Environment: eight AgroParisTech students call on their classmates to “desert”

We could call them the “deserting engineers”. Eight agricultural engineering students from the prestigious AgroParisTech school made public, on the evening of Tuesday May 10, a video of their graduation in which they called on their classmates to branch off.

“We don’t see ourselves as the talents of a sustainable planet”

“We don’t see ourselves as the talents of a sustainable planet”, they said during the ceremony held on April 30. “Several of us do not want to pretend to be proud and deserving of obtaining this diploma at the end of a training which globally pushes to participate in the social and ecological devastations in progress”, they then assert from the rostrum.

New graduates express their deep unease with the opportunities for which their training has prepared them. In turn, the students explain the reasons for their indignation “We don’t believe in sustainable development or green growth”, they explain, refusing to consider the current capitalistic model as compatible with the climate emergency.

For just over seven minutes, they denounce “agribusiness”, “destructive jobs” for which they are intended, which “harm by serving the interests of the few”. He castigates the “so-called green energies which make it possible to accelerate the digitization of society while polluting and exploiting on the other side of the world”.

→ REREAD. What if “eco-anxiety” was good?

The speech immediately sparked a wave of reactions. On social networks, the counter of the number of views is racing to the point of exceeding a little the students who did not expect to find so many echoes.

A few weeks before the legislative elections, the leader of La France insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, did not hesitate to relay the video himself on his Twitter account: ” Listen to this. The greatest hope, commented the one who already projects himself at the head of the government.

In the academic spheres too, the discourse hits the mark. Researcher François Gemenne (University of Liège), and contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) rented a “speech of exceptional power”.“In all the big schools and universities, there is something happening,” he assures.

protest movements

This is not the first time that the prestigious school has been talked about. Last March, nearly 200 students organized a blockade in front of their establishment located in Grignon (Yvelines). For nearly two weeks, they held a blockade to denounce this project of takeover by a private company, recalling their attachment to this place. “symbol of agroecology”. The concreting of their 300 hectare campus would put, according to them, “at risk a unique ecosystem and biodiversity “.

→ INVESTIGATION. Climate, young French people “come into resistance”

This new episode is more broadly part of a movement of massive mobilization in recent years of young generations on climate issues. A movement that also affects the big schools.

In October 2018 several students from Polytechnique, HEC, ENS or AgroParisTech had called in a joint manifesto to “questioning our comfort zone so that society changes profoundly (…). And this notably involves the choice of the future employer”.


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