CEMUS Diaries Entry – week 39
Helene Albinus Søgaard
Former CEMUS and Master’s student in Sustainable Development
Project Manager in Technology and Environmental Management at the City of Copenhagen
How will the world look like in year 2100? It is not that far away – human beings born today can still be living at that time. It is the time of our children and granchildren.
Will we as human race have avoided the ever-escalating ecological crises facing our civilization today?: the resource crisis, the climate crisis, the loss of biodiversity worldwide and the loss of top soil, the required ingredient for our food production? What world will we leave our children?
The challenges are grave. Already people around the globe have experienced and experience the growing consequences of droughts, floods, hurricans and crop failures. They know hardship and how it leads to conflicts.
With an increasing interest in these questions and a rising fear for the future I chose to study at CEMUS. As a student there I was surrounded by people who asked these questions – and cared about finding answers. I found myself in the midst of a culture where values, dreams and ideas were burning in the eyes of my fellow students. People at CEMUS have aspirations for the future and dare to hope that we can create a more sustainable world, eventhough, it requires gobal urgent collective action.
An evening at the library in CEMUS people were gathering. They had origins from all around the world, all the world’s continents were represented. The coffee was brewed and the cinnamon buns baked. Outside it was dark – it was way beyond working hours, and the room was filled with an atmosphere of expectations. People were gathereing for a CEMUS roots meeting, where some brought ideas for sustainability projects and others presented what they were working with:
A red-bearded guy talked about his idea starting a folks-kitchen combined with a sustainability debate club. It later became Uppsala Folks kitchen.
Four people talked about setting up a project for teaching sustainability in high schools. This idea was later developed into an educational platform called Ekolibria-beyond the books.
Another guy presented his project for car-sharing in Uppsala with cars driving on biogas.
The creativity was endless and the enthusiasm was visible in so many eyes that night. This is one of the times I remember the best, and one of the things that is unique for CEMUS. It is a place for studying, it is a place for researching, however, its just as much a place for practicing sustainability, so the knowledge and experience gained can spread throughout the world.
Currently, I am working for City of Copenhagen developing strategies for sustainable and green mobility in the municipality. The transport sector in general is lagging behind almost all other sectors in finding the sustainable solutions and reducing its contributions of GHG emissions. However, the sector is evolving faster than any other with new technologies such as electric cars, car sharing and driverless cars, these technological changes can either spur the emissions, or maybe they have the potential to reduce them. The challenges are grave and subversive changes are needed.
The transformation of the transport sector is only one small part of the great transition that is required in order to secure a safe and more sustainable world for the generations to come. This is why it gives me the audacity to hope, when I recall CEMUS and its sharing of sustainability knowledge, experience and expertise. I have great use of this in my job, and I am aware that so have all the others who made their way to CEMUS. CEMUS is a promoter and a part of the urgent collective action that we all need to take part of, if we are to look forward to year 2100 seeking a thriving planet and a prosperous society.
This is a part of the 25th Anniversary blog series “CEMUS Diaries: Stories from past, present and future”, where we invite present and former staff, students, work group members, associates, and other CEMUS friends to reflect on their time at CEMUS and shed critical light into the future. Read the other CEMUS Diaries entries here.