Symposium on Conservation & Capitalism (online)

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Beschrijving van het evenement
Online symposium on the complex relationship between conservation and capitalism in today's world. An event in association with the UGent.

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Thank you all for joining our Symposium!

Missed it? You can watch it again through the following link:


As a team of four Biology Master students of the University of Gent, we hope to explore a theme that is overlooked within the scope of our studies: the relationship between conservation and capitalism. While a broad topic, in this symposium we will try to touch upon the potential economic benefits of conservation for local communities, the role of wealth in the protection of nature, how capitalism may impact successful conservation, and alternative economic models circumventing this.

By welcoming speakers from multiple academic backgrounds, we try to shed light on the different aspects of this complex relationship. Five experts will take the floor during this interactive symposium: Rudy van Diggelen, Ignace Schops, Eeva Furman, Paul De Grauwe and Robert Fletcher. After each presentation the audience gets the chance to ask questions. After all presentations all experts will be invited to the floor to go into conversation, together with the audience. The symposium will be led by Desiree Hoving who has great experience as moderator and will challenge both the experts and audience in an interesting discussion.

The event will take place through Zoom. The link to join the symposium is the following:

Password: 972719


14h00 Welcome & Introduction

14h15 Rudy van Diggelen | Q&A

14h45 Ignace Schops | Q&A

15h15 Eeva Furman | Q&A

15h45 Short Break (±15 minutes)

16h00 Paul De Grauwe | Q&A

16h30 Robert Fletcher | Q&A

17h00 Discussion | Q&A

17h30 Expected end (at the latest)

The online symposium can be attended freely. We would like to kindly ask you to register (FREE) to help us follow up the event more easily. Note that this is not obligatory. You can join the event without registering. Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions: .

The moderator

As a former science journalist, Desiree Hoving - Dagvoorzitter & Moderator has been writing for numerous magazines such as Libelle and De Ingenier, and Dutch newspapers like Volkskrant, NRC and Parool. Nowadays, she moderates live symposia and online meetings worldwide, mainly organized by scientific instances such as TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, University of Maastricht, NEMO science museum and Artis Zoo. She will be of great added value to the symposium as she is passionate about linking experts from different disciplines who approach problems from different perspectives, as well as connecting science and society.

The speakers

Rudy van Diggelen on the relationship between human activities and prospects for conservation and restoration

As a field biologist, Rudy van Diggelen started out at the University of Groningen where he became professor. He further developed his academic career at the University of Antwerp, where he is involved in the Ecosystem Management Research Group. Next to that, he teaches at the VLIZ (Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee). He specialized in restoration of ecosystems disturbed by human activities, such as wetlands, and in practical conservation and restoration methods. He investigates the biological needs to create a sustainable relationship with the Earth.

Ignace Schops on aligning nature and society

Ignace Schops is a Belgian environmentalist and herpetology expert. He is president of the EUROPARC federation, full member of the Club of Rome and director of the Hoge Kempen National Park, the first Belgian national park, established by him in 2008. The creation of the park was based on Schops’ (Re)connection Model that aligned nature and society, and for which he was rewarded with the Goldman Environmental Prize. Besides that ‘Green Nobel Prize’, other national and international awards for his environmental achievements and a decoration as Commander of the Order of the Crown by King Filip in 2013 followed. In 2017 Charlie Magazine selected him in the list of 25 most influential Belgians.

Eeva Furman on conservation in a sustainable future

Dr. Eeva Furman is the director of the Environmental Policy Centre at the Finnish Environment Institute (SKYE) and member of ALTER-Net (European research network for biodiversity and ecosystem services). She is an expert on sustainable development, urban resilience, nature-based solutions for a sustainable future. She has worked on countless projects and programmes, including the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report (UN), project OpenNESS - Operationalisation of natural capital and ecosystem services (EU), EKLIPSE - Knowledge & Learning Mechanism on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (EU), and mapping the way to sustainable development in Finland.

Paul De Grauwe on economic growth as a solution for conservation

Paul De Grauwe is a Belgian globally renowned economist and John Paulson Professor in European Political Economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is also a former member of the Belgian Federal Parliament and author of several renowned books. Although a lot of people see that economic growth is against conservation, De Grauwe believes that market force and economic growth will offer a solution to the issues related to natural resources, environment and climate.

Robert Fletcher on conservation against capitalism

Dr. Robert Fletcher is an associate professor at Wageningen University, where he teaches in the Sociology of Development and Change group. He is the author of numerous articles on the topic of conservation, development and political ecology, as well as several books (including the recent The Conservation Revolution with Bram Büscher). In addition, he is co-leader of the CONVIVA project, a research project focusing on radical approaches to conservation.

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