It’s Sustainable Tuesday
This Sustainable Tuesday, let’s share the inspiring story of the most sustainable Dutch man, Co-founder of WakaWaka, Maurits Groen.
In 2016 we shared the happy news that our very own Co-Founder, Maurits Groen was named #1 most sustainable person in the Netherlands by the Dutch newspaper Trouw. And today happens to be Sustainable Tuesday! A day where every inhabitant of The Netherlands can hand over their sustainable idea to the government. This Sustainable Tuesday, let’s share the inspiring story of the most sustainable Dutch man!
1. We are humbled by the fact that you are the green heart of WakaWaka. Tell us, when your first green seeds were planted?
It started already when I was much younger when I became interested in the process of recycling. As soon as I knew that materials could be used for recycling, I collected newspapers in my local neighborhood. I was so impressed by the fact that one could make these printed letters disappear to use the paper once again.
Later on, during my study political sciences, I became interested in the protection of the environment. I got involved with the organization ‘Milieudefensie’ and have been active on environmental issues ever since.
2. What does sustainability mean for you?
I don’t particularly like the word sustainability. Because it suggests that there is also the option of not being sustainable.
It is ridiculous that people or businesses would not be sustainable. Sustainability should be the default behavior of everyone and every company.
3. How did you become the Co-founder of WakaWaka?
I was involved in a project with the aim to make the 2010 World Cup in South Africa ‘climate neutral’. Camille van Gestel, Co-founder of WakaWaka was part of this project. We made sure that traditional lights bulbs were replaced by LED lighting. However, these LED lights were only used in offices and hotels. In order to truly make a change, we wanted to do something for the slums in South Africa as well. We wondered how we could introduce light, in a sustainable way, to the millions of people that do not have access to electricity. The solution turned out to be WakaWaka.
4. Do you think the concept of Sustainable Tuesday should be adopted worldwide?
Yes, absolutely. During Sustainable Tuesday small scale or large scale initiatives get the opportunity to present their sustainable solutions to a larger public. More importantly; to delegates of the government.
In the Netherlands we are organizing the 18th edition already, trying to connect government, citizens, and companies. The sustainability debate is still very much polarized, and Sustainable Tuesday is one of the initiatives to stimulate the debate and bring parties together.
5. In your opinion, how can we, as an individual, be more sustainable?
Everyone makes little decisions, every single day. Decisions as to whether you will take public transport to work, what you do with your rubbish, how long you shower in the morning or whether you install solar panels on your roof. If we would add up all those decisions of individuals, the sum of decisions can actually constitute a much bigger effect.
To be more sustainable we should start doing things differently. As an individual, you can start changing small things. If you consistently choose differently, we will end up changing things and behaving in a more sustainable way.
6. Besides to WakaWaka, you have your own publication agency MGMC that publishes books about environmental challenges and solutions. Tomorrow happens to be ‘Buy a Book Day’! Do you have any good book suggestions for us?
I recommend Jeremy Leggett’s book: The Winning of The Carbon War. MGMC introduced this book in the Netherlands under the title ‘de Overwinning; het einde van het fossiele tijdperk’. Leggett’s book comes ten years after Al Gore presented his ‘Inconvenient Truth’ and presents an overview of how the world is changing from fossil-based energy sources to increasing uses of renewable energy sources. The story is well written. In his books, Leggett explores how this transformation is taking place and the events taking place leading to the Paris Climate Change Conference. I would say it is a ‘Climate Page Turner’, a thrilling story about the contemporary developments in the business world and government policy concerning climate matters.
Did you know that if you purchase a book via the company Youbedo, you support the WakaWaka Foundation? That’s what we call a win-win situation.
Maurits is not the only sustainable fan in our WakaWaka team. We asked some of our colleagues what sustainability means for them.
Brian Campos - Marketing and communications intern
“To me, sustainability means using world’s resources in a way that ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy the same resources.”
Fleur van Monsjou - Impact Manager
“Sustainability to me starts with being aware of the influence I have on my environment in the general sense of the word. Partly on the environment but also relationships and everything starts with knowledge. This is visible in my actions meaning me making decisions based on knowledge and trying to improve myself every day.”
Amber van Leeuwen - Social Media Strategist
“To me, the word ‘sustainability’ means taking responsibility for your actions in a way that you will make your future self proud!”
Emma Olde Bijvank - Strategic Partnerships
“To me, sustainability is about time and space. It is about the consequences of the decisions we make today. Ignorance and/or a lack of information about potential negative consequences can lead to postponement of negative impact on the future or elsewhere around the world.”
“For me, sustainability stands for smart, conscious decision making and implementation where the future is equally as important as the present.”