donderdag, november 4, 2021

In search of sustainability: Go Green! and IofC’s  Sustainability Week at The Hague University and InHolland

‘How familiar are you with the topic of sustainability?’ ‘Have you ever heard of the European Green Deal?’ ‘Should your college program include sustainability as a theme?’ ‘Why (not)?’

These were a few questions that Initiatives of Change The Netherlands (IofC) discussed with students from The Hague University and InHolland. During Buro EU, a previous IofC initiative, local young adults expressed a lack of engagement with sustainability and climate-centred politics. However, this lack of engagement did not imply a lack of interest. As it turned out, the interviewees believed that we should prioritize sustainability, both politically and personally. They too wished to contribute to a better climate. But, they wondered, how do you implement sustainability on an individual level?

This focus on personal choice and responsibility is emphasized in IofC’s brand-new project Go Green! During this initiative, funded by IofC and the European Union (EU), IofC will team up with local students, jointly setting out to explore new perspectives on sustainability. Go Green! aims to provide students with green tips and tricks, giving them the inspiration they need to make their lives more sustainable.

The kick-off of this initiative took place at The Hague University and InHolland during the global Sustainability Week from 4 to 8 October. During this event, we asked students to participate in IofC’s Sustainability Game, which was developed in collaboration with InHolland’s Creative Business students. During this game, students took an interactive quiz that assessed their knowledge about sustainability. The game, which turned out to be quite a challenge for some students, led to some thought-provoking conversations.

One student told us with confidence that he had no interest in said topic. ‘The call to reduce one’s meat intake is irritating to me’, he said. ‘I absolutely love meat, and I will continue to eat meat.’ His peers agreed with him. Despite their doubts, we convinced these students to play the Sustainability Game. Whilst playing, they learned that purchasing second-hand products has a positive effect on the environment—more so than reducing one’s meat intake. The students were baffled by this fact. ‘This is surprising’, the meat-loving student told us. ‘I’m not willing to reduce my meat consumption, but perhaps I could purchase second-hand products more often...’

DuurzaamheidsspelWe also had meaningful conversations with Child Education students, during which we learned that climate education is not a part of InHolland’s Child Education program. ‘Does climate education start at home or at school? Or both?’ we asked them. ‘It should start at school as well’, one of the students replied after a brief silence. ‘So we should definitely incorporate climate education into the program!’

There were also responses from very climate-conscious students. A few of them have consciously chosen to reduce their air travel and meat intake, even though they expressed a desire for more inspiration and options for vegetarian food. Luckily, Go Green! will soon provide some food inspiration by offering students free vegan and biological cooking workshops.

In other words, IofC’s Sustainability Week was a great success! Many students have signed up for future Go Green! activities and more than 350 students have expanded their knowledge by playing IofC’s Sustainability Game. We have had fun and interesting conversations with these students and we look forward to assist them in their search for sustainable lifestyle options.

By Shereen Siwpersad.

Learn more about our project Go Green!:

* This project is funded by Initiatives of Change and the Dutch representation of the European Commission.