S4F- Twente Newsletter May 2023

Dear supporter of Scientists4Future-Twente,

Welcome to the May-2023 edition of the S4F-Twente Newsletter. We are happy that you are supporting us. Reach out to people that share your concerns: meet us in one of the activities that are described here or forward this Newsletter to others!

Contents of this newsletter:

  • Join Scientists4Future-Twente as an active supporter
  • UT launches Climate Centre: input welcome!
  • UT Dies Natalis 2023
  • Beyond Growth 2023 Conference in the European Parliament
  • UT Sustainability Dialogue
  • Petition for mandatory climate education
  • Public reading IPCC report on campus (3 April 2023)
  • Faculty annual plans
  • Green Hub Twente “Green talks”
  • Cycling 4 Climate (19 June; 15 Sept)
  • Fireside chats (online)
  • A book worth reading: “The Climate Book”, by Greta Thunberg
  • An article worth reading: “Point of View: Rethinking academia in a time of climate crisis”
  • Blogpost blue-green infrastructure
  • S4F-Twente lunch meetings
  • Calendar

Join Scientists4Future-Twente as an active supporter

The S4F-Twente Core group is looking for people who would like to join and help coordinate the activities of S4F-Twente. Some members have other obligations and aside from that it would be good to have some ‘fresh blood’ in the organisation. If you feel like doing a bit more, be part of the bi-weekly online meetings to hear what’s going on and add your ideas and suggestions, feel free to sign up by sending an email.

UT launches Climate Centre: input welcome!

The UT launched its new Climate Centre at the Dies Natalis on Friday, 12 May. The centre will play a major role in the university’s ambitions in education, research and valorisation for climate issues. The team to build the cross-faculty Climate Centre is formed by University Professor Albert van den Berg with Freek van der Meer (the Dean of the UT’s Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation ITC), Cheryl de Boer (see the interview, in Dutch) and Miriam Luizink.

The Climate Centre welcomes input from students, staff and partners who are willing to contribute to climate solutions through concerted actions, knowledge, and expertise development. Therefore, your input is welcomed. Take a look at to learn more.

  • Seed funding: call for proposals

As one of its first actions, the Climate Centre is pleased to announce a call for proposals for seed funding to support climate-related projects by staff and students at UT. The centre aims to support projects that can (but are not limited to) contribute to developing expertise in using a geo-techno-social approach for climate solutions. The projects can be research and education-related and can cover a range of topics related to addressing the climate crisis. Learn more about how to apply here.

UT Dies natalis 2023

Watch the keynote speech of Frans Timmermans at the UT on 12 May, about the climate crisis, time, Herodotus and the pyramids, saving humanity, and instant gratification. “Doing nothing would just mean decline, more problems, and more costly solutions. This should be the core of politics today. (…) Being locked in the here and now is a threat. Be good ancestors; for that, we have to start changing now.” He noticed the idealism and focus of young students that want positive change towards a sustainable society and a liveable future, and that we shouldn’t exclude people from the dialogue!

Beyond Growth 2023 Conference in the European Parliament

The Beyond Growth 2023 Conference is a multi-stakeholder event aiming to discuss and co-create policies for sustainable prosperity in Europe, based on a systemic and transformative approach to economic, social and environmental sustainability and its encompassing governance framework.

While there is already no doubt that climate change is happening and that it’s bad, there is still quite a bit of controversy about what humans can do about that. Perhaps one of the most radical (and obvious) approaches is to scale back the size of the human enterprise on planet Earth, reducing our population and consumption. For quite some time this has been the essence of the degrowth idea, which goes back to Thomas Malthus and, more recently, ideas of Herman Daly’s steady-state economics. It looks like in Europe the concept is finding some ground now with a rather high-ranking conference that took place in May in Brussels at the European parliament with prominent people attending, including the president of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen. You can find the pitches of speakers (Jason Hickel, Sandrine Dixson-Declève, and many others) in the link, which also gives a good overview of the interesting topics that were discussed (all with their own video). Chances are that we are reaching a turning point for ecological economic policies to shift the EU’s policies (and beyond the EU) from quantitative growth for the sake of growth, to qualitative well-being for all within planetary boundaries! The opening session is recorded and available online.

