Taking Action for a Healthier Planet: Key Insights from Dr. Erlijn van Genuchten's New Book


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Adriaan Buys: Thank you very much for taking the time to watch our video. Please remember to subscribe. I'm here with Dr Erlijn van Genuchten.

Adriaan Buys: She's written the book a guide to a healthier Planet, which is making some waves on the internet. I've been reading a lot about it. I've been reading some of the chapters and it provides a very interesting perspective on the environment giving some tips and tricks on what we can do. It provides you with science that I've never heard of Dr. Erlijn has mentioned to me that that was part of the idea of writing the book was to bring for some of the science people don't actually hear about and I must say when it comes to climate science. I've read some interesting new solutions that you've put in the book that are coming to the full

Adriaan Buys: Something that I've also read was the light pollution which was an interesting thing because we've recently published an article on conservation mag on the light pollution and it's effect on fireflies, which was again a first for me to hear about light pollution and the effects on fireflies and in your text that you actually give examples of good ways to install your life. To reduce light position and light pollution and the positioning of the light that shines down for example is better than when it shines up or totally surrounded I guess it wastes a bit of energy as well if we think about it on the climate side, but thank you very much for joining me.

Adriaan Buys: So that's just a little bit of an introduction. Very well done on publishing the book. Yeah, as you've mentioned there's already quite a bit of sales going through the book is published by a spring air by my correct. And so they managing it and…

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Yep, that's great.

Adriaan Buys: Dr Erlijn van Genuchten is already a busy working on a follow-up book, which is fantastic news. Specifically what I liked as well as well as the connection and I mentioned this to you at the end of the book there is a connection to the psychology of chain. how do we inspire people to change and with work within our current societal structure

Adriaan Buys: and then bring forth change, because we've grown up with certain expectations on having a house having a core everybody has to have a car because if you don't have a car you can't go to places Society has been designed around at roads shopping malls places Transport Systems and specifically an area where our currently staying in I'm going to quite a suburbian area and New Zealand for the moment. There's actually very good public transport, but the structure he or no shops within walking. It's comfortable walking distance. So the society is almost structured in a way that you need transport to get to a public place. So

Adriaan Buys: having mentioned all these things you bring quite a bit of solutions Etc. So I think maybe let's start off with some of your ideas on climate science that you bring to the four having seen what's happened in and Dubai lost year in terms of the climate science and the agreements that are quite soft. What do you see as happening in the future? You're very positive person which comes through your writing and speaking to you. Do you think there is a way in which we can turn the ship around?

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Yes, yes, I definitely believe so and that's also of course one of the reasons why I wrote this guy to a healthier planets because it inspires us as individuals to take action towards a healthier planet. And the reason why I believe that we as individual individuals can make a huge positive difference is not only because our actions in daily life make a positive difference and add up over time also. When we make changes and behave differently, we Inspire others to do the same because as humans we look at each other to see how others behaving do I like that? Do I want to do the same?


Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: I like the example, for example when we want to go outside and not sure whether to wear a jacket or bringing an umbrella. Then we look at the window to see what other people are wearing and then think they're all wearing jackets as well. So that's normal human behavior. And that also works with sustainable Behavior. So when I make a change in my daily life to live more environmentally friendly none, I inspire all those to do the same and one example, for example really is that I used to doing 65 sustainable decisions So making my own daily life more environmentally friendly.

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Every day for a year and during that challenge which I successfully completed one change was go going little picking outside. So I started picking up waste putting it in pins and told my mom about it that I was doing that and she said, that's really nice. We can do that together as well. So I inspired her to do the same and now she still goes with me every now and then she's goes with my dad. She isn't even has a group of friends who go let the picking once a month and I don't know. What about These friends but they may do the same and that daily lives as well. So that's what I call The Snowball Effect. Our actions are Behavior inspires others to do the same. And that's why one person can have a lot of positive impact on positive change on the long run because it spreads further and further and further.

