaulins, etc.), arts and waste workshops. (iii) sharing of good practices, ideas and projects through the networks in which UCA is involved: UniC network, Agir ensemble label, etc. (iv) finally we are working on larger issues such as sustainable food, promotion of soft mobility, setting up responsible events on campuses and research laboratories, questioning the use of digital technology.
If proposing and experimenting concrete local solutions to support these changes in behavior in the face of these socio-ecological issues for and with all university actors seems essential to us to inspire, federate, create links, and move on to action, a lot of work remains to be done, particularly at the level of the institution that is the university. Indeed, it seems decisive to rethink its organization in order to place these socio-ecological issues as a priority, within a transversal, participative dynamic with a representation of all the actors and actresses of the university, but also with appropriate human and financial resources.
  1. Work on a transversal organization directly linked to governance: with a multi-party college, where all individuals (students, staff) but also with each direction, structures and training will be formed, and will be able to propose and co-construct these desirable futures both for the university and for the students leaving their training.
  2. Generalize to the entire university community awareness and training in socio-ecological issues throughout the year for all, adapted to the level of study, professions, through a base of multidisciplinary knowledge, tests and very concrete actions that can be carried out on campus and can be duplicated elsewhere in the territory, but also by allowing students to engage later in jobs that make sense, taking into account these socio-ecological issues. Awareness and training tools will also have to be adapted for students, who during their studies have a relatively low carbon footprint (little use of polluting transport, in relation to the limited energy bill as well as food) of the fact of the precariousness that affects them, by increasing awareness of digital technology and the impact of low-cost mass consumption (purchases of clothing that are not very responsible and emit high levels of CO2, etc.).
  3. Allow and value the involvement of each actor in the university: their ideas and motivations are present and important, valuing these motivations will make it possible to co-build these desirable futures and strengthen cohesion between individuals .
  4. Make the university more exemplary: waste management, food on campus, responsible purchasing and digital, where lots of issues are still present.
Thus, if the dynamic is launched, tackling these socio-ecological issues within a university is an opportunity to rethink its functioning, enhance the participatory and collaborative dynamic, value individuals in order to build together a desirable common future. and desired, where everyone will find meaning.