UT Sustainability Dialogue

The UT Sustainability Dialogue aims (1) to discuss how we as UT contribute to “the development of a fair, sustainable and digital society between now and 2030” (from Shaping 2030), and (2) to ensure we honour the imperative for change and action on climate and sustainability coming from invested UT community members (bottom-up, grass-roots). The previous in-depth session (23 May) dealt with the university campus as a closed system with its own ‘metabolism’ of inflows, throughput and outflows of ecosystem services and resources that the UT produces and consumes.

The next two sessions are on

  • June 14, 16:30-18:30 at Design Lab: IDEATE, about UT system transformation, and
  • June 27, 08:30-10:30 at Design Lab: LEARN-X/INSPIRE. This last session before the summer is an “Executive action breakfast meeting” / roundup session.

Notes from the previous sessions are available online. If you want to be added to the mailing list and receive invitations, you can register.

Petition for mandatory climate education in all Higher Education curricula in the Netherlands

An open letter endorsed by Scientist Rebellion Netherlands and Scientists4Future Netherlands (7 May 2023): “Addressing the Elephant in the Lecture Hall: Climate Education Now” can be found online for you to sign. “Higher education institutions have a duty to educate students and to foster their development as responsible members of society. We are convinced this implies preparing the students to face the challenges posed by the climate and ecological crisis and equipping them to lead and effect change.”

Public reading IPCC report on campus (3 April 2023)

On 3 April, when the sirens rehearsed at noon, Scientist4Future-Twente called out the “climate alarm” and we started a public reading on campus. UT scientists and students did a “relay session”, reading the AR6 Synthesis IPCC report out loud, in Ravelijn (Atrium) and on the O&O square. You can see some of the readers in the provided pictures here. We printed figures from the report on posters and talked with people passing by. Some other universities also organised public readings.

Faculty annual plans

The Faculty S&T has committed itself in its 2023 annual plan to reduce its CO2 footprint:

  • Reducing S&T’s CO2 footprint by promoting less flying;
  • Introduction of CO2 compensation measures for air travel: for each flight <800km €100, for each flight 800-2500 km €200; for each flight >2500km €500 from a research group or educational program budget into a ‘sustainability bank’ for train travel and other more sustainable mobility alternatives.

We applaud this initiative! How about your faculty or organisation? If you don’t know, get the discussion going by asking about the goals!

Green Hub Twente “Green talks”

The “Green talks” podcast series to voice the opinions of UT researchers has new episodes.

Cycling 4 Climate (19 June; 15 Sept)

On 19 June, Cycling 4 Climate cyclists will cycle along the coastline that is created in the Netherlands when the sea level rises too far.

More than 1,000 sustainable cyclists will cycle nearly 400 kilometers, along the foreseen coastline that as far as Cycling 4 Climate is concerned should never become reality: “We can no longer wait to draw attention to the rising sea level and its consequences for the entire Randstad area and some 9 million Dutch citizens. Last century, the sea level already rose by 20 centimeters. This century, there is a risk of a further 80 centimeters being added. We must prevent this at all costs.” On 15 September (provisional date), the UT, in cooperation with Cycling 4 Climate and S4F-Twente, organises a cycling tour through our wonderful province of Overijssel. During the tour, locations with projects related to sustainability or renewable energy will be visited. More info will follow in the next S4F-Twente Newsletter.

Fireside chats (online) 

About once a month we organise a fireside chat; an informal online meeting of supporters of S4F-Twente. You are welcome to join! The next fireside chat is on Wednesday, from 20:30-22:00 (online). Topic: “Degrowth” (see also “Beyond Growth 2023 Conference” in this newsletter).

The 19-April fireside chat was on water management and heat resilience, as a follow-up from a session last fall. After Caroline van Bers (SBD) gave a very nice introduction, we had a very good discussion on the implications of our city under heating conditions due to climate change and what to do to safeguard a sufficient water supply.

The 24-May fireside chat, introduced by Frieder Mugele (S&T) was about the relationship between oil and gas companies and universities and researchers. One of the ideas in the discussion was to set up an ethical screening of all new projects (comparable to the work of the Ethics committees at some faculties, that facilitate and monitor the ethical conduct of research).

The link to the next meeting (and more information) is sent around in the Teams environment of the fireside chat. If you want to join, please send an email to Alexey.

