Prof. dr. Louise Vet
Dear new generation of clever students, you probably feel that, soon, the world is all yours! I agree, so what are your plans? To put you on the right track, just remember that we, as humans, are totally dependent on healthy, biodiverse and well-functioning ecosystems. For our food, clean water and air, and for all the goods and services nature delivers. For more than 3.8 billion years, nature has been functioning fine without us but it is us, Homo sapiens that is making a mess on this planet, with our single and destructive focus on economic growth and financial gain. How different is nature’s economy! It is based on system thinking and diversity, on circularity and it is powered by solar energy. So let’s learn from nature and translate its principles to human practice. I promote this transitional change as a scientist, as former-director of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), as professor in Ecology (WUR), in the media, as Chair of the Board of Urgenda, in ‘science for policy’ and while serving in many (inter)national public and private boards and committees on sustainable technology and development, ecosystem restoration. Some examples: I was the driving force behind NIOO’s prize winning sustainable laboratory/office complex (www.nioo.knaw.nl/en/building) and I am presently chairing a large societal coalition on biodiversity recovery in the Netherlands (https://www.samenvoorbiodiversiteit.nl).
What I learn every day is that the challenge is enormous. Yes, we get inspired by the inspiration of positive action. But what is even more needed is the power of a whole new generation of critical and creative minds. That is why I am happy with Storm that motivates students to become the sustainability leaders of tomorrow!
Former-Director Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) & Emeritus Professor in Evolutionary Ecology (WUR).