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Multi-Species in the Decision-making process

How can I give the Meuse a voice in the political decision- making of Rijkswaterstaat by visualizing data from selected keystone species?

This TU/e master graduation project was executed in collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat. The context is a coming together of a practical national political program and the philosophical Staying with the Trouble from Donna J. Haraway.

The national political program
The context is the national program: Programmatic Approach to Great Waters (PAGW). PAGW was initiated with the goal to increase the biodiversity of the large waters in the Netherlands. Rijkswaterstaat executes PAGW together with Staatsbosbeheer and RVO (=Netherlands Enterprise Agency). But how does Rijkswaterstaat increase the biodiversity of an ecosystem? By restoring habitats around these waters and connecting all of these habitats as a network. In this project there is zoomed in on the river the Meuse due to the high water in July ‘21

The philosophical movement of multispecies involvement
This master graduation project builds upon Donna J Haraway’s philosophical call for Staying with the Trouble [4]. This philosophy is also visible in the international Rights of Nature movement where nature entities like rivers are given a voice to speak for themselves. This voice is often translated by involved human parties. How can I represent the voice of the river the Meuse?

“How can I give the river the Meuse a voice?”
Rosalie Oomen

The TU/e master graduate has an expertise in data visualization. Therefore, to give the river the Meuse a voice two maps (data visualizations) have been designed. One map shows important ecological data that defines potential spots to create more nature to increase the biodiversity around the Meuse. The other map shows data from the involved human stakeholders in PAGW. For the human stakeholders the types of land use show (limited) potential spots to create more nature to increase the biodiversity around the Meuse. 
Visualizing these two perspectives next to each other allows for critical reflection on Rijkswaterstaat’s perspective with the aim of prioritizing nature more. So Rijkswaterstaat, what voice(s) are you going to listen to during the political decision-making?

“How can I include the voice of a river in the political decision-making about water in the Netherlands?”
Rosalie Oomen

The project results have had a significant impact at Rijkswaterstaat and PAGW. This project achieved to shape the current involvement of nature in PAGW. Additionally, it shaped (/is shaping) the mindset of the involved experts to think from a different perspectives which directly influences their decision-making. Due to this impact, this project has been developed further by the graduate for Rijkswaterstaat.

“By visualizing nature more prominently (with objective knowledge and data) prioritizing nature becomes easier already.”
Involved expert

REFERENCES

  1. Rijkswaterstaat - about us. Retrieved December 28, 2021 from https://www.rijkswaterstaat.nl/en/about-us
  2. 2021. Werken aan een levende delta met de Programmatische Aanpak Grote Wateren. Retrieved December 28, 2021 from https://www.pagw.nl
  3. W. van Heusden, H. Sluiter, M. Tijnagel, W. Vercruijsse, and A. Zuidhof. 2021. Ecologische Systeemopgave PAGW-Rivieren.
  4. Donna J Haraway. 2016. Staying with the trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press.

Contacts

  • -
    Rosalie Oomen
  • -
    collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat

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