Introduction IMAU newsletter by Michiel van den Broeke
I hope that you are well. It is my pleasure to report that the IMAU newsletter makes a fresh start and I thank the editorial board members for their efforts in getting it up and running again. Some observant readers will have noted that we no longer use the trusted IMAU logo that has been with us for so many years. The reason is that, like all UU research institutes, we are in the process of adopting the new UU brand identity (for more details, see www.uu.nl/en/organisation/corporate-identity). The publication frequency of this newsletter will also change: we plan to publish three newsletters per year, one of which will include an annual overview of IMAU teaching- and research highlights. So, if you have any ideas or interesting stories to share, please let us know!
Since the start of the pandemic, many things have been said and written on how the corona-, ecological- and climate crises are connected, and how we should aim for a green recovery. In his opinion piece ‘How we broke the world’ (tinyurl.com/ycjv6xn5) that was published in the New York Times on May 30th, economist Thomas L. Friedman drew some interesting parallels between Covid-19 and climate change: “You have to be in total denial not to see all of this as one giant flashing warning signal for our looming – and potentially worst – global disaster, climate change…Unlike biological pandemics like Covid-19, climate change does not ‘peak’. Once we deforest the Amazon or melt the Greenland ice sheet, it’s gone – and we will have to live with whatever extreme weather that unleashes…But unlike the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all the antibodies we need to both live with and limit climate change.”
And he is right of course! We do have a vaccine for climate change, and its discovery and development has been made possible by the ever-growing body of fundamental scientific knowledge about the climate system. So, here’s a special message to climate scientists, many of whom are currently working from home: don’t forget that as a trained physical climate scientist, you are an indispensable part of the global movement to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis. Even if you are not an active climate researcher anymore, simply spread your knowledge to support a fact-based decision process. Looking for inspiration how? In this issue you can read how our IMAU colleague Guus Velders successfully applied and still applies his knowledge of the climate system to solve global environmental problems.
I wish you lots of reading pleasure and good health,