To become redundant

Prof.dr. Nico van den Brink, Wageningen University

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My aim is to make myself redundant. This may sound bizarre, but I am an environmental toxicologist. I study the impacts of pesticides and other chemicals on environmental organisms and biodiversity, and can’t wait for the day that my job is obsolete, not needed anymore. For the day that we have found other, more sustainable ways of agriculture, without or with little chemical inputs.
Since over 50 years we know the detrimental effects that pesticides can have on our environment, but until this day we do not even properly know how we can protect biodiversity. The current paradigm is that when we protect sensitive species, biodiversity is assured. But we do see continued loss of biodiversity and the role of pesticides in these declines has been identified. Although the European Commission has dropped the goal to minimize pesticide use by 50% in 2030 and pesticide use is still high, it is hopeful to see that within European networks, including EFSA and Horizon projects, research is focused on quantifying the effects of pesticides on biodiversity and improvement of risk assessment of chemicals. Perhaps, this will result in my professional redundancy. Let’s hope but we need to act fast.

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