At the end of May I visited a ‘Green Deal’ network meeting in Amersfoort, The Netherlands. The meeting itself wasn’t really interesting, but it was organized at a nice location, I met a number of interesting people during the drinks afterwards and I participated in an entertaining workshop on innovation. This workshop dealt with innovation
Encouraged by Dutch top scientist Robbert Dijkgraaf, some internationally reputed scientists got a podium on TV to fantasise on the future, last 16 July. They gave their imagination free rein. For many scientists, it appears to be difficult to stay level-headed in view of the promises of ICT. Particularly the idea that devices might take
Another major study on neonicotinoids (neonics) was published in Science, last month. It sparked vehement comments from groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth who want no neonics, as the study seems to show that ‘neonicotinoids negatively affect pollinator health…’ (according to the press release). But upon closer inspection, this is just another study
In an interview about digitization of education, Onderwijs moet de voordelen van ICT gebruiken, published in the Dutch newspaper NRC, May 8th, 2017, the president of the Dutch Education Council, also a professor educational economy, was asked whether programming and coding are part of digital skills. Her answer: ‘No. After one year you can discard
Mankind will have to grow more food on less land, so Hidde Boersma and Joost van Kasteren argue in the recently published volume (in Dutch) Ecomodernism, Rethinking Green and Growth. Genetic modification will play a major role in this process. And in order to feed the world, we need not even say goodbye to meat.
There’s always a time lag between the development of a new technology and a dawning awareness of its social impact. Then follows a debate among scientists, possibly followed by a public debate. This process starts by people asking difficult questions, as we are about to do on the Duchenne muscular dystrophy CRISPR cure. This technology,
In three columns, I have investigated the question of bee colony collapse and neonicotinoids (neonics), the effect of pesticides on pollinating insects and natural pest predators, and finally the services that biodiversity renders to agriculture and the economy. I observed that a simple ‘allow or ban’ decision on neonics may not be adequate. What other
In the first two columns in this series, I pictured the difficulties in establishing the truth on neonicotinoids (or neonics) and their effects on pollinating insects. The stakes are high. Neonics represent one third (in monetary value) of all insecticides sold globally. But NGOs have waged a war on them. Do we have to ban