We are happy to welcome several keynote speakers at the IENE 2018 conference. Ignace Schops is one of them. He is a Belgian environmentalist, Director of the Belgian NGO Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland (RLKM), President of EUROPARC federation -  the largest network on natural heritage in Europe -  full member of the EU chapter of the Club of Rome, full member of the Rewilding Europe Circle and council member of the largest nature conservation organization in Flanders, Natuurpunt.

Evironmentalist and social entrepreneur
Ignace was awarded with the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2008, better known as the Green Nobel Prize for his contributions to the establishment of the Hoge Kempen National Park, the first National Park of Belgium. Since 2008 he was selected as ASHOKA fellow, a world leading social entrepreneur. Due to his international work on biodiversity and social entrepreneurship he became an Honorary Doctor at the Hasselt University in 2011. In 2013 he became a member of the Climate Leadership Corps of Al Gore and later that year he was decorated as the “Commander of the Order of the Crown” by the Belgian King Filip.

Reflect, rethink and harmonize our behavior
The title of his keynote presentation will be: Connecting the dots to re-connect ourselves. For thousands of years we depend on the vital services of the ecosystems of our planet. Since we entered the era of the Anthropocene our increasing ecological footprint is causing severe problems. The effects of Climate Change and Biodiversity loss are daily reminders that the diversity and the variety of life is falling apart. We are losing our comfort zone! So we need a system change. We need to reflect, rethink and harmonize our behavior and our relationship with the planetary boundaries and translate them into a language everybody can understand and join the essential change. Following nature’s design. In a densely populated region like Northwest-Europe we face many problems due to fragmentation. We are lacking real connectivity: for men and for animal and plant species. The way we harmonize transportation and nature can give direction towards a sustainable future. Is it possible to connect the dots and re-connect ourselves? Yes, we can!