Student - July 31, 2019

Intrigued by the religion of sustainability

Geert van Zandbrink

The summertime is an ideal moment to reflect and observe. Blogger Geert van Zandbrink shares his experience with the “sustainable idea”, which is showing increasing signs of life, even at campsites and festivals. But less so at the local supermarket in his hometown...

© Sven Menschel

It is a hot summer, very hot even. You could hear people mention “well, that’s climate change” several times a day in conversations about the heat in the days the Netherlands was plagued by temperatures of forty degrees. It went as far as that we could officially say that it has never been so hot in the Netherlands. But the high temperatures cannot be attributed to human actions directly, of course. The mercury could also rise to such heights a century ago, but the chances are simply much higher nowadays.

With the symptoms of climate change slowly but surely becoming more prominent, the sustainable idea also pops up more often and in numerous locations. I am intrigued by this sustainable idea, this religion of sustainability, for which Wageningen is a place of pilgrimage and to which increasing numbers of people seem to convert. Once you keep an eye out for it, you will see how it continues to spread.

Campsites are taking steps towards limiting water use and encouraging waste sorting

It makes me happy to see the symptoms of this spread during the course of the current summer, outside of Wageningen as well. At the campsite in France, where information is displayed at the sanitary facilities regarding the changes that have been made with a view to sustainability. Besides being a welcome pastime during sanitary visits and a challenge for my holiday-level French, these posters are also interesting from a substantive point of view: campsites are taking steps towards limiting water use and encouraging waste sorting, for example.

Festivals also try to contribute in their own way. Events increasingly often use a cup concept with a deposit on the cups, thus avoiding single use. This saves a lot of plastic waste, and the festivalgoers return home to their student houses with great cups from their favourite festivals.

The summer holiday also takes me back to the village in Brabant where I grew up. After the positive experiences in France and at the Sziget Festival in Hungary, things turned out rather disappointing there. In the local supermarket, the meat section is filled with discounted packs and mega deals, but there are no meat substitutes to be found. The sustainable idea is slowly spreading, but there are still huge steps to be taken.