What was your a-ha moment that made you become engaged in sustainability?
I remember I came across an article in the Guardian about climate change. I was eighteen and lived alone in The Netherlands. I realized I knew very little about the climate and environmental problems. I had a lot of spare time, so I started gathering all the available information on these issues, not knowing that it would occupy me for months, I remember I got angry and worried when I understood the depth and complexity of these problems. And like Greta Thunberg, I wondered. How can nobody be speaking about this? From then I have engaged my self in different sustainability projects and used my voice to get these problems on the agenda.
What is your single best tip for someone who wants to do more for the environment on a personal level?
If you are over 18 years old. Use your vote! And inspire others to use theirs. If you are under 18 years old. Convince your parents to use their vote!
What do you think will be the legacy of your generation?
That to solve the climate and environmental issues, we have to come together as a global community. We have been given some planetary boundaries that we can’t change. If we wish to survive with 10 billion people on this planet, we have to organize much better then we do now. There is a growing understanding of the younger generation that without a living planet, economic profit is of no value.
What is the most critical technological breakthrough that needs to happen for the world to reach the 1,5 degree goal?
We need technological innovation in every part of our society. But if we are going to reach the 1,5 goal, we have to stop burning fossil fuels. If we are going to depend on renewables, we need technological improvement in energy storage, because we need to be able to deliver energy even dough the wind is not blowing or the sun is shining. But again, there is no single technology that will solve our problems, our whole society is built on fossil fuels, and in modern life we leave a carbon footprint from whatever we do.
What will this breakthrough demand from us as a society?
First of all, it demands political will, and global cooperation to solve these problems. We need to get to the table where the decisions are made. To achieve this, we need more people to vote for the politicians that take these issues seriously. The politicians reflect us as a society. They change when many enough demand it.
In your industry, what do you think will be the most groundbreaking change over the next 10 years?
The sports industry has a lot of work to do when it comes to sustainability. Every industry has to adapt and change to become more sustainable and the sports industry is no different. UN has made a “sports for climate action” framework, which is intended to help all participants in the sports industry to become more sustainable. One of the key focus areas is education, because again, you need more people to understand the consequences of business as usual. Sports also have the ability to encourage and motivate people. To get sports to take a leading role in sustainability would have a huge impact far beyond the industry itself.
Which brand (in general) do you think is at the forefront when it comes to sustainability?
Adidas is starting to take these issues very seriously, by 2024, it's committed to using only recycled polyester in its products.
What makes you climate positive about the future?
Seeing so many engaged young people.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Parley for the ocean has a slogan I like a lot, which I think describes a new healthy mindset. ‘Purpose is the new luxury’
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