Wageningen University & Research: WUR and Wageningen under the sign of ‘planetary boundaries’

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“Humanity is pushing the boundaries of our planet. We cannot cross these boundaries with impunity,” said Sjoukje Heimovaara, WUR’s new board chair. In fact, it tells all about the theme Planetary Boundaries that was the focus of Monday’s opening of the 2022/2023 academic year.

Since this theme fits perfectly with the mission of WUR -‘To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life’- it is not surprising that this time three speakers from the own university were chosen. This did lead to totally different stories, as the three scientists are each involved in planetary boundaries in their own field. This made it clear that WUR is involved with this theme in many fields and in countless ways.


The speakers
Marten Scheffer, professor of Aquatic Ecology, has long worked on critical limits and researches tipping points in ecosystems. Hannah van Zanten is associate professor of Farming Systems Ecology and visiting professor at Cornell University. She uses a Circular Food Systems Model to examine the planetary limits of our food production. The basic premise of that model is that we can produce enough healthy food within the limits of the planet. Sociologist Jessica Duncan is concerned with the question, “How can we adjust our production and consumption to stay within planetary limits? The presentations were depicted in animations by Franka Wiggers.

Extra edition in the center of Wageningen
The opening of the academic year was continued in the evening. In the Grote Kerk in the center of Wageningen the stories were shared once again. Over 200 students and Wageningen residents attended this ‘city edition’. The musical entertainment was provided by singer/songwriter Sofia Dragt.

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