Interviews week 2.1 - Texel as Sustainable Island


Each week, a group is tasked with doing two interviews related to the topic of that week's meeting.


Our two interviews are related to the  topic "Texel as sustainable island". When searching for suitable interviewees we came upon innovation manager Joris Voeten and TU Delft graduate Pedro Calle.



Interview Joris Voeten – Innovation manager SHFT

Joris studies Tropical Forestry at the Wageningen University. He used to work as Tree technology Consultant and monitored the department of Tree technological Consultants at the Tree department. Since 2006 he is a European Tree Technician who focuses maximizing green structures efficiently to improve human well-being.


  • What values do you relate to life quality?

For myself I think health is the most important value. When you become ill or a friend or family member becomes ill, the only thing you went is to get better. Other basic needs, like food and shelter, are ofcourse logical. There are several factor going on nowadays which are detrimental to health. We are experiencing a lot of stress, we do not move enough, we eat unhealthy and we spend a low amount of time outside. Unconsciously, this has detrimental effects on your life quality. And last but not least, a value spending time with my family.

As for the Texelaars, I cannot give you the answer. But there are several questions you should ask:

  1. Are the people on Texel healthy?
  2. Is the air quality on Texel much better than in the rest of the country?
  3. Do people get older on Texel? What is the life expectancy?
  4. What is the unemployment rate?
  5. Do people stay on Texel? Is de exodus much higher on Texel than on other agricultural parts of the Netherlands? What is the difference in winter and summer?
  6. What are the possibilities for entertainment?
  7. How many grean areas does Texel have? Probably the whole island is green.
  8. Where do they get their energy from?


  • How are they influenced by the environment?

I can explain this all to you but there has been a lot of research done on this subject already. The following website might be useful to you: (Green Cities: Good Health)


  • How can we shape the environment to have a positive influence on life quality?

The smallest things can make the biggest changes. For example, if people look out of their window onto a green roof their stress level will be diminished substantially. Of course for Texel this would be less applicable because they hardly have high apartment buildings. But I think it is a shame that roof are still being built without an extra function. It is this surface that goes to waste, do something with it! If it is not a green roof, collect rainwater or use it for solar panels etc.

Studies have also shown that when a cycling lane is surrounded by green areas, 40% more people will choose travel by bike rather than by car.


  • In the case of an island, what would be relevant to consider?

Pride is also a large part of happiness. Seasonal food has a link to health. But you should take into account tasty food can often be unhealthy. And a question you could ask is: if you really make people happier by if you let them cultivate their own vegetables. The key is to support the peoples own idea with knowledge and funds. Projects often succeed because they are small and because they are their own initiative.

The most important questions for your project are:

  1. Do they lack health in Texel?
  2. Do they lack happiness in Texel?
  3. Would they become happier if Texel would be more sustainable?

How do they already deal with recycling and such?


  • How can we translate the Happy Planet Index into a Happy Texel Index? What environmental aspects should we take into account for this?

There is a difference of happiness factor for old and young people. You should measure the difference in health. But also ask them: Are you unhappy with the awareness of living an unsustainable life? Do you feel guilty that you do not separate your waste? Touch upon their guilt.



To conclude, a foundation is the key. If there is no support from the people of Texel you will not be able to make changes. People who want to achieve something themselves are very valuable. Make sure, when you are designing your subsystem and your design for the platform, to include specialist to share knowledge.



More information can be found on the Green Cities: Good Health website found on:




Interview Pedro Calle – Building Technology Graduate student at Delft University of Technology


Pedro Calle graduated from the Sustainability Studio, part of the Building Technology department, of Delft University of Technology in June 2014 . His graduation work focuses on making Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos, a sustainable island.


  • Why did you chose this specific topic for your graduation?

The main reason is that the Galapagos archipelago is the most preserved archipelago in the world. I have been there and I have not only seen how beautiful the Galapagos are, but also how rapidly it is changing and deteriorating due to human occupation. I wanted to see if it was possible to achieve a sustainable and stable system in which human could still enjoy the archipelago without destroying it.

The Galapagos archipelago ecosystem is in danger and its conservation is essential for the sustenance of local communities. Their growing economy, overall life and nature depend on a sustainable way of development.


  • How would you describe your experience working with the combination of sustainability and islands? Was it as you expected?

Well, I believe islands represent a contained habitat in which we can experiment and see if it’s possible to achieve sustainability in the world. If we cannot achieve it in an island we are not going to achieve it anywhere else. As expected, it is very difficult to reach a point where you can say it is sustainable that humans exist.


  • What were the main challenges working on sustainability on an island?

The main challenge is the limitation in resources with which I wanted to reach a scenario in which the island would become sustainable. At the same time, this limitation helps to focus on these few resources and prevent you from getting lost in too many possibilities. Another great challenge was to convert the main transportation source from fossil fuels to renewables. This is nearly impossible in water at the moment.


  • How did you overcome these challenges?

The Galapagos offer a very unique and stable climate when compared to other islands which are subject to different 4 seasons. Due to this it was easier to reach low levels of energy consumption, but in the end, because of maritime transportation, that represents more than 70% of what we consume. It is impossible to supply this in a green way at the moment, so what I did it’s to consider new technologies and hope that in a few years they can be used for these purposes.


  • Can you provide some information regarding key success factors for sustainable developments on islands?

The key success is to consider water and waste cycles. This means that you have to consider waste and water as energy. This not only provides an extra input to the energy production but also stops waste from polluting and contaminating. This is actually very similar to nature.



To conclude, when looking at an island it is very important to consider closed cycles for water and waste cycles. Islands can be considered an isolated or contained habitat in which we can experiment and to see if it's possible to achieve sustainability in the world. The isolated or contained habitat creates limitations but also focus.



More information can be found in Pedro Calle's graduation report, accessible on the TU Delft repository. His posters, final report, presentation and reflection are all accessible through the following link:

Tiwanee van der Horst , Pieter van Hall , María José Galeano Galván

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