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Students Industrial Ecology Kim, Roos, Hanne, Bart and Julia are going to experience more sustainable living for the next five weeks. Their food, hygiene, clothing, packaging and data, they will subject all of these to a critical eye and look for alternatives.
Since September, the students have been looking for ways to make their lives more sustainable. “The main question of our research is 'What do you run into as a Dutchman if you want to consume sustainably?’”, says Hanne. “In addition to an extensive literature review, we also talk to experts by experience.”
So now it’s time to drastically change their own lives, step by step. The students intend to pile up the chosen themes, so after the first week of eating sustainable food they will continue doing so until the end of the project. If there are two good alternatives for a product or habit, they choose the one with the least environmental impact. They won’t take animal or civic welfare into account. “That’s too complex and hard to measure properly.”
The client of the research is Urgenda
“By covering five topics, the research becomes very broad and we need to set strict boundaries for each theme,” says Bart. “Yet, we decided to make it this big because life itself consists of many factors. This way, we can show how hard it is to adopt a completely sustainable lifestyle.” For each topic, the students look into other details. For example, for the topic Data they will only look into energy, and not into water or land usage. But water and land usage are particularly relevant for Food. “Setting boundaries is very difficult,” says Hanne. “We have a lot of discussions about it.”
The client of the research is Urgenda. This enironmental organisation made a 50 point plan for the Government about what could be more sustainable. “Our research adds to that,” says Hanne. “What makes it easier to live more sustainably? Maybe more help from schools or businesses? Could regulations and laws work?”
This week, the students will start with the first theme: food. “I didn’t know that rice and pasta are way worse for the environment than potatoes,” says Hanne. “Pasta and rice are imported, potatoes are not.” “I’m already a vegetarian and I want to become vegan,” says Bart. “But if I want to eat together with my housemates, I need to convince them to join me …”
- Delta will visit the students every week to see how they are doing, so keep an eye on our website.
- Do you have tips or questions for Kim, Roos, Hanne, Bart and Julia? Mail Delta or leave a comment on social media! And watch our new episode next week.