french

Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

Change does not come overnight. Many big corporates around the world go on operating their business ignoring the threat of climate change and the severe impact their firms are having on the environment and people. Students from five top French schools are changing the norms. They have unveiled a manifesto “Wake up call on the environment” to compel French companies to be responsible and sustainable. They refrain from working in companies having a high pollution quotient.

More than 23,000 students from more than 300 French higher education schools have signed the manifesto. It has created the much-needed buzz in French media and business circles, The Fast Company reports.

Corentin Bisot, a student at Ecole Polytechnique, a top engineering college in France, came up with the idea. Bisot made it very clear that their goal is to raise awareness among students towards the power they have which can help companies opt for sustainable choices. The students need to understand that how their choices can impact climate change and ecology. They can choose their employer and make a difference. The manifesto is not meant to boycott polluting companies.

The manifesto reads “Need we remind you? Each of the last three decades has been warmer than the previous one and all the other decades since 1850[I]. In 2018, even the Scandinavian countries have been affected by forest fires of an unusual magnitude[II]. 60% of species in Europe already reached an “unfavourable” conservation status[III] and one-third of humanity is affected by desertification[IV]. As a result of an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, of declining crop yields and rising disease levels, more than 100 million people are likely to fall below the poverty line by 2030[V]. By 2050, 250 million people are expected to migrate due to extreme events related to climate change.”

By putting pressure on French companies to adopt sustainable business models sooner than later, the manifesto’s signatories want to avert the climate crisis. The students who initiated and support the manifesto are mostly from the Grandes Écoles, the French equivalent of the Ivy League.

“We, the signatories of this manifesto, are nevertheless convinced that this bleak picture is not inevitable. Two options are open today. Either we stick to the destructive path our societies have chosen, being content with the commitment of only a minority of people, waiting to sift through its aftermath. Or we take our future into our own hands and collectively decide to anticipate and incorporate social and environmental ambitions into our daily lives and jobs; take action to change direction and avoid stalemate.”

The French students are not taking the easy option. They want to make a big difference collectively. More and more students are joining the green army to change the world. They have mentioned that they do not want to work in an economic system in which they no longer believe and they are hell-bent on transforming it for better.

“We need a new goal, something different from fighting to be able, at all costs, to consume goods and services we can live without. We must place the ecological transition at the core of our social project. We need to give birth to a collective momentum if we want to achieve this. And since the scale of the project requires everyone’s energy, we are prepared to make ours available with enthusiasm and determination. Through our mobilization, we want to encourage all actors in society -public authorities, businesses, individuals, associations- to play their role in this major transformation, and to make the changes necessary to a finally sustainable society.”

 

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