In Memoriam: Nobel Prize winner Paul Crutzen

Me awarding Paul Crutzen his honorary doctorate.
Meteorologist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Crutzen died in his hometown Mainz on Thursday 28 January 2021

Paul Crutzen was awarded an honorary doctorate on Monday 14 January 2013 during the 37th anniversary (Dies Natalis) of Maastricht University. I had the honor to act as honorary promoter. I met Paul Crutzen during lectures we both gave to PhD students at the Polytech Grenoble. I got to know Paul Crutzen as a very nice, calm and modest man. Certainly not someone who shouts his Nobel Prize status from the rooftops. As scientific friends we kept in touch over the years.

Paul Crutzen has been a source of inspiration for me. Not only as a person – in an academic world where a lot of attention is paid to the ones with the biggest mouth, he was a relief – but also in terms of his scientific endeavors. Paul is someone who transcends boundaries, who is not only concerned with chemistry, but is also concerned with social issues, such as human rights. He told me, while we had lunch together during the break of our lectures, that when doing interdisciplinary research you need to be thick-skinned. However, if you persevere, the intellectual reward and social relevance is worth it.

The death of Paul Cutzen received extensive attention in the various media. To my knowledge, this was hardly the case in the Limburg media. While the laureate, in addition to Peter Debije, is the second Nobel Prize winner with South Limburg roots (from his grandfather’s side). A brief statement appeared in De Limburger newspaper the day after his death. That was all.

Until now, Maastricht University and its magazine Observant paid no attention at all to the death of Paul Crutzen. An In Memoriam in the Observant of the honorary doctor of Maastricht University would have been appropriate. In fact – I would argue for the establishment of a Paul Crutzen Institute – which focuses on interdisciplinary research into the Anthropocene (also a concept launched by Paul), global environmental problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Not only urgently needed at Maastricht University, but also a fitting tribute for this endearing, great thinker.

(With thanks to the genealogist Funs Patelski, editor of the Limburgs Tijdschrift voor Genealogy, who researched the Limburg ancestors of Paul Crutzen; Dutch version in Observant)

Animals Are Running Away From Us – Indigenous & Religious Views on Animals

New Documentary!

Our relationship with the natural environment and animals has changed dramatically over time. In this documentary, I discuss past patterns and future pathways with representatives of various indigenous cultures and religious beliefs. Learning from them about our relationship with animals may be a way we can begin to address the sustainability challenges we see today.

Mens-dierrelatie, zoönosen en de recente COVID-19 pandemie

Onze gezondheid is afhankelijk van biodiversiteit. Wij zijn afhankelijk van ecosystemen en de diensten die deze ecosystemen aan ons geven. Gezondheid van dieren, mensen en planten hangt met elkaar samen. Het één kun je niet los zien van het andere. Duurzaamheid en dieren hebben alles met elkaar te maken.

Bekijk hier het interview wat ik onlangs had met de Nicolaas G. Pierson Foundation over mens-dierrelatie, zoönosen en de COVID-19 pandemie.

The Green Deal: what are its implications for animals and nature?

Workshop summary: The Green Deal: what are its implications for animals and nature?

In January 2021 a workshop The Green Deal: what are its implications for animals and nature? was organized by  an Erasmus+ Jean Monnet project RELAY. The workshop examined the policies behind the Green Deal in relation to the role of Nature and Animals in our Society and discuss the Green Deal’s shortcomings with regard to the “voiceless” members of the European society and of the regions beyond the EU that might be affected by Green Deal-related policies. By doing so, the central question of the webinar was: “What are the current issues with regard to the ‘true’ sustainability goals the Green Deal should pursue and what actions are required to give animals and nature a more prominent role in the Green Deal debates?”

Can academics be activists? – An open discussion

A livestreamed discussion about the tension between activism and academic research.

When: Monday 22 February 2021, 12.30-14.00
Where: Youtube (you will receive the invitation link via email)

Sign up here

Many researchers who do community-engaged research experience a tension between being objective researchers and a desire for activism. While some are convinced that activism is a core task of the researcher, others may struggle to filter their personal views out of scientific analysis. Some may argue that activism in science should be rewarded by the university, while others may argue that mixing activism and science is unethical.

During this event, prof. Pim Martens (SBE), Dr. Astrid Offermans (SBE) and Prof. Maurice Zeegers (FHML) will present their different positions on this topic, before engaging in a discussion. The discussion will be moderated by Prof. Teun Dekker (FSE). The whole event will be livestreamed, whereby the audience is invited to ask questions via a chat function. 

This event is co-organised by MPCER and the UM Platform for Research Ethics and Integrity.

Indigenous and Religious Views on Animals (12): Interview Buddhist Non Chao-Hwei Shih

Interview with Buddhist master the venerable Chao-hwei Shih.

Our dominant current socio-economic and political systems have become decoupled from the larger ecology of life. Our relationship with the natural environment and animals has changed dramatically over time. My Fellowship ‘Ethics of the Anthropocene‘ (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) intends to discuss these past patterns and future pathways with representatives of various indigenous cultures and religious beliefs. Learning from them about our relationship with animals may be a way we can begin to address the sustainability challenges we see today.

