Johan Kuylenstierna and Lilian Thuram. Photo: Anna-Karin Landin, Stockholm University.
Johan Kuylenstierna and Lilian Thuram. Photo: Anna-Karin Landin, Stockholm University.

 

When a heart defect stopped the football career for Lilian Thuram, he started the foundation, "Education against Racism". Johan Kuylenstierna is a climate expert and Executive Director for Stockholm Environment Institute. In addition to both being new honorary doctors at Stockholm University, they also have a common interest in climate and migration issues. September 28, they met in a public conversation at Stockholm University.

Johan Kuylenstierna began the conversation by explaining why he would rather not use the term "climate refugee". Climate can be a reason for migration, but not the only reason.

"We have climate-related problems in areas people do not flee from too, we must understand the correlation to other problems, such as poverty," said Johan Kuylenstierna.

Who can leave planet earth?

Lilian Thuram continued the discussion by talking about how people already today are affected by climate change but not able to move.

"Only a minority can leave areas with natural disasters, most of them have to stay and live with the effects of climate change. Such as stronger hurricanes and the raise of sea levels due to warmer oceans," he said.

He continued with parallels to the future, when the entire planet earth is affected, who can then leave?

"We all affect the climate, how we live has an impact on global warming. The climate affects us all, it has no borders”, he continued.

Both honorary doctors agreed that rich countries like France and Sweden have a large responsibility for the climate and how resources are distributed. Johan Kuylenstierna said he has to be an optimist for the future; otherwise he has nothing to hand over to his children. “It is only if we are critical optimists that we can solve the challenges. I am more optimistic now than before, societies and businesses come together and take action to share resources thanks to technology development and more commitment", Kuylenstierna said.

Perspective and representation

Lilian Thuram finished by showing a world map in a different projection than the ones usually shown. A map where Europe is not at the centre and what we say is the south part of the globe is at the top.

"People often say that the map shown like this is upside down, but it's just about perspective and representation and how we have been educated. More and more people are more aware, and therefore I am positive.”

Both will receive their doctorates at a conferment ceremony at the Stockholm City Hall on 29 September. The ceremony and the conversation is broadcasted at www.su.se/play.

After the conversation, students and other in the audience hade the chance to meet and talk to Lilian Thuram and Johan Kuylenstierna.
After the conversation, students and other in the audience hade the chance to meet and talk to Lilian Thuram and Johan Kuylenstierna.