Mirjam Hazenbosch

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” wrote the Chinese philosopher Laozi in the Dao De Jing. We are facing huge challenges in achieving food security and biodiversity conservation. Even though the path to solving these problems may seem daunting due to their scope and complexity, I believe we should take Laozi’s words at heart and start countering these issues by taking single steps at a time.

My experience with conservation projects in the Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA made me realize that often the first step in solving a challenge is to get a thorough understanding of what the problem is. That is why I decided to pursue a PhD.

In my PhD project I am investigating how agricultural production and biodiversity conservation can be achieved in smallholder farming communities in the developing world, taking smallholder farming in Papua New Guinea as my study case.

I also take steps outside of my research to raise awareness for sustainability issues by joining student associations, taking part in sport competitions such as the Run-For-Your-Life Initiative (a relay race from the Arctic to Paris on the occasion of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference), writing articles for the Dutch website duurzamestudent.nl, and managing the blog content for Conservation Optimism!