Climate change: creating creative knowledge to help societies transform themselves

On 1 and 7 December in the UNESCO Pavilion of the Espaces Générations Climat, COP21, Le Bourget (France) the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme organized events focused on social transformation in the face of climate change. Cooperation between disciplines and between the various actors - and the inclusion of new actors – were at the centre of the discussions. The MOST Programme would like to contribute in a structural way to a better understanding of climate change and mobilize the actors, especially youth, towards the transformation of our societies.

The activities of 1 December were devoted to an understanding and knowledge of climate change. Social entrepreneurship, the social and human sciences, the earth sciences and the arts presented their contributions in the face of the societal challenges of representation and appropriation posed by climate change – in the long term and at the global level.

Helping societies to transform themselves means giving them a deep knowledge of climate change, not as a problem for which humanity must find a technical solution, but as a perennial situation, the structural workings of which we must understand and in which we must learn to live.

The following participants contributed to the discussions:

  • Patrick Degeorges (prospective and strategy, MEDDE), Henriette Walter (linguist), Eva Moreno (Paleo-climatologist, MNHN);
  • Guy Denning (plastics artist), Naziha Mestaoui (digital artist), Chris Morin – Eitner (plastics artist)  and Bertrand Piccard (Aeronaut, Solar Impulse); 
  • Donald Brown (Professor, Penn State), Virginie Maris (philosopher and researcher, CNRS), Luka Omladič (working group on environmental ethics, COMEST), Rainier Ibana (Vice-president, COMEST), Jayanti Kirpalani (Director, Brahma Kumaris University);
  • Heide Hackmann (Executive Director, International Council for Science), Mathieu Denis (Executive Director, International Social Science Council), Lydie Laigle (Research Director, Université Paris-Est);
  • Tristan Lecomte (Founder, Alter Eco and Pur Projet), Maxime de Rostolan (President, Bluebees;  Director, Fermes d’avenir), Emmanuel Soulias (Director, Enercoop).

The second day (7 December) organized by the MOST Programme was devoted to the mobilisation of societies in the face of climate change – through the arts, the media and the mechanisms of international relations and law.

Society has many levers for action to transform itself politically, economically and socially. The MOST Programme sought to highlight its activities connected with youth, specifically: the simulation of climate negotiations ‘Make It Work’ and the online music competition ‘Global Challenges Youth Music Contest’, organized with the support of the secretariat of the UNFCCC, and in partnership with the NGO IAAI.

Youth represents the most legitimate population to express its vision of a sustainable and desirable world , as well as to lead the social transformations that it wants to see happen. The MOST Programme is providing the resources and space for the expression needed for the formulation of projects and responses given by youth.

The discussions took place with the participation of:

  • Bénédicte Niel, Rémy Ruat and Clément Métivier (participants in the Make It Work simulation);
  • Eystein Jansen and Tore Furevik (researchers, Bjerknes Center for Climate Research),  Kira Vinke (Analyst, Potsdam Institute for Climate Research), Thomas Pogge (Director, Global Justice Program, University of Yale), Michael Gerrard (Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, University of Columbia), Jaap Spier (Attorney-General, Netherlands Supreme Court), Antonio Benjamin (Judge, Brazilian Supreme Court) ;
  • Gabriele Köhler (associate researcher, UNRISD), Alberto Cimadamore (Scientific Director, CROP, ISSC-UiB), Sascha Gabizon (Executive Director, Women in Europe for a Common Future international network) ;
  • Miroslav Polzer (Director, IAAI), Adeline Suwana (winner of public’s prize, GYMC competition), Martinez (winner of jury’s prize, GYMC competition), Mohammad Bakhrieba (Fonder, Call of Culture) and Siamak Sam Loni (Global Coordinator, Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth Initiative) ;
  • Franck Vogel (photojournalist), Susie Crate (Anthropologist), Seth Kramer and Daniel A. Miller (directors of film The Anthropologist).