Adriaan Buys: No, if you're bringing inspiration, I think It creates that Snowball Effect, but just recently that an interviewer change making interview and from with them A group of people in Mexico who created this and yeah now I like your picking up a rubbish because they went there they were peddling and they're a couple of friends who went paddling together and fishing when they're paddling. And they realize the area has become so full of plastic.

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD:

Adriaan Buys: And they started in picking up the plastic with the kayaks and…

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: mmm

Adriaan Buys: the while rowing. And other people to do this, they decided to create this competition. So now we've got this annual competition and…

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Yeah.

Adriaan Buys: it's a plastic fishing competition where people go and fish for plastic instead of and that got prizes and they've got the whole events around it, which is that so I think we can really create positive change and I think regionally and certain things Inspire in communities if you can look when I stayed in Cape Town for example living a vegetarian lifestyle. Was quite normal.

Adriaan Buys: Everybody had a person in their family, which is vegetarian Ortiz or sometimes two or three people in the family who was vegetarian. So all the restaurants cater for vegetarian Etc being in a place here in Auckland. I find it bit more I'm slightly more disconnected. Yeah, but I find there's a lot more of a meat called these not in the frame groups that I work in the aren't that much vegetarianism going. So I find it difficult to live my vegetarian sort of Lifestyle, and

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Exactly great example of how our social environment influences this as well because when it's perceived as normal that someone is a vegetarian then it's of course also a lot easier to keep going or to inspire other stupid competitoring as well. Whereas when there is a social pressure of eating meat then the opposite happens. So that's why our social environments and it's so important and we as individual can also influence our social environment by making changes first or following when someone else may change so

Adriaan Buys: The very retrie now that something I saw and I'm very glad I saw it in your book and it's quite a controversial topic and that is nuclear. And if you've got some other initiatives as well about removing CO2 from the atmosphere for the climate change. But the one thing you did have a positive spin on Nucleus.


Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD:

Adriaan Buys: I'm not going to put you on the spot. So yeah. I know in the environmental field that is something sometimes it causes controversy, but I know it is a solution for the four climate change. What is your thinking about?

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Mm- Yeah, so I have to say that I haven't dug into the nucleot topic in much detail. So before I make extensive comments, I would like to read the signs behind it first what I have. Roughly learned on the way working in this field is that of course a huge disadvantage of nuclear power is the nuclear waste that is produced by this plants. and also not knowing the details. It could be that when not and splitting atoms which is how we produce nuclear power this time, but fusing atoms or molecules now atoms I know that creates more energy than splitting.

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: And when we use this type of energy, there is no nuclear waste so that is good news and they are already building the first nuclear fusion plant so that could be the future of nuclear energy because there is distinction. But as I said, I would have to prefer to read science behind it to make more comments.

Adriaan Buys: Yeah. it's quite an interesting because it could be partly a solution because we are such an energy Hungry Society, and it's just becoming more I mean without AI now and with cloud computing and with everything, it's just sucking so much electricity. and now with all our electric vehicles we can have to be powering. and building Coal Power Station is not the solution and I know many countries are still planning to build coal for the future and you've got interesting article or some interesting topics in your

Adriaan Buys: In your book on plastic and then you touch on biodiversity what we are very passionate about and I know diversity. Can you maybe just tell me what is your thinking and you have some of your Solutions and…

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Okay.

Adriaan Buys: things that you see in the future for biodiversity, the global drive to have 30% of land protected what you think is around these biodiversity.

