“Never walk with empty hands!” This is what we all probably heard during our childhood when helping our parents with the household. It is a general principle to prevent wasting energy and effort, but often neglected in the ‘real’ world. It may happen that transport vehicles travel large distances without being fully loaded and thus consuming energy for solely the transportation of the vehicle itself. This is a result of supply chains that are not entirely closed.
The people of Texel are facing a huge challenge in making the entire island more sustainable. This can be done with new sustainable technologies, but, as stated in the article of Mulder, these are not per se the best solution. People may react unpredictably to a new innovation, which could result in a counter effective outcome.
Technology is a product of human society and therefore social developments and technical innovation are intertwined. This perspective is useful for developing strategies for the sustainable transition of Texel.
It depends on where one wants to start the transition. A new technology could be implemented and let time tell how people react on it. It is also possible to work a lot more on the societal part of the socio-technological system. With this approach, change is much more focused on people and they will decide by themselves what new technologies they will use. The outcome is rather unpredictable as well, but with this approach it can be prevented that a lot of money is spent on technologies that are used in the wrong way.
A closed community such as the one on Texel, could be both an advantage and disadvantage. It is disadvantageous, because the community could be a bit rigid and stubborn due to the strong coherence and social control. They could have a strong We-They feeling. On the contrary, a small and coherent group can also transform quite quickly when addressing the right people. The change of an individual is more clearly visible in a small group. Social transitions on Texel may thus be difficult in the beginning, but may go very rapidly in the end.
One could see social transitions in the form of habits. What products do you use? How do you move around on the island? How does the island get its supplies? For the theme of Food & More we look at ways of production, marketing and transportation. The entrepreneurs in the food sector on Texel are already focusing on organic production and marketing locality. Transportation of food, however, is not a very much-addressed topic.
Therefore it might be needed to think about solutions to make the food supply more sustainable. And why not in the first place by starting to never walk with empty hands? One could think of a large-scale food swap consisting of two supermarkets of which one is on the island and one on the mainland. A shuttle lorry provides the supermarket in e.g. Amsterdam with the local delicacies of Texel and takes products back from the mainland to the supermarket on the island. Both places benefit from each other in this way with a more energy efficient transport system as a result.
I think it is necessary to provide the people of Texel with new frameworks and habits that encourage a more sustainable lifestyle. This may help to achieve more improvement with less effort for a greener Texel!