Scientist and activist team up against climate change

wetenschapper en activist

'We are the first generation to see what sea level rise is doing, but also the last to be able to do anything about it.' For Werner Schouten, president of the Youth Climate Movement (Jonge Klimaatbeweging, JKB), there is still a lot of work to be done to bring facts about climate change from scientific research down to politics and society.

In the spring edition of NWO's magazine, Onderzoek, young people talk about (career) choices they have made to pursue their ideals. In the field of climate, for example. Opposite Werner Schouten, who as a 22 year old with 'his' JKB unites the voice of more than fifty youth organisations in the field of climate policy, stands climate physicist Erwin Lambert who chose the scientific route. Researcher Lambert develops climate models to accurately calculate how the ice cap near Antarctica is melting. He tries to make sure that governments have all the necessary knowledge, but keeps his distance from politics.

Active lobby

Schouten is, on the other hand, active in politics and business and is lobbying actively. Last autumn, he was at the Catshuis to plead with Prime Minister Mark Rutte for a more active climate policy. He also regularly joins with the Social and Economic Council (SER) and the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). ‘If we want to do something about the greenhouse effect and really get to zero CO2 emissions in 2050, we need to take action now,' he says in Onderzoek. 'My motivation to take action via a societal route has to do with a sense of justice.'

Werner Schouten

My motivation to take action via a societal route has to do with a sense of justice.

Werner Schouten, president of the Youth Climate Movement

Prevention and adaptation

This action is not only necessary to prevent further climate change ('mitigation'), but also to allow society to adapt to the consequences. Schouten sees scientists as allies in his mission. He is therefore pleased to kick off a matchmaking meeting on Friday 16 April around the call ‘Climate Adaptation and Health’, by the Dutch Research Agenda (Nationale Wetenschapsagenda, NWA). The purpose of this call, for which the NWA has made 4.3 million euros available, is to develop options for action in order to adapt to the consequences of climate change, with a focus on health and a healthy living environment in the Netherlands. Projects are aimed at 'adaptation measures', which must take shape at the intersection of the physical, social and healthcare domains.

Matchmaking 16 April

NWO organises this matchmaking in order to connect researchers and practitioners from all these domains, so they can come up with innovative research ideas together. The morning program will focus on introducing the call and the overarching aspects of climate adaptation and health, with participants jointly exploring key challenges. In the afternoon program there will be plenty of room to discuss and explore new research ideas in smaller groups around specific themes.

Registration for this meeting is still possible, please go to the special online platform.