Treating the earth with respect!
Corporate scandals have pressed organisations into adopting ‘greener’ and more ‘sustainable’ business practices, taking care of our natural resources and thus treating the earth with respect. But what about our individual efforts? In this post, I’m sharing with you one the models I’ve encountered along the way here in Holland. I hope to inspire mostly my Caribbean friends to give it some thought. Here we go.
A while ago, I met Pepijn (Business Innovator at NATIVE circles). For the second year in a row, Pepijn has been been chosen as one of 100 Dutch sustainability young leaders for his many efforts for helping organisations creating sustainable future-proof solutions.
What caught my attention about him was the way he tries to live as responsible as possible. He has always had a connection with the sea the wind and nature in general. As he beautifully states: “if you treat the earth with respect, you always get something back”.
These are just a few examples of how he does it:
- Clothing: Biologic, Fair Trade (Dutch store Eerlijk Waar and Patagonia) or second hand (clothing library: Kleding bibliotheek or Thred up). The Mud-Jeans makes also a very attractive alternative, where you don’t actually own your pair of jeans, you just lease them and give them back for a new pair to be made out of them.
- Moving around: His car is fuelled by Green Gas from Orange Gas. Basically his use of natural gas is compensated by the same amount of biogas. And yes, Pepijn owns a car. Sometimes we tend to think that driving a car is polluting. But what I’ve learned from him, is that you have to make your own choices about how you lead your sustainable life. The distances he travels are impossible with the bike, and the national train service has let him down so many times….you get me.
- Pepijn owns a piece of a (modern) windmill. This is how it works: the windmill is split in “1000 pieces”. You pay a monthly amount and get electricity from your own piece of windmill. If there is no wind, you’ll get green electricity. Either way it’s cheaper than the regular power net. Read all about the Windcentrale.
- For a long time I’ve been thinking of buying a new watch. One with a natural look, made of wood…”buy a watch and plant a tree”. I liked the idea… until I met Pepijn. My dream watch uses a battery. And batteries, even being so small, are still polluting. “Het zit hem in de kleine dingen”…It’s about the small efforts you make…. I’m still searching for my sustainable watch, battery less, solar/light powered (Citizen eco-driven) or Seiko kinetic watch which is powered by your own daily movements.
- Here in the Netherlands it’s easy for me to manage the food I buy. Local =
better. Think about the CO2 emissions released when transported. Seasonal = better. Less water and other means needed to produce an out-of season crop. Biologic = better. No pesticides and other harmful substances. Less meat = better.
Less methane emissions produced by cows. Methane is 21 times more powerful than CO2. Expect my views on vegetarianism and the environment soon.
- Recycling! We need to recycle, people! It’s obvious for the Dutch to recycle: the bin is right in front of your door outside, you have fixed dates when the government picks it up…we have no excuse. But I know it remains difficult for some of us. Try to produce less litter, than there is less to throw away. See the BinBang, one of Pepijn’s smart contributions, by the way! Great initiative to stimulate people to recycle.
- Lastly one of the green aspects that amazes me is the “Brood Fonds”. Bread Fund in Dutch. Caring for each other in the event that you get sick and are self sustained. It can be just the perfect alternative to the complicated regular systems and expensive insurance. A cooperative fund for times of sickness. You save a fixed amount and benefit from it when times get tuff.
Got interested? Here are some last tips from Pepijn:
- Be practical and realistic. Do you get energy from doing it?
- Consume less. Ask yourself if you really need so much stuff. Borrow/Share as much as possible.
- Know where it comes from and where it goes to. What happens to your trash? Will it been given a new life? Think about that.
- Don’t try to convince anybody. Just respect their decisions and try to set the example. Remember, not everything that works for you, works for your neighbour.
I promised Pepijn I would try to ditch the bottled water (expect a post about the damages
of plastic). He challenged me: I would never distinguish tap water from bottled water. You’re right Pepijn. I could barely tell the difference. As of today, the Dopper is my best friend! I’m motivated to start adopting some good practices and treating the earth in a respectful way. How about you?
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