Student - June 11, 2018

From Nijmegen to The Hague by tandem for the UN Climate Change conference

Luuk Zegers

UN youth representatives Emma Clemens and Martijn Visser (WUR alumnus) will cross the Netherlands on bike and speak to as many young people as they can on their journey on the subject of climate and sustainability. Their final destination: the Binnenhof.

Martijn Visser during a UN meeting in in Bonn. © Martijn Visser

On Monday 11 June, Visser and Clemens started cycling from Nijmegen. On their tandem, they will visit Wageningen, Utrecht, Woerden, Gouda, Rotterdam and The Hague, where they will arrive on 15 June. On their way, they will speak with secondary school pupils, students and other young people regarding climate change (the ‘Talanoa’ dialogue). The input that Visser and Clemens will collect will be presented to Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague and will also be taken to the UN Climate Change conference in Poland.

Pantarijn, Ceres, WUR
The tandem will arrive in Wageningen on 11 June. Visser and Clemens will discuss matters with a class of the Pantarijn secondary school, the WUR Student Council, student association Ceres, study associations, Mayor Geert van Rumund and President of the Executive Board Louise Fresco. The youth representatives will continue toward Utrecht on Tuesday afternoon.

Recently graduated WUR alumnus Visser (MSc Forest and Nature Conservation) is on his second and last year as UN youth representative. ‘With the current measures, we will not be able to fulfil “Paris”. Instead of the agreed upon maximum of 1.5 degrees global warming, we are headed for 3.5 degrees. We will enter discussions with young people to see what measures they could take themselves and what they expect of the government.’

Campus of the future
The discussions should not be too abstract, Visser thinks. ‘We want to remain within the experience range of the young people. And discuss with the Student Council what the university could do, and what the campus of the future would like. With the secondary school pupils, they rather want to discuss what expect their town or city to look like in ten years.’

Visser did not practice for the bicycle tour. ‘It will be a challenge, especially on a tandem. But I really look forward to it.’ The NOS (Dutch Broadcast Foundation) on channel 3 will follow the cycling week.

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Additional reading (partly in Dutch):