It is the next generation. Transform post #6

My dad made a movie clip of me, as a five year old boy, playing in our street. It is in the middle of the 60’s and the street is surprisingly empty. One car only, owned by our neighbor, is parked in the street. Others simply went by bike, I suppose.

Wind MillDuring my life, the image of the street totally changed. The city nowadays is fully packed with cars and the countryside is filled with asphalt. I grew up in a world that became accustomed to broad highways, big power plants and high chimneys with big plumes. Even though we have partly cleaned the smoke fumes with complicated techniques, it is still a system that is harmful. But I grew up with it and the appearance has become familiar. And although I believe in public transport and bicycles, at the same time my image of transportation is highways and plenty of cars in the street. My image of energy is large scale power stations.

Some weeks ago I attended the “E- Harbours” congress in Zaandam the Netherlands. It was striking how many people of my generation were attending the meeting. The discussion was about transition, change and leadership. But when the discussion came to windmills and wind energy it struck me that a lot of people are still against it, whether it is along the highway or in the city. On the one hand my generation is talking about change and leadership and on the other, working against it by banning windmills from the environment.

This is my generation!

I realize this is about reference. And the question is, whether my generation can change their perception of the environment and the elements in it. On the other way: my perception of the environment allows highways of asphalt, but has difficulty with hundreds of windmills next to it.

Is it up to the next generation to solve this problem of perception?

My kids, just graduated, are raised up in a world with internet, small scale infrastructures, ICT and sustainable solutions. They accept sustainable solutions, public transport, bicycles with ease because they grew up with it. And they know smoking chimneys are harmful and burning carbon is changing climates.

The next generation, my kids, were taught that the system my generation built up, is ending, unsustainable and that, with the help of the crisis, everlasting growth is a fairy-tale.

My kids have a different image about the landscape. They have no problem with windmills in the environment, making clean energy. Or roofs full of solar panels. And it is logical, their reference is different.

Sustainability and transition appear to be almost a generation problem. And that gives me a lot of hope for the future. It is  the next generation!

Ronald van WarmerdamRonald van Warmerdam
Sr project manager Projectmanagement Bureau, city of Amsterdam / lecturer TuDelft / Coordinator TRANSFORM

https://twitter.com/rvwarmerdam

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