Media and outreach

I very much enjoy writing for the general public, and I write several op-eds and articles in various media outlets a year (mostly in Dutch).

The below list is not complete, but highlights some of my favourite articles that I wrote or contributed to (through quotes or background information).

For the Dutch climate change blog Klimaatveranda I wrote an article that aims to answer the question whether we really do get a greener world with more CO2. Spoiler: it’s not that simple.

How much CO2 does a hectare of agricultural land take up? I wrote an article about this question for the website of the Dutch climate help desk (Klimaathelpdesk).

I write a regular op-ed (column) for the oldest nature magazine in The Netherlands, De Levende Natuur. Read the most recent one below.

I contributed to an article about nitrogen and dairy farming in De Correspondent.

I gave the author of this piece in De Correspondent about the importance of grain production in Ukraine a mini-lecture on the fertile chernozem soils.

Together with Jan Willem van Groenigen, I wrote an op-ed in national newspaper NRC about the state of the soil life under Dutch grasslands. They are not dead, which is what some much repeated rhetoric suggests. They are full of life, but of course it’s not the same soil life as you would find in natural or extensively managed grasslands.

I wrote an article on foodlog about the formation and stabilisation of soil organic matter, and the role that plant roots and microbes play in these processes.

As a member of the “climate panel” of the Leeuwarder Courant (Leeuwarden happens to be the place where I was born and grew up!), I wrote an article about ways to make Dutch agriculture more climate-resilient.

I wrote another article on foodlog, this time in response to claims made by Stichting Agrifacts that nitrogen mineralisation in soil is the biggest culprit when it comes to nitrogen enrichment of ecosystems.

As a member of the “climate panel” of the Leeuwarder Courant, I wrote an article about the effects of drought on soils and their functioning.

Together with 19 other scientists, I wrote an op-ed about the effects of nitrogen deposition on ecosystems, which was published in Boerderij and in Friesch Dagblad. We wrote this piece because there were many false statements in the media and by politicians about the effects of nitrogen deposition on nature, for example “we just get some more nettles” and “more nitrogen just means that everything gets greener”. However, two years later, the discussion still revolves around zombie-arguments and denial. This thread about zombie-arguments prompted Simon Rozendaal to write an op-ed about nitrogen deposition, in which he, in fact, used more zombie-arguments.

But one of the things I’ve enjoyed most of all was contributing to the children’s book Little Worm’s Big Question, which is about an earthworm that wants to find out what’s special about him. The book is one of my children’s favourites, and you can still order it here (that’s better than on Amazon!).