These are (also) things that can save us from the climate crisis

The engineer in decline, a reinvented profession

These are two words that don’t match… It must be said that engineering is usually associated with industrial projects, excellent development engines. But even in the most prestigious engineering incubators, the alternative path is generating more and more noise. What if these prestigious degrees supported a job other than the market economy and high-tech race? And if these high-level qualifications were put into service “simple and sustainable technical solutions”, to quote the highly remarkable speech of student Clément Choisne at the Centrale Nantes graduation ceremony in 2018. A laboratory “descended” for experiments and research near Budapest, Hungary, has become a landmark for these young graduates who want to reinvent their profession. . Founded in 2012 by the French engineer Vincent Liegey, Cargonomia offers an experience with a surprising program: farm work, the experience of agroecological techniques, the distribution of vegetable baskets and, above all, a good exchange and thoughts about the world. tomorrow. So, specifically, the engineer is in decline, quesako? The profession, which is still in its larval stage, consists of designing facilities, systems, techniques or services that consume less energy and pollute less. The fields of application are diverse: permaculture, urban agroforestry, cargo bikes and generally everything related to low technology.

Geo-engineering expert, Promethean solution

There are those who want to prevent the disaster, and there are those who want to treat its symptoms. If greenhouse gas emissions can’t be reduced in time to stop global warming, some scientists have a plan B: geoengineering. First proposed by Dutch meteorologist Paul Crutzen in 2006, this approach relies on a large-scale arsenal of techniques designed to artificially alter the Earth’s climate. It is divided into two main methods: partial filtering of solar radiation on the one hand, and CO2 capture and sequestration on the other. First, it aims to cool the planet by sending a large part of the solar rays coming into the atmosphere back into space in different ways. Condemned by some as a practice worthy of sorcerer’s apprentices, solar geoengineering has been the subject of numerous scientific publications aimed at demonstrating the significant risks associated with it. As for carbon sequestration, it involves removing the carbon released at the output of gas or coal-fired power plants and then storing it in land, oceans, or vegetation. Although it is considered less risky, it still has to prove itself. The various experimental projects carried out so far have proven to be prohibitively expensive and ineffective. So there is still work to be done!

Lawyer specializing in the environment as a weapon of law

Environmental law is rising in universities. Over the past decade, the number of students seeking admission to specialized master’s degrees has continued to grow. The reason for this enthusiasm? Apprentice lawyers become more aware of environmental protection. The fight against the industrial group DuPont has recently become the subject of biographies – like the activist Erin Brockovich or the lawyer Robert Billott. Dark waters -, tomorrow’s lawyers want to turn the law into a weapon of mass defense. For now, it must be said that criminal proceedings for environmental damage are still rare. According to a recent study by the French Ministry of Justice, they do not even represent 1% of the activities of prosecutorial authorities. However, things can change rapidly as more and more high-profile cases emerge, such as the historic decision of the Paris administrative court on February 3, 2021. In what has been described as “France’s first major climate trial”, the courts found the state “guilty” of failing to meet its greenhouse gas reduction commitments between 2015 and 2018.

Impact analyst, fund differently

Making sense of the economy is what so-called “impact” finance offers. More ambitious than sustainable finance, this investment strategy meets two equally important goals: generating financial performance and creating a positive social and environmental impact. Thus, an investment fund dedicated to this practice might, for example, include among its assets a company that provides solar energy to homes with limited access to electricity. With ten years of strong growth, impact funding now lists nearly a hundred private funds in France alone. All over the world, to GIIN (international networkimpact investing), currently more than 500 billion dollars are managed by this principle. Asset managers need the very special skills of an impact analyst to determine where to responsibly invest all that money. Unlike the ESG analyst, who is now an established player in sustainable finance, the impact analyst is not only concerned with environmental and social aspects of risk. It goes further and ensures that the solutions proposed by the supported company meet a specific goal, such as reducing social inequality, protecting biodiversity or even reducing global warming… Could a virtuous financial model be possible?

City planners, architects, civil engineers: at the heart of the War Room

These are the numbers everyone agrees on: by 2050, at least two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. A champion in all categories of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the city occupies a little more space on the planet every day. In France, where urbanization is the fastest in the world, about 60,000 hectares of agricultural land disappear under concrete every year. In a newspaper column The world In November 2021, city architect Albert Lévy insisted there was an urgent need. “Urban Big Bang”to know “Overhaul of urban planning is underway” to answer their calls “Global warming and its disastrous consequences”. Far from proving him wrong, the United Nations Environment Program published a report in 2018 with equally relevant emphases: “Fundamental New Approach” When it comes to urban design, the UN’s famous Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved. In response to these challenges, courses in urban planning, architecture and civil engineering are gradually making sustainability a new priority. Bio-sourced materials, building resilience, reuse of existing structures, third places, urban greening… What if they were the professionals best placed to save us from the climate crisis?

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