By: Cathelijne de Groot, student-assistent research group Changing Role of Europe
On Monday 3 April, several students gathered in the Speakers' Corner of The Hague University of Applied Sciences to discuss the topic How EU Climate Policies affect the Younger Generation, a meeting at the initiative of the European Impact Hub in collaboration with the House of Europe – the Liaison office of the European Parliament and the representatives of the European Commission in The Hague.
The students did not do this alone, but under the guidance of experienced experts, such as Bas Eickhout, member of the European Parliament, Laura de Vries of the Young Climate Movement, Arjen Kapteijns, also known as The Hague alderman for Sustainability, Energy Transition and Climate Adaptation, Prof dr. Herman Russchenberg of Delft University, Giulia Teodoro from the European Climate Pact, and Dr. Laura Stevens whose knowledge of biomimicry is well known within THUAS. Rosa Groen moderated the afternoon.
During these conversations, many different questions were asked about European Climate Policy. And the fact that we, as a 'young generation', were allowed to question these panel members made it much more exciting.
After a short break it was time for the workshops, where students could apply the theory from the first half of the meeting in their chosen workshops. As the title of the meeting suggests, the workshops were about nothing less than the climate.
For example, there was the workshop of Dr. Laura Stevens from the Industrial Design Engineering programme. Here, students got to work with biomimicry, using solutions from nature, for example in sustainable construction, to get inspired by. Certainly not surprising, because the term biomimicry is derived from the contraction of the Greek words bios 'life' and mimesis 'to imitate', so literally 'to imitate life'.
In addition, Public Administration students provided information in their workshops about The Hague - the international city of peace and justice - and about European climate policy, in order to find out how familiar these subjects are among local residents. The students hoped to learn more about this by conducting various interviews with young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods in The Hague. Many topics are discussed in these interviews for example questions about the 'just transition' and the 'Fit for 55 package'.
Based on scenarios, the students of International and European Law considered whether traveling in a group of friends was more justifiable by train or plane.
After the workshops were over, everyone moved back to the Speakers' Corner. There were more people than before and it seemed as if they had received a lot of energy from the workshops. The panel members had also taken a look at the workshops. Jeremy Herry, representative of the Directorate General Climate Action at the European Commission (DG CLIMA), said he was proud to have attended the workshop on biomimicry. He called it "an idea of the future" to think so small and yet so big.
Two new panel members took their seats and the students were given the opportunity to share their own outcomes from the workshops. Ideal of course, because that way the students who had organized the workshops received immediate feedback on their workshops.
The audience also had the opportunity to talk to the panel members, organizers and today's moderator during a networking moment. All in all, a day to look back on with great pleasure and energy!