Enhancing economic development through landscape restoration
I am Simon Moolenaar, currently working as head of Science & Education at Commonland. We believe that that landscape restoration offers tremendous untapped opportunities for sustainable economic development. To demonstrate this potential, we develop landscape restoration projects that are based on business cases.
At Wageningen Univerity I was a student in environmental sciences and did my PhD to design more sustainable agro-ecosystems and connect economy and ecology; to solve environmental problems and develop a more sustainable society/economy; a perfect preparation for my job at Commonland.
Climbing the ‘Wageningse Berg’
I have strong memories of cycling in Wageningen. It was an active part of my trainingprogram for rowing (ARGO) and skating (STW), but also I remember the daily cyclingtrips up and down the ‘Wageningse Berg’. One day my chain flew off at the beginning of the Hoogstraat and I made a hard landing.
Involving the next generations
At Commonland my job is to support the 4 landscapes and develop a curriculum for education of the next generation to be involved in the grand societal challenge of large scale business driven landscape restoration. Land degradation and hence landscape restoration are among the most pressing issues and challenges of this time! I am passionate to work on these subjects. Involving the next generation is what connects Commonland to the Wageningen Borlaug Youth Institute.
The curriculum we are developing aims to mainstream ‘4 returns’ restoration thinking and knowledge for both environmental and business students & professionals in order to enhance a “restoration economy”. We do this through online (MOOC (Coursera)), classroom (case teaching) and field teaching and training with the ENABLE consortium).
4 Returns Hub
My dream is to make this the “go-to” hub for teaching, training and research about business-driven landscape approaches for restoration together with renowned business schools and – of course – Wageningen University & Research. In this way we can create a 4 returns hub with academia/students, policy makers, business and landscape leaders/practitioners on the ground.
Are you in?
(If you want to know more about our work at Commonland 4 returns, watch the videos or visit our website)