What Role do Institutions Play in Climate Change Mitigation?

by Hrishita Rangoonwala, GSD and Business Studies Correspondent

University: Experience that impacts character building in amplitudes that few institutions can come to par with.

Generating a sense of personal responsibility towards climate change mitigation in youth is a small yet important piece in the green technology and progressive public policy development puzzles. Universities are a tool to accelerate personal growth and development within individuals. Using these institutions to inculcate sustainable values and civic sense amongst youth supports the process of making the mitigation of climate change a personal responsibility. This would then ripple into inducing behavioural change and the normalisation of sustainable lifestyles on a national scale, along with spurring growth in green sectors. 

By nudging students towards green innovation development through sustainable technology and policy societies, where people with shared interests can come together to build and innovate, sustainable behaviour and a sense of personal responsibility, a key driver of climate change mitigation, is promoted. Another incentive would be for businesses to launch sustainable technology competitions in universities, which along with promoting green thinking addresses the social aspect by providing a desirable reward. Attaching the development of green technology with a positive social identity can motivate individuals to invest in this field, as well as accelerate growth and development. 

For instance, Elon Musk launched a SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition mainly aimed at university students, which redirects youth focus to building efficient sustainable technology. Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system proposed by Elon Musk, which has the potential to reach a speed of 1200 km/h, cutting the 8-hour London-Edinburgh train journey, to 35 minutes.

Another example is the European Hyperloop Week (EHW), which was formulated to develop a forward-thinking and unified approach to hyperloop technology innovation. Universities across the continent are encouraged to partake in this competition. People are motivated by the rewards, resulting in the creation of a global community of innovators working towards sustainable technology. Warwick Hyperloop was the first English team to participate in Elon musk’s SpaceX competition and qualified in the top 35 out of 1600+ applicants. They were finalists in EHW last year and have cleared the second stage in the ongoing EHW 2023 competition. They aim to create scalable hyperloop designs, focusing on manufacturing and assembly. Currently a growing team of 45, they are creating a space to inspire other individuals to move towards a future of greener technology and sustainable living.

Therefore, through innovations like these, a broader sense of awareness is created within society, decentralising the process of climate change mitigation. Making local change is key to tackling the global climate crisis society is facing today, and universities are creating the platform for individuals to make the vital transition.

Header image by Marvin Meyer via Unsplash

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