Chemistry student Jack just moved to Groningen from the UK. Eager to experience what the city has to offer, he wants to explore and investigate. Here he blogs about his experiences as an energy student.

I’ve often found that it can be difficult to make even the most simple decisions. Where should we eat tonight? Which show on Netflix should I waste my day with? Should I go to the library? When it comes to the big decisions, it’s no wonder that we pay people to make them. One of those people is Stientje van Veldhoven – a Dutch politician as part of the D66 party – who was recently in town as part of Energy Academy Europe’s ‘Energy Lecture’ series. After exploring the Arctic with 55 other top researchers Stientje realised that ‘the rate of change in the Arctic is faster than reports can be written’. From her lecture there was a sense of urgency throughout as she highlighted the fact that our decisions in the next few decades will be crucial in determining our way of life for the future. Despite a cancellation earlier this year due to bad weather, being voted the ‘Greenest Dutch Politician of the Year’ in 2011, 2012 and 2014 made the wait all the more worthwhile for the 40 energy students and professionals who attended her talk. As part of this they received information on how important energy policy is on a national and international scale, her views on the Paris agreements – the key point being how they are the start of a challenging process – and how the government should encourage local leadership and communal solutions to our energy problems. Before she took to the stage, we decided to ask her a few questions on issues related to the climate, energy and the woman behind the work: