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Opening Event 2019

On 28th of February 2019 the Sustainability Weeks Switzerland (SWS) were officially inaugurated with a festive opening ceremony in Lausanne witnessed by 550 people. The event was titled “System Change, not Climate Change ?!”. Three inputs from illustrious speakers and a following discussion about the different needs and means of change was the heart of the conference. Before, however, the conference was kicked off by the vice presidents of EPFL (Etienne Marclay) and UNIL (Benoît Frund).

Chemistry Nobel laureate Jacques Dubochet on the drastic changes that have taken place in recent years and the major change that we now also need for the climate.

Lucie Arnaudon and Lauriane Masson – the coordinators of the Sustainability Week Lausanne – warmly welcomed the audience and immediately, a positive atmosphere spread in the hall. The vice rectors convinced the audience with their interactive discussion about the engagement of their respective institutes on campus and in general. Afterwards, Simon Liebi, Co-Founder and member of the national core team of the Sustainability Week Switzerland, presented the goals and the core values of the SWS, incorporated by the logo of the SWS: the strong sustainability (see Lauriane then shared with the audience her personal and emotional story of why she is engaged for sustainability.

The evening was organized by the Sustainability Week Switzerland and Semaine de la Durabilité Lausanne.

For 45 minutes, Jacques Dubochet (Nobel Prize Winner), Dominique Bourg (Prof. UNIL) and Payal Parekh (International Climate Campaigner) shared their knowledge and experience about the needs, the means and the reasons for change with the audience. Prof. Dubochet elaborated on the current situation of emergency and the need for drastic, radical change. Prof. Bourg, on the other hand, discussed why societies change, what is needed for change and why he thinks that the current climate strike movement might have a great potential for change. Dr. Parekh finally showed how movements evolve and how momentum is built. The following question and answer session – moderated by Paul Castelain, Vice-President of Unipoly – enabled the audience to address their questions directly to the speakers.

As a final input, a student from EPFL – Joëlle Perreten – took us to the arctic through her very emotional and personal report. She shared her love for the arctic and why it is important to protect it. Thanks to the SV-Group Lausanne, the attendees of the conference had the chance to enjoy a completely vegan apéro, where the discussions continued.

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