During our recent CEDA-IADC Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure Conference, we took an opportunity to interview Professor Dr. Patrick Meire of University of Antwerp.
Dr. Meire is a professor in biology and head of the research group Ecosystem Management (ECOBE) at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. His research focuses on the environmental impact of human activities on aquatic and wetland systems, and these insights are used to develop concepts for integrated water and ecosystem management.
When asked about changing our mindsets towards using natural resources, he went on to say: “This is absolutely fundamental. The fact that nature is delivering these ecosystem services is essential towards a future of sustainable development, which should be a combination between technical infrastructure and natural system. The nature can do a lot of things for us for free.”
Dr. Meire also put a spotlight on the ecosystem services, saying that “these services are in fact the direct and indirect benefits that we gain from the nature and from the ecosystems around us. They are delivering us flood protection, regulation of temperature, clean water, etc.”
The two-day-long program (19 and 20 November) took place in the heart of Amsterdam at the Beurs van Berlag, gathering professionals from all sectors involved in the realization of a dredging project.
The conference highlighted quintessential knowledge for planners, designers, decision makers, regulators, contractors, project owners and environmental advocates and also celebrated the launch of the Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure guidebook.