What do you mean by obvious?!
Water runs from a tap, electricity comes out of a socket and food can be bought at the supermarket… This is what we are used to in our society, whether there is corona or not. It is less obvious that we continue hearing and reading about climate change and sea level rise. We are already experiencing the first consequences of this: warm summers, downpours like never before, drought over a longer period of time and our homes all have to be rid of gas. But the real threat still seems in the distant future. Yet, it is enormous in size; and precisely because it still seems far away and too big to comprehend, it turns out to be difficult to make a start with tackling it. But not in Zeeland...
Zeeland has chosen to naturally guarantee available energy, water and food from a new perspective, and with a new way of thinking and acting. The societal challenges surrounding climate change form the basis, with the combination of research, education and collaboration as the means. This socially innovative approach leads to new techniques, entrepreneurial opportunities, forms of cooperation and weighing up interests. Technically much is already possible, but will it be financially acceptable, socially acceptable, legally permitted, ecologically responsible and safe? Zeeland is actively tackling the transition. By focusing on three elements that naturally befit Zeeland - water, energy and food - and forging coalitions among all levels of knowledge and sectors, companies, governments, citizens, regions and countries. We are already working closely together with Flanders and in particular with the University of Ghent.
If there ever existed something like a ‘Zeeland disease’, it has now been overcome. Collaboration is the new normal, in addition to the availability of water, energy, food and ... good education.
Willem den Ouden is director of the Delta Platform