At the time of writing it has been exactly 6 months since universities in the Netherlands ceased physical teaching activities and large parts of the world entered lockdown. The initial response to the corona crisis was aimed at containing the virus and saving as many lives as possible. Over the last months, in addition, saving the economy came more and more into the focus. On European level the European Union agreed on a €750 billion recovery package, while in the Netherlands KLM was saved by the Dutch Government.
In both cases the chance to also use these rescue packages to make positive change was recognised as both measures were (partly) linked to ‘green’ goals. However, this should not be only a top-down process that happens at the highest level, as this is not sufficient. To use this momentum of change, it must become a movement within the region of Fryslân to reassess those parts of our society that have come under significant pressure due to the crisis we all face today, to re-evaluate lines of production and make them more green and more fair. Because this is the way to make them more resilient to future crises similar to the one we face today.
Therefore, I urge policy makers and businesses: make use of the knowledge that is present in our Education for Sustainable Development-institutions in the region. Such as our own Campus, Circulair Friesland or the to be established Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development Fryslân (RCE ESD Fryslân). Therefore: work together with students of the BSc Global Responsibility & Leadership in their living labs, cooperate with master students from the Sustainable Entrepreneurship programme and (PhD) researchers to gain a more diverse insight into solution approaches, implement more sustainable business processes or make your organisation more green and fair.
So please, do not rebuild the economy to the way it was, but together rebuild a better future.
This article originally appeared in Connect winter 2020.
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