Currently, the Duurzame Week (Sustainable Week) takes place in Utrecht and we had the opportunity to interview Clemens Streng, one of the 100 makers of the greenest week of the year.

Could you explain to us the concept of “Duurzame Week”?

Duurzame Week (Sustainable Week) is a foundation that believes that a yearly festival in Utrecht can contribute significantly to make the society sustainable. During the festival, a stage is offered to entrepreneurs and visitors of all kind, who together inspire and look for a sustainable future.

Duurzame Week particularly aims for ecological sustainability: efficient use of energy, raw materials and water; recycling; sustainable consumption, improving air quality, and expansion of green space.

The event uses several categories to help channel and stimulate awareness for sustainable behavior: work, home, food, stuff, and free time. Within these categories, Duurzame Week offers activities that help build a network of entrepreneurs and residents.

When does it take place?

It has already started! The Duurzame Week 2017 takes place between the 7th and 14th of October.

How can people participate?

You can participate simply by picking and attending the activities that suit you best, from pub quiz to workshop to lecture, and more. For some events, you have to buy a ticket for which you can use the website duurzameweek.nl/programma. Plenty events are free to attend! Furthermore, you can take the stage and show how you support sustainability by organizing an activity.

When did you start to organize the Duurzame Week?

The concept of Duurzame Week Utrecht was raised by Koen Kooper and Margit Végh in 2015 and lead to the first edition of the Duurzame Week in October 2016. This is the second consecutive year that Duurzame Week is organized.

Besides more than 100 people organizing and supporting Duurzame Week, there are a tremendous number of partnerships and initiatives around the city. With this, Duurzame Week has three times as much activities compared to last year’s edition. That is something we are very proud of! What’s new is our festival heart at the Dom square, where sustainability becomes tangible. You can come here for a Duurzame Week beer, an interesting lecture or for entertainment.

And where did the idea come from?

Duurzame Week Foundation is an initiative for inhabitants and entrepreneurs from Utrecht who want to live in a green and healthy city. Now and in the future. Utrecht is well on its way when it comes to green initiatives. That is what Duurzame Week aims for: we show what Utrecht has got! Together we give it our best to make Utrecht even more sustainable.

What is the impact of the Duurzame Week?

Duurzame Week makes sustainability visible, connects and inspires people, towards a more sustainable future. Through the many encounters participants of Duurzame Week, events learn how to impact with their everyday choices at work, at home…

What is your advice to people who want to live a ‘duurzame’ 365 days a year?

In order to live a sustainable life, Duurzame Week can advise thinking about how your choices in life impact your surroundings, the environment. The very important incremental step of comprehension – what does this mean in terms of sustainability –  can matter a great deal!

Jori Questions

Jori is a game tested in more than 700 people. It consists of profound and weird questions that have the power to really connect people and escape the old ‘what do you do?’ and ‘where are you from’ script.

Profound question

Who’s your idol? What are the things makes him/her/it your idol? Be specific.

Not sure if my idol represents Duurzame Week. Although, if Master of the Universe includes protecting the environment…

Jan Terlouw who is speaking during the festival is a very inspiring man. All that has brought him to who he is today: wise, interesting, charismatic, his storytelling captures everyone. He is a thought leader. He can definitely be our idol!

Weird question

If you could design a planet from scratch, what would it be like? Be really specific.

As in trees with endless apples? Cruelty-free meat? This question is aimed to look for the master problem instead of symptoms. As you would want to design a planet in such a way that the problems we refer to in our purpose don’t exist. We aim for a sustainable future because we consume our planet. The planet’s design is not the problem, per se. That is, if only we would live with the planet as part of the ecosystem. But we have created systems that stimulate people to desire money. We value money over natural resources and its sustainability.

Perhaps we can accept this as an assignment for the Duurzame Week. Let us discuss ideas on how we can redesign Earth so that it integrates sustainability during the Duurzame Week, for example at the Duurzame Utrecht Meetup.