Louis De Jaeger is a public speaker and advocate for renewable farming, sustainable green management and circular economy. After five years of traveling around the world he decided to find and implement solutions to many problems he had seen on his journeys. He runs Commensalist, a business that makes company-, home- and government greenery future proof. He’s also a lifelong learner, currently studying agro- and biotechnology and participates in (inter)national seminars and summits such as the Asian-European Young Leaders Summit. He’s written many articles and started several campaigns that have appeared in major Belgium and Dutch newspapers and on radio and television, trying to make citizens and politicians conscious about what they can do to make a renewable and better world. He’s currently writing a book about the future of agriculture and works one day a week as an agro-ecological farmer to really get in touch with the subject. Louis also does lobby work, he recently proposed a new law on durable city greenery management.
1. What do you think is the main reason why some people don’t care about your topic?
There are different reasons. Most of the time it’s because people simply aren’t aware or well informed that we have an environmental crisis banging on our door. The global ‘warming’ probably won’t kill us but the lack of drinkable water and water for agriculture might. People don’t know there is a huge correlation between the way we treat the soil, the lack of organic materials in it, and the severeness of the draught crisis. Some people are aware of the problem but simply have given up because they feel they can’t do anything against the ‘established superpowers’.
2. If you were the president/prime minister of your country for one day, what would you change about this topic?
I would write a policy: close the loop. Our country is one big ship that is corroding, sailing in one big chemical, toxic and polluted ocean. While I’m not against chemicals, a lot of them can be replaced by more natural solutions. I would start with the children. We as a country must provide them with free untreated healthy natural food, a balanced diet with less meat, throughout their school career. While the danger of pesticides is debated upon, we have to take a precaution. Children are our future, let’s give them a healthy kickstart.
This measure is closely related to our agricultural policies that I would change. We needn’t totally abandon international trade, but we need to produce and eat as local as possible, to diminish environmental pressure. Our goal would be a circular economy, with zero waste and pollution. Further on we’d need to ban agricultural practices that destroy soil and biodiversity. The absurd mentality to get soy from South America, feed the pigs in Belgium and sell them to China needs to change.
As a whole, we need to reinstall solidarity, because people are forgetting we’re all humans, we’re all the same, wanting a warm and fulfilling life. We might be one of the most prosperous countries, but it’s worrying we have so many depressions and suicides.
3. Do you have a personal motto?
Live more natural, not by decreasing but by increasing our living standards.
4. Can you share some links to talks or texts, or name literature that you can recommend to any starting activist?
“The one straw revolution” is a book written by a visionary Japanese farmer, Masanobu Fukuoka, that teaches us a lot about the beauty of working together with nature and ultimately being more in harmony with yourself and your surroundings.