Professor Yunus: "The world is on fire. Young people are the planet's only hope"

Mon, 08 Nov 2021 12:53:00 GMT
Social Innovation and Climate Justice was hosted within the COP26 Green Zone
Social Innovation and Climate Justice was hosted within the COP26 Green Zone

The world is burning and young people are the planet's only hope, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus told Glasgow Caledonian University's second COP26 Green Zone event. 

Young people set the agenda at the session as some of the University's most accomplished students from Glasgow, London, and New York quizzed an expert panel at Glasgow Science Centre. 

Social Innovation and Climate Justice examined how to combat climate change and injustice through social innovation and featured contributions from postgraduate students, researchers and alumni. 

Professor Yunus said: "We are on fire right now and we have very little time left. Glasgow is our last chance.   

"If we fail, our time is over on this planet. The fire is on and it will engulf everything. 

"Young people see things with fresh eyes and fresh minds. The people who are running things are steeped in old ideas. The younger generation must not fall into that trap. 

"We should invite them to take the lead and create a new world for all of us." 

Professor Yunus joined the panel, remotely, alongside GCU Principal Professor Pamela Gillies, climate justice expert Dr Michael Mikulewicz, Dr Olga Biosca, of the Yunus Centre, and Professor Natascha Radclyffe-Thomas, of GCU London, for the session at Glasgow Science Centre, hosted by the broadcaster Sally Magnusson. 

The questions covered a range of issues including the role universities have in achieving net-zero, how best to use data, and how high consumption nations will balance the need for economic growth with their climate change commitments. 

The students also quizzed the panel on how social innovation can mitigate the effects of climate change, practical ways to use micro-finance and the importance of stakeholder integration across industries. 

Professor Pamela Gillies, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of GCU, said: "Universities have to continue to lead on the science of climate change. 

"We have to break out of the old fashioned boundaries and embed the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals in everything we do. 

"We have to work across disciplines to solve the complex, physical, human, and natural problems of this climate emergency."

Watch the full session: