What is sustainability for you? #1: Males
March 10, 2014
'For a designer of the living environment, the people using that space should be central, rather than the designer's own ego', Bart Willems, architect.
I have written here quite a number of times what in my opinion sustainability entails, but I was curious about what others thought it is. Others which are not normally busy with saving planet earth. So I asked three persons, this time all male, what they think sustainability is. All male joined the Huski ski training weekend in Austria in January 2014. Next time I'll ask three females to reflect on the same topic. But in the end, I'm also curious about what you think about this, so do not hesitate to comment and give your opinion.
Kees van Manen – working at Tetrapak (packeging company for food products)
Kees has not much to do with sustainability, but he thinks the first and foremost important thing to do is to recycle. Saving energy from households has not such a big impact as recycling, according to Kees. However, the consumption society pushes companies to go for greenwashing (making yourself seem better than in reality in terms of green issues). In addition, the car industry can do much more than using electric cars since those may even be harmful to the planet rather than saving it due to their batteries. Furthermore, Kees mentioned the problem of urbanization and the increasing pressure on it due to global population growth.
Jeroen Kassing: boss of Huski and Kassing Tours
Huski is an outdoor, sailing and winter sport travel agency for youth (12 – 18 years) and Kassing Tours is a touring bus company. Jeroen is the boss of both companies and has shared with me some insights regarding the tourist industry and sustainability. For Huski, there are hardly any regulations which need to be met with regards to sustainability.
Jeroen argues that first, we need to reduce our products, energy and services before starting with recycling. At home, Jeroen is always aware of the energy he uses and he is planning on buying solar panels for the roof. In addition, when looking at Huski, one could scan the fuel use of the buses. Furthermore, Huski has taken part in the 'Respect the Mountains' campaign and cleaning up days. There is however much more to gain in the tourist industry with regards to sustainability, so this could be an interesting topic for LES to explore.
Bart Willems: architect
Bart is of the opinion that there needs to be a clear distinction between material and social sustainability. For Bart, social sustainability is more important and refers to the creation of the optimal livelihood for a person. On a bigger scale, it means that the community is stimulated and meetings between people and the social community are created. The social meeting places is the heart of a community which fills the gaps churches and such social meeting places have left behind.
On the level of housing and living, sustainability means for Bart a place where people like to live. Increasing the livability and the enjoyment of living in a place is most important to keep the livelihood of the environment. This creation of a good house and livelihood is for Bart a form of sustainability: a place where people are central and where a healthy living environment is created and stimulated. For instance, insulating your home is good, as long as it does not decrease the social sustainability of a building. The possibility of opining your window should be a choice left to the consumer and not be made impossible due to insulation techniques and adjustments by the designer. In addition, for Bart, the design of a building is less important than the quality of life and the possibility to decrease your energy consumption. 'Design is however a powerful tool to increase the livelihood and enjoyment of a place. A good building always has its own beauty', so says Bart.