News & Personal Impact | July 2022

Mainstream news in The Netherlands is depressing. It has to be shocking, sensational and topical. This way news gets negative and people feel like the world around them is changing for the worse. They lose trust and feel powerless. Yet, sciences proves it over and over again: the world is getting better every day for humans. And so, I share 7 news-article once a month in these posts. A mix of positive and bad news, but mostly positive, to make sure that positive news has the upper-hand. Along, I share a practical tip on what you can do to change that news. This could be a lifestyle change, a petition to sign or a campaign to support, anything. To make you feel in power, because we are! This way you’ll know about the positive news, how to keep it that way, the negative news and how to change that!

Renewable energy for electricity grows to 41% in the Netherlands | 5-7

When looking at all the energy that we need in the Netherlands, we can divide this into three categories. Warmth (55%), transport (25%) and electricity (20%). Within this last category, electricity, the share of renewable energy rose from 33% in the first quarter of 2021 to 41% in the first quarter of 2022. This is good news, because we need to move away from fossil fuels as fast as we can. This increase in renewable energy has saved one billion square meters of natural gas (which we’re buying from Russia, and therefore we’re supporting the war in Ukraine). So, this is good news. But I have to be critical. Biomass is also considered ‘renewable energy’ in this figure and biomass is not sustainable if you’d ask me. I’ll soon write a post about that.

Personal practical tip

We need the share of renewable energy to be 100% as soon as possible. So, if you have the resources, invest into that transition. Buy solar panels for on your roof, install a wind mill or install a geothermal source of energy. Switch from cooking on gas to electricity and install a 100% electrical heat pump. But before you do that, save energy. Just bike on a normal bike, instead of an electrical bike. Wear a sweater instead of turning on the heat, isolate your home and watch less tv. And something you can do today: switch to an energy provider which only offers renewable energy. And lastly, help people with less resources make this transition too. Invest into ZonnePanelenDelen for example, or LendAHand.

Dutch Governments sharpens Obliged Measures for Saving Energy | 5-7

In 2008 the Dutch government implemented a law that obliges Dutch companies which use more than 50.000 kWh or 25.000 m3 gas to take energy saving measures which have a payback time of 5 years or lower. That was a great step, but a lot of sectors and companies were excluded from the obligation. Today, the Dutch government has announced stricter rules, they will expand the list. A lot of big companies then have to comply as well. Also, the horticulture sector will probably be included too. It’s ridiculous that this is needed (since we should not make exceptions within legislation), but this is good news still. The list of the 19 sectors that are currently included can be found here.

Personal practical tip

Vote for parties which initiate and support legislation like this. We need parties in parliament which recognize the climate crisis as it is, a crisis. No excuses, the economy this and that, no. We need to do better, faster. With the next elections, check which party is best for sustainability.

Only 30 Mammals Still Allowed as Pets in The Netherlands | 6-7

In 1992 the Dutch government agreed that there should be an evidence-based list of mammals that are allowed to be kept as pets in the Netherlands. That’s because a lot of people hold exotic mammals as pets, which is both harmful for the animals and the people holding them. Examples are serval cats, chinchillas or hedgehogs. About 300 mammals are kept as pets in the Netherlands. Due to extensive lobbying it took ages for the list from the government to be announced. But today it finally happened! Only 30 mammals are still allowed to be kept as pets in the Netherlands. This is such an amazing step forwards. The list will be legally binding from January 2024. People who then already have these ‘illegal’ pets are allowed to keep them, but nobody can buy or adopt any new ones. I cannot tell you how happy I am with this news. The list is for mammals, but the government plans to also announce lists for reptiles, birds and other species groups. I am against buying pets, and soon I’ll write a post about that subject.

Personal practical tip

I would say: never buy an animal. There are so many animals who are already in need of a loving home, so if you really want to own a pet, adopt one. Another thing you can do is support organizations who rescue animals or lobby for legislation like the one I just described. Examples are stichting AAP or Animal Rights. You could also vote for a political party which fights for animal rights, like Party for the Animals.

Sims 4 Allows Players to Choose a Sexual Orientation of Choice | 16-7

A while ago, Sims 4 announced that people playing the game could choose a pronoun for their sims. But as if today, people can also select a sexual orientation when they’re creation a Sim. It’s another step into making the game more inclusive. People can only select whether the Sim is attracted to men or women, so it’s far from perfect still. Non-binary people are excluded, there’s no option to be pansexual, asexual, etc. The makers of the game say that’s due to technical difficulties. Still, this is at least a step forward.

Personal practical tip

I can recommend The Sims game to anyone. It’s non-violence, fun and increasingly inclusive.

New Electrical Car available Which Needs No Charging in Some Regions | 20-7

There’s new electrical car available, which needs no charging in some cases, the Aptera car. The amount of charging depends on how far you drive each day and where in the world you live. You can check out how often you need to charge the Aptera car here. It’s another great development, especially for people who live in regions with not so many places to charge their car. The price of the car depends on the range, it starts with 25.900 euros for 250 miles of range. This price is average for the car Dutch market.

Personal practical tip

Of course this is a great step forwards, we need electrical cars in the future. But right now, public transportation is most sustainable. If you can, use that. If you absolutely need a car, use an electrical car to share. Most cars aren’t used 95% of the time. Share a car with neighbours, or with anybody else, there are many companies where you can lend a car.

misogyny Apparent in Dutch Student Association ASC | 26-7

Footage of a dinner from a Dutch student association in Amsterdam were placed on the internet. It included speeches from main figures within the association. The country was shocked by the footage. I will not repeat anything that was said, as it is horrible. It made apparent how misogynous the association is. These people should be punished, and they might be since some of the things they said could be interpreted as a call for violence against women.

Personal practical tip

Misogyny and sexism do not appear overnight. They slowly grow. It starts with seemingly innocent incidents (which are extremely impactful and wrong already) like catcalling, locker-room banter and rape jokes. But this normalizes misogyny and this then grows to normalize stealthing, threats and rape. Always speak out against misogynous behaviour and learn about this issue by studying feminism and the rape culture pyramid.

Tour de France Femmes | 23/31-7

I never realized this, but the Tour the France was only available for men from 1989 onwards. There used to be a similar race for women, but that ended in 1989 due to a lack of sponsors and attention. But in 2022 this changed again. After all these years, there was a Tour de France for women again in 2022, Tour de France Femmes. Back in 1984 the race was the exact same as the one for men, but the Tour de France Femmes is not the same. It’s 8 days and a very different course. My feeling says that this not fair at all. But I mean, this is a step forwards towards getting equal attention in sport for both men and women*.

Personal practical tip

There’s a lot of time to be made up, since women were able to play sports much later than men did. The end goal is the amount of money circling in the sports and the attention to it to be the same between genders. However, since women’s sports are behind a lot, I try to give that more attention by watching mostly women’s sports.

Yours sincerely,

*I realize that my language is very binary here, but the news article I am discussing does not really allow me to be very inclusive. As if now, there are two Tour the France’s, one for men and one for women. Of course I recognize that there are more genders and that there is discrimination against transgender people in sports.

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