Function and Area of Expertise
His position of being a senior staff member in the area of science and religion at the Blaise Pascal Institute also involves being the secretary of the study group Theology and Natural Sciences which has already existed for more than twenty years. His own research focusses specifically on the historical and contemporary relationship between sustainability and philosophy of life. At the core of it lies the question, which concepts in our Western culture which so strongly aims at growth and progress, determine the (un)sustainable relationship with the natural environment. In addition to the prevailing currents, attention is given to dissident groups, undercurrents of the past and the present which were moved by their philosophies of life and therefore developed other relationships with their natural surroundings. In 2002, Martine Vonk in her capacity of being a research assistant, started doing research on this topic. In this connection, intriguing groups can be mentioned, such as the Amish-Mennonites, the Franciscans, the Kibbutzim, Organic Farming and New Age Communes.
Jan Boersema is involved in the area of environmental science in several ways. He is the final editor of the Elementary Book of Environmental Science which saw its first edition in 1984 and its fifth in 1992. With Lucas Reijnders he is the final editor of a new textbook, Principles of Environmental Science.
Jan Boersema is Board Member of the Association of Environment Professionals (VVM) and Editor- in-chief of Environmental Sciences, Journal of Integrative Environmental Research(ES) which in 2002 took the place of the journal Milieu. At the Institute of Environmental Issues (IVM) of the VU he participates in the section of Environmental Policy Analysis (EPA) and is member of the commission which prepares the Masters program Environment and Resource Management.
At the Ministry of VROM he was member of a think tank called Forum. In this connection, since 2000 he was working on the project Culture, philosophy of life and the VROM policies. At the end of 2002 this project was finished.
Email and accessibility
Jan Boersema may be reached by email: email@example.com.
His office is room 15 A-30, located on the 15th floor of the main building of the VU.
Snail mail: Blaise Pascal Instituut, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Telephone: +31-20-59 85675.
Jan J. Boersema (1947) studied Biology (with a Major in Ethology and Minors in Endocrinology and Polemology) at the Rijks Universiteit Groningen. At the same university he became a researcher and lector of Environmental Science at the interdisciplinary Department of Energy and Environmental Science (IVEM). Since 1994 he has been employed by the Ministry of VROM (the Ministry for housing, environmental planning and stewardship). Initially he held the position of General Secretary of the Council of Environmental Stewardship and in 1997 he became a Director of projects. In 1994 he also obtained the position of Lector at the Centre of Environmental Science (CML) at the University of Leiden. Recently his research interest has mainly focussed on the historical, philosophical and religious backgrounds of the environmental problems in our Western culture. He is editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Environmental Sciences (ES) ; and final editor of Basisboek Milieukunde (1984/1992) en Principles of Environmental Science (2004). In 1997 he defended his Ph.D.-thesis at the Rijks Universiteit of Groningen. This thesis combined the fields of environment and theology, it was entitled Thora and Stoa about Man and Nature: A Contribution to the Environmental Debate on Sustainability and Quality. In 2001 Brill published an English edition, entitled The Torah and the Stoics.
In March 2002 he was appointed a named professor of Earth and Life Sciences (Faculty of ALW) at the Vrije Universiteit (VU), having been given the teaching commitment of the Cultural and Philosophical Dimensions of the Relationship between Man and Nature. With that appointment he also became a senior staff member of the Blaise Pascal Institute at the VU, where his office is. On October 3, 2002, he delivered his inaugural speech, entitled How Green is the Good Life? On Progress and the Natural Environment in Our Western Culture. Jan Boersema is married, has three grown-up children and one grandson. He lives in Leiden. He is an enthusiastic (mountain) walker, player of volleyball, bird watcher and photographer (of nature).