donderdag, juni 23, 2022

What do young adults need to make sustainable lifestyle choices?

It was an eventful year for sustainability and Initiatives of Change The Netherlands (IofC NL). Last year we launched the sustainability initiative Go Green!, which we kickstarted with the Sustainability Week at InHolland and The Hague University of Applied Sciences.* Throughout 2021 up until now, we have organized other fun and sustainability-focused activities, such as a visit to a Floating Farm in Rotterdam and a green inspiration day with local initiatives in The Hague.

Now, the end of this extraordinary sustainability adventure has arrived. On 17 May, we organized a tour for construction physics students at Groene Mient, a sustainable housing project in The Hague. And on 4 June, we festively concluded Go Green! at the Maker Faire in Delft (photo right: a demonstration of drone technique at the Maker Faire).

We went out with a bang, as both activities were incredibly inspiring. Groene Mient is described as the first green village in The Hague. This remarkable project was initiated by citizens of The Hague with a shared vision on community and sustainability. For example, the space shown in the photo below left was built with sustainable and recycled materials by the locals themselves. The village is comprised of net-zero houses, which are not only environmentally friendly but beautifully designed as well. The communal garden, lush and green, is also a must-see (photo at the end of the article).

The construction physics students were impressed! ‘I loved seeing the theory I learned applied in practice’, one student said. Another student writes that he has learned something new: hemp is an excellent insulation material.

After this visit, we festively concluded Go Green! on 4 June at the Maker Faire in Delft, a creative festival for and by students. Here we played the Sustainability Game with visitors and had great conversations about sustainability and individual responsibility. Elly Stigter also gave a presentation about Go Green! With 6 activities and countless unforgettable moments, Go Green! has made an impact.

At the moment, we are looking into continuing some of Go Green!’s activities on popular demand. For example, Nutrition students are planning to do Go Green!’s vegan cooking workshop again next year. IofC NL has also been asked again to participate in the Sustainability Week 2022 and Den Haag Kleurt Groen, the inspiration day for local initiatives, will become a recurring activity.

During Go Green! we have gathered a few key insights:

- Young adults are willing to contribute to a healthy planet and a green future.
-  Even though young adults lack awareness about global and local sustainability politics, they are participating in the public and media dialogue on sustainability and climate.
- Many young adults are consciously making sustainable lifestyle choices. Examples: going vegetarian/vegan, taking shorter showers, buying second-hand, and traveling by train instead of by plane.

Young adults desire and need more tools to make sustainable lifestyle choices. This is what they told us:

- They want multinationals such as Shell to take responsibility for their destructive impact on the environment.
- They need better information on climate and sustainability. Examples: attention to sustainability in the school curriculum, more advice from health services on how to eat healthy and consciously.
- They want cheaper conscious food choices. Examples: reduce taxes on meat substitutes and organic fruit and vegetables.

In short: young adults need more tools, inspiration, and encouragement when it comes to going green! For now, Go Green! has ended, but sustainability remains an important theme for IofC NL. We will continue to inspire people to think green and act green.

By Shereen Siwpersad.

Photo drone technique from Maker Faire Delft.

*Go Green! is co-financed by the Dutch representation of the EU.