Week 24 // Sustainable Development

July 14, 2017

It’s Sunday morning 7 o’clock. The sun peeps through the curtains and illuminates the bedroom. Just like every morning, my heart makes a little jump. A new day full of possibilities has arrived. I decide to get out of bed and open my laptop at the beach to write my column there.

The subject of my column is undecided, once at the beach I am sure it will come to me. However, the opposite is true. I cannot make a decision; there are too many things I want to write about last week. To name but a few: Green’S’Cool’s reusable and biodegradable bags have arrived and will be printed with the winners of the Aruba 2046 competition this coming week. The competition in which we asked everyone on the island to think about how they wanted to see Aruba in 2046. Bags are available soon at various places on the island; Unique bags with our people’s prints how to visualize Aruba’s future. The revenue from the bags of the bags is used to the full 100% for new Green’S’Cool projects. I keep finding this great project. It is a perfect example of how to get something fully sustainable and involve as many people as possible.

Another theme of last week was ‘Smart City’. Smart Cities are cities that, through combinations of new technology – such as open data, ICT and social innovation are transitioning to a “smart city”. Themes such as healthcare, housing, education, the environment, mobility and security are tackled by technology through new connections between citizens, companies, knowledge centers and government from sustainable development and inclusion. With various partners, we are looking at how to do this further. Important for Aruba, is to approach this from a strategic perspective and build a platform so that we can make the best use of this in various sectors.

The third theme that came up this week very clearly through various expressions is social innovation: the potential and willingness of man to be able to and wish to change from sustainable development. Take an example of the last Thursday evening’s debate of the Chamber of Commerce, showing the different parties from what basic principle they want further development of our island. Another example is the reference to Aruba from Sir Richard Branson during an interview for American television. He praises Aruba in this interview for everything we are doing in the area of ​​sustainable development. If you missed it, the link: goo.gl/iJ2ElL. From 2 minutes 30 he talks about Aruba. Sir Richard Branson, one of the world’s largest innovators who gave Aruba a huge shout out!

At first glance, two totally different subjects within social innovation, but the essences remain the same: How willing are you to change in a sustainable way? Are you chopping in the sand, do you react from fear and negativism, or do you have the potential, strength and willingness to look over here and contribute positively to the future? Would you like to share this and discuss it constructively?

From the Innovation Office we are of course at any time busy with innovation and therefore changing. Social innovation gets a lot of attention and is often mentioned in conversations explicitly. However, more of that would be much better for me. How often have you been in this type of conversation with your colleagues, club mates, friends or family?

During an interview last week with 18 students from University College Utrecht, I received the question: What is the main obstacle in the development towards a sustainable society? The answer will not surprise you: the human brain.

It’s been a few hours since I arrived at the beach. The sun is now high in the sky, the coffee is done, a lizard has curiously clung to the book I have next to me about developments towards the future, the tourists are enjoying the beach or their snorkel tour and I look forward to yet another week!