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Yeah, so biodiversity is indeed also very important topic and I included in the book The Three environment I've environmental crisis we're currently dealing with so we also already touched up on climate change environmental pollution and the third one is not indeed buyer diversity and the good news is that So the bad news is that we have a crisis the good news is that there are also in this. Field so the same many different solutions that we can take on an individual level as we already discussed but also on the bigger level. and one of the solutions that I for example and discuss in this book is about

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: agriculture how we can change agriculture so that it becomes more environmentally friendly more sustainable and one of the topics we for example never hear in the news is how we can prime seeds which means treating seeds for plants before planting them so that they're for example more resistant against diseases so that they are more likely to grow into plants and more likely to Bear fruits. So the same and that's more environmentally friendly than for example used to test using pesticides. So just one example of what we can do for biodiversity and the good thing is as well that by The Varsity is also related to for example climate change because

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: an example of an animal that is very important for biodiversity and climate change are for example whales because whales store a lot of CO2 and in that bodies, And when biodiversity reduces because for example, we hunt whales and with few Wills the food chain changes so that in the end all the species cannot survive or are more likely to survive. Then this also climate change with climate change also impacts the ocean life which then of course impact whales so it is a back and forth how these


Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: impact each of them and that's the good news is that when we for example contributes to supporting Wales, I don't like the same hitting two birds with one stone because that's not very nice when you get my point we

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: in one effort. So yeah, that's a good news. So these changes can make a big impact.

Adriaan Buys: fantastic, and now I you've got all section on wine, which is quite interesting and…

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Okay.

Adriaan Buys: I think I want to introduce wine discussion. with a bit of a Twist, because I'm Being from my wine region myself for the last couple of years. I've been staying in Cape Town, which is unbelievable great wines and Stellenbosch area and also Constantia areas and a favorite pastime of mine. Most weekends were going to the wine farm, So having a glass of wine and I think we talk about the impact climate change is going to have on the wine production Etc. But the wine production also has an effect on biodiversity. So this almost

Adriaan Buys: When people look at agricultural areas, they look at farmlands and green Farmland specifically wine lens and green agriculture. I think our minds trigger something we love the sight of green. So I saw something interesting about the photography knowledge because quite love photography and that cameras are designed in such a way that the green part of what the photos capture is double the size of the blue and…

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: he

Adriaan Buys: and the other colors so because our human eyes are so It loves the color green it relaxes us and we want to see it so camera captures more green so…

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Okay.

Adriaan Buys: but when we look at Farm areas, this artist is beautiful nature, but we don't see that. This is a mono culture crop when we look at for example wine ones. Now, don't give me wrong. There are farmers that have to spoken to in Cape Town. We're doing amazing things, things under the vines so to try and reduce the soil erosion, so when the vines are actually during the winter area lose all their leaves and actually can't suck in any carbon have any

Adriaan Buys: A positive environmental aspect. There's actually other plants that can at that point now putting nutrients back in this world. What is your thinking about this and so obviously there's good farming and there's bad farming but we do need to eat and we're not going to stop people from drinking wine or coffee or whatever. How do we think that balance?

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Yeah.

Adriaan Buys: How do we find that balance?

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Mm- Yes. So you already mentioned one important aspect is to have a different crops in one area because they also use different nutrients and they have different benefits. It's also possible to comne. Different agricultural fields, for example with solar panels. I'm not sure whether it's possible with wine, although areas that's possible and it's also important to consider the environment where it's put because for example in your example in Cape Town, there is a special kind of environment which is called thin boss and that only exists in that area. So when that cut and it is cut for wine production, then this type of

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: yeah vegetation and this biodiversity area is then harmed and when it's It's gone because it doesn't exist anywhere else in the world. So it is also important to decide where to cut and do this responsibly so that this balance between Using land, but also keeping land in a natural way. So that biodiversity. Could Thrive there to keep that balance. And also because of climate change these areas are changing because you also deal in Cape Town. For example with a lot of droughts and drought is one of the acts and one of the factors influencing how well the great grow and how well the great grow influences The Taste and the sugar levels for example in the grapes which then influences the taste of the wine. So, yeah, it'll fits together and


Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: it will impact each other.

Adriaan Buys: Yeah, that's amazing. Our interlinks. All of these things are what keeps it form healthy is what keeps the environment healthy bit. So I mean good practices and then it is some amazing work coming through which is great. Science is being developed on how responsible farming.

