A sustainable culture
As my previous column post implies, technological development can lead to a more sustainable way of living. Sustainability can imply, being self-sufficient. And being self-sufficient can lead to equal distribution of energy, food and money. The island of Texel has set a goal to be self-sufficient by 2020. We, 25 TU Delft students, where asked to set up a plan for Texel to help them reach this goal. Before coming to Texel our plans where primarily focused on these technological developments and how to incorporate them into the daily lives of the Texeler. We knew that for the Texeler to actually become self-sufficient a lot needs to change. Not only on a technological level, but also on a social level. It requires a change in mindset. A transformation of a deeply rooted culture. A culture of consumerism and abundance. In order to know what to change we needed to go to the root of this culture. Research on the culture of Texel provided us with some ideas of how to address this.
When we arrived in Texel we set ourselves the task to interview the locals, to test whether our findings were true. We were surprised by the willingness of the locals to take the time to answer our questions. This really helped us to do profound research in a short period.
Our first question was, how happy are you currently with your life, on a scale of 1 to 10? An astonishing average rate of 8,4 was the result of this question. This rate seemed to be strongly linked with the social cohesion and the amount of nature on the island. Both things which are relatively low in our larger cities i.e. Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Texel wants to be an example to other countries as a sustainable island by 2020. But, to me Texel is already an example. After having seen and experienced the way the Texelers live together I think the “mainlanders” can really learn from them on a social level. Now, we have shared our technical knowledge with the Texeler in order to help them become more sustainable. But maybe we as “mainlanders” are more in need of their social knowledge to become a culture in which sustainability lies at the core of our social behavior.