We are all well aware of the urgency to take action to avoid the most severe impacts of the present climate emergency, which endangers the lives and livelihoods of billions of people living now, and of future generations – including our children and grandchildren. There are already many initiatives, from private or local to national or worldwide, that aim to do something about this huge problem. However, there is also a specific, important role for us scientists.
We believe that as scientists, it is our responsibility, and that of our institutions, to inform everyone in society about the many interrelated aspects of the climate emergency, to raise awareness of its impacts and in this way to support people who are taking action. As Greta Thunberg stressed in her UN-speech in 2019: ‘Do not listen to me, listen to the scientists!’. We believe that the scientific community has the important task, many opportunities, and possibly even the power, to keep the climate crisis in the focus of attention of the public, decision- and policy-makers.
As Scientists4Future – Twente, we aim to support citizens and organizations in Twente and beyond by:
- informing and educating as many people as possible about the climate emergency and the many connections with our daily life.
- providing information about what can be done to reduce or avoid the severe impacts of the climate emergency.
- assisting all those concerned about the climate emergency by providing and promoting sound scientific advice on issues related to the climate crisis.
We encourage everyone who supports Scientists4Future-Twente to share why they support the initiative. We ask them to share their vision and their envisioned role within S4F.
It is only a few years ago that it fully sank in with me to what extent mankind is letting things going out of control with respect to our environment and especially the climate. Despite the recently signed Paris agreement, the interim report of the IPCC clearly showed that there was no slowing down of CO2-emissions and that consequently mankind is heading towards a dramatically changed and ‘dark’ future, which already will become obvious in the lifetime of my children! I noticed also that many people do not fully realise the extent of the climate crisis and the drastic actions that are needed to avert it, or seem to close their eyes for its consequences. And I am puzzled why so few people take action even if they know. As a trained scientist I see it as my responsibility to help people understand the climate message of the IPCC-scientists, so that they realise it is not something far away in the future, but something real that is going to impact our own lives and that of our (grand) children.
I believe that ‘we’ as concerned scientists have failed to deliver the urgency of the climate crisis to the world. I think we should repair it by organising ourselves internally, and laser-focusing our collective knowledge, network and influence to mitigate the climate crisis. My envisioned role is facilitating this ‘platform to connect’, and helping with strategic and organisational challenges on how we can effectively convert the energy of concerned scientists into impact on society.
Cheryl de Boer
I joined S4F-Twente because I feel responsible to current and future generations to not make a mess of things on this planet. S4F-Twente is a place where I can put my energy and skills to use in an environment where others are also thinking and working on the issues that are facing us and the planet. What I really like is the open and critical conversations that we have together, while constantly assessing where we can have a positive impact on our planet and community!
Theo van der Meer
Since the 1972 publication “Limits to Growth” by the Club of Rome I have been worrying and wondering about pollution and depletion of the world’s resources. Now almost 50 years later it seems that the forecasts of the Club of Rome were quite realistic. I joined S4F, because I am convinced that we have to raise our voices, to create more awareness of the climate crisis, and to stop the unlimited exploitation and pollution of our planet. We have to realise that the steps into the direction of a happy life on a beautiful planet for our grandchildren till now are totally insufficient. With S4F we can contribute to make the change.
I have been working on earth observation data for almost two decades, looking at the satellite images of our planet seeing its past and current view is heartbreaking. I used to wear a winter jacket all around the year. However, I experienced heatwaves in the Netherlands in the last three years which were dangerously warm. I had to surround my dog with ice-cubes to help her breathe. I see that our crops are burning before my eyes and the drink water levels are alarming. I don’t have kids to think of their future, but even at my age (getting closer to 40) I am concerned about my own future too. I used to see people enjoying their life with hobbies at their retirement ages. I am guessing that my retirement ages will be a struggle to find the basic human needs. It tears down my soul to see how the environment and the animals are suffering, just because of the choices of humans. Climate change is human made. We have limited time to make conscious shifts at our daily decisions to stop the biodiversity collapse and to stop extinction of many species including humans. Not only as a scientist, but also as a human animal who deeply loves where she belongs to (the nature of our planet), I join S4F to inspire our local community to act differently and to steer the wheel towards a different direction: wellbeing, health, abundance of natural resources, a happy society.
When I became aware of the gravity of the climate crisis, I started educating myself more on this topic. I changed my lifestyle to have a lower impact on the planet and offset the remainder of my environmental footprint. I tried to inspire other people around me to do the same. However, I noticed how hard it is to get people to change their behaviours and to make them see the gravity of the crisis we are in. I want to educate people about the climate crisis. This is how I got introduced to Scientists4Future. I want to spread awareness and would like to see that climate education becomes part of the school curriculum. It is easy to feel overwhelmed sometimes when you are trying to create change alone, it is nice to be part of a group of like-minded people. We will fight for change together.
How can I not? We share our future, and must work together to enable a sustainable world, both environmentally and socially. Our current production systems do not take the life cycle of products into account enough, and even when designing new materials, products, processes, etc. the consequences are often not thought through. As scientists we have a special role to encourage learning and improving our knowledge, as well as putting this into practice. We need to do better, and we can, so let’s do this together.
Carolina Pereira Marghidan
I am currently an MSc student at the UT, studying and learning about climate change and the risks we are facing. Climate change has led to a whole range of complex and interdisciplinary issues, and at times it can feel frustrating and challenging – not knowing exactly what you, as an individual, can do. Yet, there is so much power in bringing people together. That is why I joined S4F-Twente, to be part of such a network. Change includes starting with yourself and within your local community, being a conscious consumer (spend every dollar as a vote!), communicating and raising awareness in your surroundings and online, as well as establishing networks to collaborate and bridge the gap between science and action.
A very small fraction of the world population is causing a collapse in our support system, Earth; only to the financial benefit of an even smaller fraction of the world population. (If this is all Greek to you, please read The Divide by Jason Hickel.) I’ve decided that I do not want to take part in this hidden, systematic destruction anymore. I found that it’s actually very easy in my personal situation to cut down drastically on my ecological footprint. There is always more to do, so I connect to S4F to exchange ideas.
The last summers, with all their waves of heat and drought and wildfires and flooding, scared me quite a bit. Thinking that these are the consequences of merely 1.1°C of global warming while we are heading quickly towards 2.5°C or more underlines the urgency for dramatic change if we want our children and grandchildren to live in a world that is as benign to human civilization as the one of past centuries. Having grown up with many green ideas and hopes, I nevertheless became part of the present ‘system’ and contributed my share to the climate catastrophe through my way of living and working, and performing research. It is very clear that we can only prevent the worst-case scenarios if we all change our own way of operating on an individual level and if we all push hard on any higher level that we can influence. For me, this is very much the level of the university where we can and should become leaders of change and role models for responsible organizations on the way toward a sustainable future. We have to move on from empty words to actual change.