Young people demand greener cities, more trains and livestock reduction
In 2040 the Netherlands must generate its own energy completely without emitting greenhouse gases, travel throughout Europe must be handled by train, and Dutch consumers will mainly eat plant-based products grown locally, argued the Jonge Klimaatbeweging, or Young Climate Movement, in its new agenda. The group drew up many points about its vision for the future in conjunction with 70 other youth organizations.
"If we want to have another chance at a cleaner, healthier and more beautiful living environment, we must take action now," said Jonge Klimaatbeweging chair Aniek Moonen when she summarized the young people’s message. They called for the Netherlands to be radically redeveloped within 18 years, the country has been radically redeveloped.
They envision the future of the Netherlands as a sustainable country, where citizens and policymakers take the environment into account "in every choice they make." They believe that this must start with a reduction in energy consumption. Furthermore, energy must mainly come from solar and wind, but nuclear energy and "sustainable biomass" can also play a limited role as far as the young people involved are concerned.
The authors also state that society should quite literally become greener. "Everyone can be in a park, forest, neighborhood garden or nature reserve within a maximum of 10 minutes," they proposed as their dream scenario. "We will create more space for nature, restore original landscapes and provide connections between natural areas."
As far as the organizations are concerned, consumers need to eat less animal-based protein and make more use of products made from vegetables, legumes, algae, nuts and seaweed. After all, they say, meat production causes more carbon dioxide emissions and more raw materials and water are needed to support the industry than for the cultivation of plants. In line with this, livestock limitations should also be enforced, although the authors of the vision for the future did not dare to give a concrete figure.
The group’s latest version of their climate agenda was presented to Climate and Energy Minister Rob Jetten on Thursday evening at the Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam. Among those scheduled to attend were Diederik Samsom, the former MP and Labour leader who now works with European Commissioner Frans Timmermans, and Marjan Minnesma, the director of sustainability organization Urgenda.
In total, the groups which participated in crafting the agenda represent one million young people, according to Jonge Klimaatbeweging. Among the organizations involved in the climate agenda are the youth wings of several political parties, Jong Milieudefensie, Jong Rabo, the National Youth Council, and ISO, an organization promoting connection between students present in different cities.
Reporting by ANP