Coming from a background in environmental systems analysis, I have always been interested in the interactions between nature and society. Where the interconnectedness of ecosystems and the beauty of nature's display never seize to amaze me, 'human ecology', especially where it interferes with nature and causes harm to both itself and its surroundings, has probably even more secrets to share. Currently I am working on trends and developments in protein transition, unraveling the underlying mechanisms that can explain our consumption of meat and other animal foods, which I refer to as 'current consumption practices of protein sources'.
By applying systems thinking, secondary data-analysis, and simulation modelling, I explore multiple scale levels, different conceptual models of reality and dynamics in both our diets and food environments, and try to find out why intended behaviours of reducing animal-based consumption and increasing plant-based foods in diets do not align with consumption patterns. While synthesizing existing evidence from literature and experts I contribute to building bridges between disciplinary insights and aim for a more comprehensive understanding of the influences of our food environment on food behaviours, ultimately making way for a more sustainable future.
In developing a more complete picture of current consumption practices of protein sources, I am aware of the societal turmoil and political sensitivity of the topic 'meat consumption'. Frequently (social) media mention cases of protest, either against the cattle industry or unethical treatment of animals, or intended meat curtailment policies or additional regulations for cattle farmers. By following the public debate on this topic and particating in conferences, workshops and other forms of communiation inside and outside science, I hope my expertise and the results of my research can feed policies to accelerate the protein transition.
Each year I supervise one or more bachelor and master students during their thesis project. In addition I provide guest lectures and lunch seminars related to systems thinking, such as causal loop diagrams, agent-based simulation modelling, and assessing health and sustainability for diets/lifestyle.
Do you have questions about my research or do you want to collaborate? Please contact me by e-mail.