Who are you and what do you do?
I am an academic researcher in environmental law and energy governance, human rights lecturer, co-coordinator of the Belgian CEAL network (Community-based Entrepreneurship Action Learning) and organizer of sustainability education initiatives.
Having had the opportunity to work, study, live and travel in Africa, India and the Middle East it became clear to me that humanity is destroying its own habitat at a stellar speed. In the process of understanding how this can happen I realised most people see themselves as separate from nature instead as part from it and therefore ignore the developmental consequences . Being in the "luxury" position to realize that, I feel it as a duty to make it possible for others to realize this paradox.
My goal is to make people realize the urgent need for a transition to an environmentally sound, inclusive society (for both human and non-human beings).
I try to achieve this by doing two things: First, trying to create structures and scenarios in which this transition can happen. Second, by trying to make people dream that such transition to an environmentally and socially proof society is possible. You can only make it, if you can imagine it.
What competences would make you a good Generation T?
I try to make change through my research, by looking at ways of improving structures, scenarios and methods to make change possible on the level of law, public participation and governance. Further I try to experiment with this in practice by setting up participation processes and making people experience that change is possible and they can be part of it, locally and globally.
I believe systemic change can only happen through cooperation with as many actors as possible. Therefore I'm always happy to work together with other people and organisation to create synergies. Showing leadership for me, is trying to get cooperations function well and to make the connections between the right people.
Give specific example(s) on how your projects or activities make a difference and initiate change.
As mentioned above, my research is focused on an analysis of problems law poses for a transition in energy governance and what solutions law can offer.
As volunteer I co-coordinated the Belgian CEAL pilot, an experiment to adapt a Brazilan participation method for communal change, developed in the favelas, to the European context and revolutionize the way teaching in higher education (instead of lecturing in lecture rooms - action learning in the community).
Since 3,5 years I'm member of the board of Act4Change, and besides the strategic course of the organization, finance and HR, I've organized several masterclasses on sustainable development bringing together young changemakers or changemakers to be.
Further led my participation to the Climate KIC journey summer school to a climate business start-up that creates a climate proofing urban development design tool I plan to pursue after my PhD.
Who inspired you? What made you first passionate about sustainability?
The first to inspire me was Gunter Pauli and the concept van de Blue Economy. Further I love Rob Hopkins, Jeremy Legget and Vandana Shiva for their endless creativity, perseverance and cristal-clear system analysis.
I got fired up by the sheer necessity and urgency of the problems our society faces.