Mercedes Pardo proposes making climate change an opportunity for social metamorphosis

Acte institucional d'inauguraciů del curs 2019-2020 a la UAB

The UAB will dedicate this 2019/20 academic year to climate change. Sociology professor Mercedes Pardo Buendía inaugurated the year by claiming for the need to emphasise the possibility of metamorphosis underlying climate change, instead of being overcomed by panic and paralysis.

18/09/2019

Sociologist Mercedes Pardo Buendía encouraged the public to see climate change as a "timely and necessary social activator" capable of "modifying humanity's expectations" in a master class which inaugurated the 2019/20 academic year at the UAB on 18 September at the Rectorat building. Rector Margarita Arboix affirmed that the university "must make the United Nation's sustainable development goals a main element of its agenda". The UAB will be dedicating this year to the dissemination and awareness-raising of climate change.

Mercedes Pardo, professor at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, lay emphasis on the need to value this opportunity to evolve "from a dirty and geostrategically vulberable energy model to one that is cleaner and safer" instead of being overcome by social panic and paralysis. The guest speaker affirmed that the solutions "cannot be dumped onto the natural sciences: they correspond to the social sciences", and she claimed that in this sense, sociology should focus on the study of social life transformations and not so much on its reproduction, as has been the case of referent sociologists Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu. Professor Pardo ended her speech by stating that societies "must do more, better and quicker", while she also congratulated the UAB for all the measures taken in the sustainabilty field.

Contributing to the Society of the Future

During the institutional speeches, Rector Arboix also pointed out the efforts made by the UAB in this area and its contribution in reaching the objective of "an inclusive, quality and universal education", as well as the research work conducted in search for sustainable resources.

Before however, she began her speech with a reminder of the “unfortunate legal cases against members of the university community for various different campus activities” and she affirmed that taking university activities to court is not the way to solve conflicts”. She also showed concern for the country's current situation: “I do not agree with the almost two years of provisional detention of our Catalan politicians” and expressed her conviction that "dialogue and negotiating must be the framework used to solve the problems we now face”.

Rector Arboix also made use of her speech to once again demand a sustainable financial model for the university system and expressed her satisfaction that the objective is "on the agenda" of the Secretary for Universities and Research and the Ministry for Business and Knowledge. At the same time, she denounced that "our governments' policies" do not contemplate an iincrease in funding for science and innovation. She ended her speech by affirming that "we begin a difficult academic year, but are proud of contributing significantly to the society of the future".

Gabriel Masfurroll, President of the Social Council, praised the results obtained by the UAB in its academic, research and transfer activities, which are reflected in the academic report of the 2018/19 year, presented by the Secretary General of the UAB Rafael Rebollo. Masfurroll spoke particularly to new students and recent graduates to reaffirm that "we are all UABers" and stated that "we must work consistently to make our dream become a reality".

Francesc Xavier Grau, Secretary of Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia, regretted the current situation of blockage within the government administration's budget, but also congratulated the UAB for the results obtained "despite this difficult economic situation" and expressed his wish for the National Pact on Knowledge to contribute to making the university system "the basis of the society of welfare".

Finally, Carlos Cordón, Mayor of Cerdanyola del Vallès, also vindicated the need for an "immediate improvement in university funding, as demanded by the UAB Senate", and affirmed that "there is a need for a grate political and social agreement in favour of a university which guarantees social equity and equal opportunities".

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