Kewan Mertens / Researcher

KU Leuven, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences / Ecological Economics and Geography

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We change for life
Dr. Kewan Mertens, researcher at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven.
Main concerns: rapid climate change and biodiversity loss increase the likelihood of disasters. Yet, there is a lack of political will to push for necessary societal change. Climate change and bio-diversity loss should be tackled at all levels, including in academic life.

  • I am politically involved as a citizen to push my governments to seriously tackle the problems at hand and push for a societal shift.
  • I do research on new ways of relating to nature and on ways to promote green practices in conventional agriculture.
  • I travel by train and frequently refuse to go to conferences on other continents and systematically ask for video-conferences.
  • I push my Department to take steps towards greening its practices (vegetarian catering, video-conferencing, carbon off-setting,…). I ask my university to divest from unsustainable banks and fossil fuels.
  • I have decided to work part-time, to have more time for myself, my activism,… and less money to consume useless goods.
  • The change at hand requires a system change. This means we need to shift our minds away from neo-liberalism.
  • It also means that, while we could all be better off in a more sustainable society, some big players are going to lose their privileges.
  • That won’t happen smoothly.
  • We therefore have to recognize that the change we need is political and that it is up to the citizen to demand this change.
  • We need new norms on what is a good life. Advertisements are pushing us to work harder to consume more. One first change, among others, would be to reduce the ad-load in our societies.

Originally posted 2018-04-25 13:59:44.