KU Leuven: Our Nature and KU Leuven make 11 million Belgians enthusiastic about nature and science


Onze Natuur wants to make 11 million Belgians realize that we can be boundlessly proud of what is happening in our own country. An ambitious goal that is shared with KU Leuven. Because the more people understand what exactly is happening in wild Belgium, the more pride and respect we cultivate for Our Nature. From a small petri dish in the lab to the big white screen in the cinema, Onze Natuur and KU Leuven bring nature and science closer together in an accessible way.

Nature stimulates our curiosity. Not least that of scientists. As a result of the partnership between KU Leuven and Onze Natuur, we are going to talk to Gerard Govers.

What does sustainability mean for KU Leuven?

According to Vice Rector Gerard Govers, it is obvious that KU Leuven strives for sustainability, and the university does this in various ways. “Through research, our scientists show how important nature is. Not only for fauna and flora, but also for our own health, for example. Nature is part of our patrimony, and we must take care of it. This care requires knowledge and research. We also look to the future. What is the role of our nature in a highly technologically developed society?”

Nature is part of our patrimony, and we must take care of it. This care requires knowledge and research.

KU Leuven takes environmentally conscious initiatives

KU Leuven is a leading university where the leaders of tomorrow are formed. “We want to take on a leading role in the field of sustainability. Moreover, as a university, we have the ambition to become climate neutral by 2050. Because if we don’t lead the way and set a good example, how can we expect others to do that?” Gerard Govers continues.

This is expressed in all kinds of sustainable initiatives. “For example, if we go to a foreign conference, we compensate every kilometer flown in the form of a contribution to projects that combat CO2. We are also active on a local scale. Within our departments, we work with eco teams, ie employees and students who contribute ideas to sustainable operations. When constructing or renovating university buildings, we pay extra attention to energy consumption and greening, existing car parks are softened, etc. This creates small inner gardens or mini-natural areas that make the City of Leuven more liveable and workable, and so on.”

What do Our Nature and KU Leuven mean to each other?

The story we want to tell with Our Nature fits perfectly into the picture of KU Leuven: “Nature itself is extremely complex and stimulates our curiosity. How does nature work? Why is it so important that we take good care of it? Our Nature makes a great effort to get the answers to those questions from the man in the street. We as a university want to support that message with the right scientific information. In addition, it is abundantly clear that nature deserves protection and care, and we can only offer that protection if we create a sustainable society that does not fundamentally disrupt ecological systems.”

Together we write a story with impact

For example, KU Leuven and Onze Natuur write a story with impact together. Because in this ‘climate-conscious’ time, the finger is so often pointed. Negativity, ‘must’ and ‘no longer allowed’ is the tenor. Our Nature wants to tell a positive story: by bringing nature closer to the Belgians, we let them discover what our own beautiful fauna and flora have to offer. Out of amazement, we encourage everyone to get outside and experience nature. If you admire and enjoy it, you will naturally take better care of it.

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