Posted by: masaranghk | October 4, 2013


A couple of months ago an environmental entrepreneur named Vincent van Brekelen took me to meet a multilingual leader of an environmental think tank, Wouter van Dieren.

That led to me presenting the closing keynote at (the Springtij festival) that Wouter organizes every year at the beautiful Dutch island of Terschelling.

(Pict: Presenting the Springtij closing keynote at sunset in the dunes of Terschelling)

It was great to meet old friends like Willem Ferweda and make new friends like Ashok Kosla. It was also great to see so many young capable people trying so hard to contribute to avoiding the impending crisis and going over the tipping points that were the main theme of this year’s Springtij festival. Still I felt that despite the good will there was still a lot of frustration at the slow progress made despite the long series of events for which so many people fly to so many international meetings. Therefore it was very good that the festival itself was done in such a simple way, close to nature, lots of volunteers, local food, bicycles and a few electric cars, and other little touches that show that we can make a change right now.

During the event I realized that the ebullient mood about biofuels had now completely changed towards the opposite, bad biomass! And I realized how much people just follow trends without looking at the basics… Very little was known how biomass from the tropics, where sunlight and rainfall are so abundant, can provide energy from forests to the temperate zones even while improving soils and productivity in those tropics. So I have a lot more to do in terms of publicity, which is not my favorite activity. Hopefully my talk in the open, cold and windy but sunny evening air of the dunes, without the PowerPoint I had prepared, did get some influential people thinking.

Wubbo Okkels receiving the Springtij award after which he gave the best and most heartfelt speech of the whole conference.

Overall a good meeting, wonderful hospitality and some very good new contacts to cooperate with.

Willie Smits
29-9-2013 on the boat from Terschelling to Harlingen

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