A book worth reading: “The Climate Book”, by Greta Thunberg

The 446 pages of the Climate Book by Greta Thunberg contain a large collection of essays of individual expert authors, who were invited by Greta to contribute with their individual expertise. The different sections with titles such as ‘How Climate Works’, ‘How Our Planet Is Changing’, ‘How it Affects Us’, ‘What We’ve Done About It’, ‘What We Must Do Now’, try to give a holistic description of the many different aspects of the climate, ecological and sustainability crisis we are in now. These chapters are interspersed with comments of Greta Thunberg, which are in many cases remarkably interesting and to the point, knowing that Greta was only 19 years at the time of writing. (She probably had the help of some good reviewers in the large personal network that she has acquired since she sat protesting on the steps of the Swedish parliament in 2018, aged 15.)

In her introduction, she writes: “It is my genuine belief that the only way we will be able to avoid the worst consequences of this emerging existential crisis is if we create a critical mass of people who demand the changes required. For that to happen, we need to rapidly spread awareness, because the general public still lacks much of the basic knowledge that is necessary to understand the dire situation we are in.” Indeed this book seems animated by one governing goal: to recruit and (re)educate dedicated climate activists. In our view, she has succeeded in creating a thorough, but well-readable overview of the many aspects of that existential crisis. The short essays lend themselves to be read piecewise, which is a good thing since the expose of the many interrelated problems and the big hurdles mankind faces to find a beginning of solutions can be depressing at times. Greta hopes that ‘this book can be some kind of go-to source for understanding the different, closely interconnected crises’. If you do not want to delve too deep into specific scientific problems, but rather gather the essential aspects, this book can be very valuable. Those who want to read the underlying scientific literature can visit website, which contains all the references used by the various authors. The book is about 25-30 Euros, for the English or Dutch edition.

An article worth reading: “Point of View: Rethinking academia in a time of climate crisis”

This reflection piece is a timely impulse and approach to freeing up time to contribute to climate action and the transformative change it can bring about. The authors, Anne Urai and Clare Kelly, acknowledge the tremendous time pressure that academics are under but at the same time urge us not to wait until we are freed up from our obligations. Under the motto, “we need to take it back ourselves” they provide academia with a set of seven principles: change the goal, get savvy with systems, see the big picture, create to regenerate, nurture human nature, design to distribute, and to be agnostic about growth – and a simple suggestion for taking the first steps. The principles are based on Kate Raworth’s framework of “Doughnut Economics”. Raworth’s model has been tremendously influential being used by city planners, industries, and businesses worldwide and now the call is for academia to take concrete steps.

Blog post blue-green infrastructure

Following up on the UT workshop on blue-green infrastructure (see previous S4F-T Newsletter), a blog post reflecting on the outcome of this workshop is available.

S4F-Twente lunch meetings 

Every first Monday and third Friday of the month at 12:30 anyone interested in S4F, staff or student, is welcome to join us for lunch in the Waaier canteen. This is an informal meeting where you can exchange ideas and concerns and meet like-minded people. The next one is on Monday, 5 June.

During recent meetings, we discussed the UT Sustainability Dialogues, and how S4F-Twente can be more visible and better connect to the UT community; maybe by organising coffee/tea breaks next to these lunches. You can recognise us by the S4F-Twente banner!

Feel free to join us during one of the next informal lunch meetings (see Calendar below for dates). 


Date, timeEventLocation
Monday 5 June 2023, 12:30-13:30S4F-Twente lunch meetingWaaier canteen
Wednesday 14 June 2023, 16:30-18:30Talking sustainability: Sustainability dialogue about UT system transformationDesign Lab: IDEATE (register here)
Friday 16 June 2023, 12:30-13:30S4F-Twente lunch meetingWaaier canteen
Tuesday 27 June 2023, 08:30-10:30Talking sustainability: Sustainability dialogue. This last session before the summer is an “Executive action breakfast meeting” / roundup session.Design Lab: LEARN-X/INSPIRE (register here)
Monday 3 July 2023, 12:30-13:30S4F-Twente lunch meetingWaaier canteen
Friday 21 July 2023, 12:30-13:30S4F-Twente lunch meetingWaaier canteen

Interesting links 

We hope to see you soon, through one of the above opportunities, 

the S4F-Twente newsletter team – Leonie Krab, Caroline van Bers, Yuri Engelhardt, Lena Heinrich, Erik Kemp, Gertjan Koster, Corjan van der Kuil, Theo van der Meer, Daniel Monteiro Cunha, Alexey Voinov, Sean Vrielink –  

Scientists4Future–Twente – Coalition of concerned scientists 

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