Green Young Academy: Towards a climate-proof future for Dutch academia

The Green Young Academie (GrYA) is a national partnership for climate action and initiatives within Dutch academia.

In Dutch

Universities act as role models within society as drivers of the transition to a green future. Currently, Dutch universities are developing various initiatives, but largely independently of one another. This means support and efficiency are lost, the wheel is reinvented all too often, and ambitions are not nearly as high as they could be and indeed should be. This fragmented approach unfortunately generates only fragile public support for implementing changes that are badly needed – and that includes within Dutch academia.

To genuinely meet the climate challenge that faces us, an inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary approach is essential. The Green Young Academy brings together knowledge and expertise from The Young Academy and all the local Young Academies in the Netherlands, has direct links to local university leaders, and can thus boost the impact of climate initiatives.

The Green Young Academy is initially focusing on three projects:

1) Faster towards a carbon-neutral academia

Dutch universities' climate targets and plans are often hard to find, troublesome to compare, and impossible to verify. The level of ambition also often leaves much to be desired: many universities take as their deadline for climate neutrality only the legally required target of 2050. This project compares the climate plans of the various Dutch universities, subjects them to critical scrutiny, and proposes a more ambitious way forward. The report is expected to be published at the end of 2024.

2) Towards an ‘Academic Green New Deal’

What does it mean to be a climate-proof university within the Dutch academic landscape? In dialogue with a range of stakeholders, we are developing an 'Academic Green New Deal': a vision document setting out principles and goals to which universities can commit by signing up for it publicly. The document will provide guidance on pressing issues such as dealing with research investment by fossil parties, plans for climate-neutral universities, and support for climate education.

3) Climate education for all?

The aim of this project is to produce a nationwide survey of existing climate education courses, to look for overlap and opportunities for greater depth, to make existing teaching materials accessible and comprehensible, and to initiate national discussion of the desirability and necessity of climate education for every student.
Creating a climate-proof Dutch academia begins by ensuring that we all understand the challenges that face us. The current climate discussion is often narrow, and solutions are too often sought within a relatively small number of disciplines in the exact and natural sciences. However, the climate crisis is so pervasive that every discipline can contribute – from physics and chemistry to anthropology and psychology, from national and international law to economics and the arts. Only in this way can we develop a multi-faceted climate policy and generate broad support.

Members involved

The following members of The Young Academy are involved: Rogier Kievit (project coordinator), Sanli Faez, Irene Dedoussi, Liesbeth van de Grift, Daphina Misiedjan, Erik van Sebille.

The following members of local Young Academies are involved: Anne Urai (YAL, co-chair) Sanne Akerboom (UYA), Pieter Bakx (YEA), Ward Rauws (YAG/DJA), Janosch Prinz (MYA), Marie Deserno (AYA), Johanna Koehler (AYA), Chris Baeumer (YA@UT), Jim Portegies (EYEA/DJA), Cees Haringa (DYA), Evelien de Olde (WYA), Kevin van Schie (TYA)



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