By Prof. dr. Louise E.M. Vet Director Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) & Professor in Evolutionary Ecology, Wageningen University The Netherlands
The strongly growing extent of man-nature interactions takes its toll: material shortages, energy crisis, and loss of biodiversity and valuable ecosystems that are not only crucial for us, but also for all other organisms on the planet. Our present linear ‘take-make-waste’ economy is destructive. The only possible road to sustainable development is one of symbiosis between ecology and economy where we translate ecological principles to human practice. For more than 3.8 billion years, nature has been functioning fine without us. There is no waste in nature; cycles are closed with input from solar energy and diversity is leading. So this should be the basis for our own economy. Instead of solving problems we should rethink the blueprint. The transition towards a circular economy is increasingly on the international political and research agenda. It poses a challenge for the next generation and forms the essential bedrock for a sustainable and innovative society.