Professor Marc Davidson about the course Climate Crisis

Marc Davidson
Only Radboud University looks at this subject from the perspective of so many different disciplines
Marc Davidson
Current role
Professor Philosophical ethics and political philosophy

Marc Davidson teaches the sustainable course Climate Crisis. This course is meant for second- and third-year BA students.

The Climate Crisis course in brief … 

Marc Davidson: ‘The course offers a broad view of the current climate crisis. We look at it from the perspective of various disciplines: physics, ecology, economics, psychology, ethics and the political viewpoint. We discuss what the climate crisis means, what hurdles are involved, how we have ended up in a climate crisis and what we ‘should do’ about it, and we consider possible solutions and technologies. The last lecture by no means ends with ready-made answers. Indeed, the course makes very clear that careful thought must be given to the climate crisis due to its complexity.’

This course is relevant because … 

‘The Climate Crisis course has been running for three years. Only Radboud University looks at this subject from the perspective of so many different disciplines. The name of the course led to questions being raised in the House of Representatives by the political party JA21, asking whether the fact that we as a university were labelling the climate crisis as a crisis was indoctrination? I responded with a definition of what a ‘crisis’ means exactly and concluded that it is indeed correct to refer to the climate crisis as a crisis.’

One concrete assignment students will do is … 

‘In my opinion, the most interesting assignment is when students are challenged to go vegan for a week. In total, students need to successfully complete five out of six assignments to pass the course. Most of them choose to take on this assignment. I often hear that this is the little push they needed to do something that they’d already been thinking about. The underlying aim of the assignment is to make students aware of the hurdles they will come up against. Will they find out, for example, that the supermarket round the corner has little to offer in terms of vegan options? Will their parents tell them that eating a vegan diet is nonsense? Or will they discover that it is awkward telling friends at a social gathering that they would prefer a vegan burger on the barbecue? It can be difficult standing out from the crowd in a social context…’

Engaging with sustainability is important … 

‘Absolutely. That’s why I think it’s great that all students can sign up for this course. It is also interesting for me as a lecturer that the students all come from different faculties. As an environmental philosopher and economist, I also try to live sustainably myself and follow a vegan diet as far as possible. I do not fly for work. Many relevant conferences would involve taking the plane, so I do not go to them. I am therefore constantly engaged with sustainability.’ He laughs: ‘Yup, you’ve got to practise what you preach.’

Do you want to know more about the Climate Crisis course?

Read here the testimonial of student Lyndsey Denton-Fray

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