Who are you and what do you do?
I am a bioscience engineering student with a deep love for nature, a passion for getting to know different people and a positivity regarding life itself. Therefore, I try to act as much as possible upon the things that threaten nature and people. The more I learn, the more I realise that almost all world problems are interconnected. Uprising pandemic diseases, the refugee problem, diminishing water resources… The core reason often comes down to one thing: global climate change. In my studies, I am constantly reminded of the fact that there is still a lot of room for improvement in the agricultural world. Lots of problems are due to a lack of knowledge. I believe that with the actual technology and communication methods, eradication of hunger and sustainable farming can go hand in hand. With my specialisation in agriculture, I hope to contribute to this. As I am still studying, my contribution is obviously work in progress.
What competences would make you a good Generation T?
I always try to open the debate on certain issues and making people discuss possible solutions they never thought of before. I believe that global consciousness about a problem is a first step to working all together to tackle it. Most of the time I am an advocate of the climate change problem. I take it as a mission to convince people how urgent it is to act upon this problem. As I want to be the change I want to see in this world, I decided to become a vegetarian after participating to the action Dagen Zonder Vlees. This not only reduces my ecological footprint, but it also invites a lot of friends and acquaintances to the discussion on sustainable consumption. In the summer, I occasionally work in a vegetarian restaurant that sells meatless meat. When I convince people to taste this sustainable and delicious alternative, or when I convince friends to become a flexitarian or even a vegetarian themselves, I am constantly reminded of why I am doing this.
Give specific example(s) on how your projects or activities make a difference and initiate change.
I believe in the power of open discussions, mutual understanding and shared information. A solution to a world problem will be found faster, if we can all agree that it is a problem, that we have to tackle it, and how we could sustainably eradicate the problem as soon as possible. During Model United Nations conferences, where students between 18 and 25 years old come together from all around the world, I am part in discussions covering many important topics such as the role of the international community in preserving the Arctic Region, how to secure equitable access to rare earth elements, or how all nations should help in rebuilding post-conflict regions.
Sometimes, open and inclusive discussions leading towards opportunities are not possible, because language forms a barrier. In Zanzibar for instance, tourism is a booming business. Sadly, only foreign investors reap the rewards, and it even affects the local communities negatively. To reverse this effect and to help the locals surf on this new wave of opportunities, I volunteered during the summer of 2014 to teach English to both young and older Zanzibaris.