Since her childhood, Renske den Exter cares about nature and the world around her. After her bachelor 'Environmental Science' at Van Hall-Larenstein in Leeuwarden she wanted to continue studying.
"Although my practical bachelor's degree was very valuable, I sometimes missed the academic level and in-depth information. That is why I came to Wageningen University to follow the Master Urban Environmental Management. Within this master I have chosen the Major Environmental Policy to learn more about the possibilities and impossibilities of policies for sustainability. Although many renewable technologies are available, their implementation goes sometimes slowly. For effective implementation (and thus policies and communication) proper technical knowledge is required. That is why I have chosen to combine my Major in policy with the Minor Urban Environmental Technology and Management. All in all, the many excursions, assignments and practical cases made the Master Urban Environmental Management an interesting master which I can recommend to everybody."
Thesis "Climate Policy in Dutch Municipalities: Organisation, Policy, Implementation and Performance"
Having learned a lot about climate strategies in several major cities around the world during her master Urban Environmental Management , Renske was wondering how the situation was in her own country. "Although there are many case studies done in the Netherlands about climate policies, there was no good overview of the exact situation of climate policies in Dutch municipalities. Furthermore, there were only a few studies where both mitigation (how can you reduce greenhouse gas emissions) and adaptation (adaptation to impacts that may occur) were included. I wanted to fill this research gap by interviewing not only a few but systematically all 100,000 plus municipalities, not only about mitigation but also about the integration of mitigation and adaptation. I have therefore looked how climate strategies are anchored in the organisation, policy and implementation of municipalities. and how this relates to their performance. "Renske analysed 25 of the 26 largest municipalities using her own set indicators for the degree of anchoring in the organisation, the policy and the implementation. "Eventually, I could draw several conclusions. The main conclusions are that climate strategies are still not anchored properly in many municipalities and that in many cases we can not talk about an integration of mitigation and adaptation."
Renske received many enthusiastic responses from the municipalities afterwards, but that was not all. Renske also won the Rachel Carson Environmental Thesis 2012 with her thesis. This is awarded each year by the VVM, the network for environmental professionals. According to Renske this is because "my thesis gives a very clear and relevant overview, not only in width (i.e. 25 municipalities) but also in depth (type of organisation, policy, implementation factors and performance). This was a lot of work, but it is relevant for international literature, municipalities and anyone who cooperates with municipalities." A valuable work..