Adriaan Buys: Can have a positive impact and in Cape Town specifically organizations the WWF are working very closely with the wine farms. And I know I think we've published an article on conservation mag on responsible wine making and specifically the taste of responsible. So as God an awards Series going I think in Cape Town where they give her the greenest wine farms and then they rank them and they gave them all Wards and…

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Yeah.

Adriaan Buys: so it becomes a marketing tool in as well.

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: this

Adriaan Buys: Putting wine farms. if you do things right, that you can say and then I think it's sort of leads me sort of a Segway to sort of the thisology. Behind the environment and how to inspire change, And conservation mag. I think my idea with conservation mag was the environment shouldn't always just be the stick, to try and motivate people to change and do better things. they are exciting vegetarian dishes and I spoke recently to somebody who is now starting to date a vegetarian. and this lady said to me

Adriaan Buys: I never realized food could be so tasty and vegetarian food could be so tasty, you have to have all your meals vegetarian during the week, but just cutting down on meat consumption or…

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: but

Adriaan Buys: you or having a responsible meat consumption already makes a difference.

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD:

Adriaan Buys: how can we Inspire change in a positive way and yet great ideas that we start.

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: yeah, one that so in the book, I described several factors that aren't important or holding it back from making a positive change faster. And for me, one of the most important ones is what is called motivation from within when we want to do something because when we feel that we have to make a change because the environment the government tells us or some regulation then we may still do it. But if we are motivated ourselves to do so this is way stronger and we keep this change up for a longer so

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: For example in your great example of the person dating display vegetarian lady when he never thought of the common vegetarian, but he wants to become very vegetarian too or reduced meat consumption because he loves this lady and want to be in a relationship with her then it's his free choice to do so and it will be easy to keep this change up if he feels he has to because he tells him to become vegetarian who it's probably less attractive to converted Terry and that's on the social.

Adriaan Buys: That's a very good example, by the way, if I like that example, that's how you've been mines work, right probably from school of the teacher tells you you have to do it that…

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: exactly

Adriaan Buys: then you'll do it the opposite way.

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: That's also possible indeed. And that's also why in this book. I explained these different topics. We've been discussing a more topics and in interesting and engaging ways that we understand what's going on and that we understand why it's important to contribute to positive change because then when we understand and know why a positive change it's so important and what benefit it has for the world that is more likely that we actually want to maybe change for example with the light pollution example you gave earlier and we have no idea that light pollution is an issue. And of course, we don't make a change when we then become aware that this is an issue, but we don't understand why then we may still not make a change, but when we know why it is important, and for example how it affects fireflies how it affects us and we then also know how we can make a change.


Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Which is also included in the book what we could put into practice into daily life and we see these things that say, that's easy. I can do that. Then it's of course very tempting to put this into practice and make a positive change. So this inspiration and motivation from within is one of the very important aspects here,…

Adriaan Buys: A fantastic and…

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: I believe.

Adriaan Buys: I think I'm gonna conclude on that and I just want to thank you and just for you're happy demeanor and your friendliness which you bring this topic across. I think I can see why you are inspiring people to change, so I want to ask all our people are watching this to please And subscribe number one, of course that's important, but also have a look we'll put a link at the bottom for the book a guide to A Healthy Planet and by the book have a look at it and doctor.

Adriaan Buys: I would really like to thank you Elaine and then all the best with your book It may do really well on the sales and good luck with your second book and in writing I know it's a huge task and I take my head. Talk to you for doing your second one. So close to the first one being such a success.

Erlijn van Genuchten, PhD: Thank Wonderful talking to you and thank you all for your efforts in to contributing to what's a more sustainable future.

Meeting ended after 00:27:39 👋

Dr Adriaan Buys
Dr Adriaan BuysEnvironmentalist, Speaker & Consultant
Adriaan Buys, the founder of ConservationMag.org, is a researcher, environmental consultant, speaker and wildlife photographer. With a passion for inspiring change, he tells the stories of nature's plight. Contact him at adriaanbuys.com.

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