Week 43 – Balans

October 30, 2017

“I cannot say what the best, biggest or most important innovation is. Until a few weeks ago I would have completely gone along with these kinds of statements, but after a hurricane like Irma on our island, all these kind of questions sound ridiculous. When you see how much damage one storm can cause, I am not only talking about the material damage, but also the psychological side issue. I really want to know how it is possible to talk about economic development, innovation, health care, sustainable living and all those terms, but we go straight to turning our heads, when there are really big disasters. We live in a large, self-created illusion. Mother Nature occasionally shows us who really is boss if we do not take good care of her. ”

This was the opening statement of one participant at my recent attended WHO conference about innovation in healthcare in Barbados. He was right. I could see all the other people present looking down with their heads bowed. His reaction prompted us all to think.

That night we all spoke in a group about the words that hit us so hard that morning. The ignorance in things we all know but are seemingly too difficult to face, or maybe we don’t see the economic gain. What roles do the government, the business community, knowledge centers and also we as individuals have in this? We all talk as a group to let them know what initiatives the islands are all working on, how it goes, where the challenges lie and especially where the win-win opportunities are. The 17 SDGs (sustainable development goals) of the United Nations have been placed very nicely as a good start.

This was two weeks ago. Last week the Aruban kick-off took place of the research ‘De Zaak is Rond’. I told you about it in a previous column. Research into a company with circular business cases in both the Netherlands and Aruba focused on the consequences for the entrepreneurial spirit, circular and sustainable business operations. Companies open to abandoning linear ideas and thinking about things circularly. Companies willing to invest, take risks to better our planet. Companies we all should learn to embrace and learn from.

The kick-off of the research on Aruba was good and hopeful. Almost all stakeholders within their ecosystem of the circular economy were constructively concerned about their own business operations. As it is often said: change starts with you and the right mindset, from there on everything is possible. The recognition that we really do not have all the knowledge to address these kinds of big issues just like that, is a big start for further collaborations.

Antilla Energy and Ecotech have dared to let them learn and do what they want in a circular way.

I write this column while the dushi Aruba is being blessed with heavy rainfall. Rain our nature is so terribly hungry for. You see the plants becoming greener with the hour. Next to me I hear people complain, they have not come to Aruba to have this terrible weather. I cannot suppress a smile and wonder when we will really live in balance with each other and nature.