With an emphasis on solutions to the environmental crisis, Ecologues creates a much-needed space to debate and educate.
Speakers from the first Ecologues meeting with staff members from The American Library in Paris and News Decoder.
If you follow the headlines, the climate crisis is everything, everywhere, all at once. Even for those active and passionate about climate issues, it’s easy to become oversaturated by the steady barrage of environmental disasters, striking scientific reports and dead-end intergovernmental decision-making — which is why we created Ecologues.
Hosted by the American Library in Paris, the Climate Academy and News Decoder, Ecologues convenes climate experts, educators, activists and reporters to help us step back, contextualize and debate various aspects of the environmental crisis.
Launched in January 2023, the series creates a space for dialogue among those active in the sustainability community, as well as the general public looking for a forum to go deeper into the issues and examine solutions to these unanswerable questions.
“I really wanted to be in an academic setting discussing these important issues and how professionals that have studied their entire lives view it and what they think the solutions are,” one attendee said. “That way it doesn’t seem like the world will end in my lifetime.”
Up next: the energy question
After previous conversations examined the origins of the climate crisis and environmental justice, the next Ecologues meeting on 30 March explores the question of energy — and of the energy transition from fossil-based to zero-carbon by the second half of this century.
With speakers from think tanks, the cleantech industry and intergovernmental organizations, the discussion will focus on the energy transition in France and globally, efforts to increase energy efficiency and technological innovations in energy, and the political roadblocks to implement them.
- Tom Burke is the co-founding Director and Chairman of E3G Third Generation Environmentalism, a climate change think tank whose goal is to translate climate politics, economics and policies into action.
- Golnoosh Mir Moghtadaei is innovation project manager for Enertime, a French cleantech firm focused on industrial energy efficiency and decarbonisation, and France’s country representative for YES-Europe, which connects young passionate people interested in energy and sustainability.
- Andreas Rüdinger is coordinator for the energy transition in France at IDDRI, a think tank whose mission is to put sustainable development at the heart of international relations and public and private policies.
- Emi Bertoli works as an energy analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris, focusing on policy-relevant research on digitalisation, demand side resources and energy efficiency.
The format of Ecologues encourages active participation and debate. In the first half of the conversation, the panelists will discuss and debate the issues with the moderator. Then the floor opens to questions and comments from the audience.
Who is responsible?
In each Ecologues meeting thus far, a recurring theme has been how much of the responsibility to address climate change falls on individuals versus governments and corporations, and how that question of responsibility impacts young people in particular.
“I come from a generation where we still do not know if we are doing enough,” said Floriane Marié, a climate educator with the Office of Climate Education and speaker on the Environmental Justice panel last month. “Responsibility at the individual level creates a lot of eco-anxiety, and I think this is also a key challenge in our generation.”
The challenge exists for educators as well.
“Schools tend to do climate and environmental things on an individual basis,” said Matthew Pye, philosophy teacher and co-founder of the Climate Academy, an Ecologues partner. “So, individual problems, individual actions. What’s really missing in educational things about the crisis is a systems-level view.”
Supporting climate change education
Ecologues is part of The Writing’s on the Wall (WoW) climate education project funded by Erasmus+. A central aim of WoW is to help educators teach about climate change with the systems-level perspective emphasized by Pye.
A 2021 UNESCO study found that although 95% of teachers consider climate change education important to teach, only 40% feel confident to teach it. And it is not only teachers who feel let down. In a 2019 survey, Eurobarometer — which captures public opinion in the European Union — found that 41% of 15-20 year olds in the EU believe climate change is not adequately taught in schools.
Ecologues is part of the effort to bridge this divide. Each meeting is recorded and shared for future audiences to learn about the topics. We produce summary articles, thematic video clips and accompanying educational materials for educators to use in their classrooms.
In a sea of overwhelming questions, these climate resources help put the focus on solutions and — as one News Decoder student reporter put it — funnel frustration into a force for change.
The third meeting of the Ecologues series — the Energy Question — takes place Thursday, 30 March, 19h00–20h30 CET in-person at the American Library in Paris and online. RSVP at the American Library.