How to make a Sustainability Conference Sustainable?
At EURENSSA 2017, we do not only want to talk about sustainability, we want to live it. That's why we are camping, the meals are vegan, there are solar heated showers, compost toilets, and we are moving around Amsterdam on bicycles.
But already in the preparation, we try to keep our eyes open for opportunities to reuse and recycle material rather than buyings things newly. One area where this is especially fruitful is food. At the moment, many students are moving out of the dormatory, leaving stuff from furniture to food in the hallway for others to pick up. However, a lot of it ends up in the containers because the housing company considers anything in the hallways as trash. So we walked around and saved a lot of food from being thrown away. Now, we won't have to buy spices, herbs, tee, oil, and vinegar anymore. We also started to collect staple food like rice and lentils and are curious how much we can still save.
During EURENSSA we will step up our food save game even more by collecting vegetables and bread that shops are throughing away at the end of the day. A lot of this food is still eatible, but can't be sold anymore as it is aesthetically not up to the standards that people have become used to. In Amsterdam, there are many organizations that pick up these unwanted vegetables, fruit, and bread loafs and give them a second chance of being eaten. One of them, Taste Before You Waste, is greatly supporting us by letting us pick up food along their usual route, while they are having a summer break. They also lend us their carrier bike for the whole week; we think that's fantastic! Likewise, many of the bicycles that we are using to move our participants around belong to students that are on holiday during the summer.
So if there is something I learned while organizing EURENSSA, It's seeing these little opportunities where people or organizations are not using something they own. it doesn't cost anything to ask them to lend their things, and it can potentially reduce the amount of things that need to be bought newly. Better for the environment, better for the wallet, and more fun 😉