Green is cool with Green’S’Cool in Aruba, USA and Europe
Aruba, under the visionary leadership of its prime minister, Mike Eman, has set itself the ambitious goal of 100 percent fuel independence by 2020. To meet this goal, there are many aspects to tackle, and without acceptance, commitment and participation from Arubans, it will be hard to achieve.
In January 2013, the Bureau of Innovation, along with the first Dutch astronaut, Dr Wubbo Ockels and partners from the private sector, formed a public-private partnership to catalyse change and tackle Aruba’s future today. From this partnership, the Green’S’Cool programme was developed as a way to involve Aruba’s secondary school students in Aruba’s vision for 2020. Green’S’Cool’s fun, creative approach has led to astounding innovation among the students as they work to turn their schools green: at the programme’s grand finale in June 2013, one school even combined several of the programme’s topics to create a circular economy on its property.
Last year, at Green Aruba IV, Green’S’Cool launched its Growums pilot project in an elementary school. Together with the Excel Academy in Washington, the schools collaborated and learnt from each other about growing their own vegetables and herbs. The lesson here is that if children grow their own healthy food, they will eat their own healthy food. The first pizza cookout, using school-grown tomatoes and basil, was held in March 2014.
In April 2014, 2,700 students attended the Green Education Symposium (GES) III, hosted by the National Library of Aruba and co-facilitated by Bureau of Innovation. The theme was sustainable food supplies. With 99 percent of Aruba’s food being imported from overseas, it is vital to involve the country’s teens in the goal of reaching a 20 percent sustainable food supply, organically locally grown on Aruban soil.
Spreading the word
In another hands-on approach, the Green’S’Cool movement has appointed Aruba’s first Green’S’Cool Change Agent. At the GES III, star student Hanna Arends enthusiastically participated in the Green’S’Cool workshop and inspired attendees with ideas for greening their own neighbourhood. She was selected to go into neighbourhoods to approach and recruit more students and citizens, getting them involved in educating their own communities and start changing their surroundings.
Taking the message global
In the last few months, Green’S’Cool has grown and crossed borders to the United States and various countries within Europe as Green’S’Cool Friends. Its unique hands-on approach, its PPP structure and its key message is very exciting. For Aruba, there is no longer a question mark over the path to sustainability. Through Green’S’Cool, and its myriad other initiatives, the island has created a multi-faceted, hands-on approach involving the community, the private sector, non-governmental institutions and the government, all working together towards the common goal of sustainability by 2020.