Above the twelfth interview in this series.

See all interviews at the Words of Wisdom and project page.

Indigenous and Religious Views on Animals (11): Interview Greenland Shaman Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq

Interview with Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq from Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland – shaman, traditional healer, storyteller and carrier of the Qilaut (winddrum).

Our dominant current socio-economic and political systems have become decoupled from the larger ecology of life. Our relationship with the natural environment and animals has changed dramatically over time. My Fellowship ‘Ethics of the Anthropocene‘ (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) intends to discuss these past patterns and future pathways with representatives of various indigenous cultures and religious beliefs. Learning from them about our relationship with animals may be a way we can begin to address the sustainability challenges we see today.

Above the eleventh interview in this series. More interviews will follow!

See all interviews at the Words of Wisdom and project page.

Indigenous and Religious Views on Animals (10): Interview Islamic Poet and Dawah worker Khaleel Ur Rehman Chishti

Interview with Khaleel Ur Rehman Chishti, Islamic Researcher, Lecturer, Poet and Dawah worker.

Our dominant current socio-economic and political systems have become decoupled from the larger ecology of life. Our relationship with the natural environment and animals has changed dramatically over time. My Fellowship ‘Ethics of the Anthropocene‘ (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) intends to discuss these past patterns and future pathways with representatives of various indigenous cultures and religious beliefs. Learning from them about our relationship with animals may be a way we can begin to address the sustainability challenges we see today.

Above the tenth interview in this series. More interviews will follow!

See all interviews at the Words of Wisdom and project page.

Nieuw centrum wil dieren serieus nemen

In de natuurwetenschappen worden dieren als objecten bestudeerd, en in de sociale- en de geesteswetenschappen staat de mens centraal. Het nieuwe Centrum voor DierMens Studies wil in de wetenschap meer aandacht voor de relatie tussen beide, waarbij ook dieren als actieve, sociale en intelligente individuen worden beschouwd.

Mede-oprichter en voorzitter Maarten Reesink (wetenschapper DierMens Studies):

“In de wetenschap worden dieren bijna alleen gezien al interessant onderwerp voor de biologie, en verder meestal als objecten gezien of gebruikt. Terwijl in onze mensenmaatschappij dieren juist overal aanwezig zijn: als huisgenoten, werkdieren en als voedsel, in films, op tv en in onze populaire cultuur, in dierentuinen en in het wild. In DierMens Studies staan al die vormen van contact tussen mens en dier centraal. Waarbij dieren niet worden gezien als gebruiksvoorwerpen of decorstukken in onze mensenmaatschappij, maar als gelijkwaardige medebewoners van deze wereld.”

In januari 2021 is het Centrum voor DierMens Studies opgericht door onderzoekers en studenten van de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Door het interdisciplinaire vakgebied DierMens Studies te promoten wil het Centrum een brug slaan tussen natuurwetenschappen en sociale- en geesteswetenschappen. Het Centrum is een platform voor wetenschappers en studenten aan alle Nederlandse universiteiten die zich bezighouden met de vele relaties tussen mens en dier. Iedereen die is geïnteresseerd in onze band met (andere) dieren kan er terecht voor informatie, wetenschappelijke publicaties en onderwijsaanbod.

Op deze manier vraagt het Centrum academische aandacht voor de plaats van dieren in de maatschappij, en biedt het een netwerk voor de groei van het internationale vakgebied (Human) Animal Studies in Nederland. Het centrum wil de groei van dit vakgebied in Nederland verder stimuleren en een brug slaan tussen universiteiten, onderzoekers, studenten en een breed publiek met een interesse in de relaties tussen mens en dier.

Naast het delen van kennis en het bieden van een platform en een netwerk, gaat het Centrum evenementen en netwerkbijeenkomsten organiseren.

Het Centrum voor DierMens Studies is opgericht door (oud-) UvA-studenten Caatje Kluskens en Fien Lindelauff in samenwerking met UvA-docent Human-Animal Studies Maarten Reesink en professors Leonie Cornips en Pim Martens van de Universiteit van Maastricht.

Meer informatie: https://www.diermensstudies.nl/

Indigenous and Religious Views on Animals (9): Interview Anishinabe Elder Solomon Wawatie

Interview with Solomon Wawatie, the Weasel of the Bear Clan, a faith keeper of his culture and elder of his community.

Our dominant current socio-economic and political systems have become decoupled from the larger ecology of life. Our relationship with the natural environment and animals has changed dramatically over time. My Fellowship ‘Ethics of the Anthropocene‘ (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) intends to discuss these past patterns and future pathways with representatives of various indigenous cultures and religious beliefs. Learning from them about our relationship with animals may be a way we can begin to address the sustainability challenges we see today.

Above the ninth interview in this series. More interviews will follow!

See all interviews at the Words of Wisdom and project page.