The following is an interview with Zap Batteries Caribbean's Environmental Champion of 2017, Timo Brouwer.
I got the opportunity to interview this active environmental champion that lives to make sure that society in its entirety can keep on living soundly. Timo sums up what it means to be aware of your surroundings, including people and nature. I especially learned a lot from Timo, so I know that you will too. Stay tuned to read on more on Timo's interview.
- Zap Batteries Caribbean's finest -
Continuation from Part 2
Now Timo, tell me. Why is the government choosing for a bad option concerning waste management?
You know Jordan? Everything in life and society goes through a process of evolution. When here in Curacao we started in the past with the metallic garbage bins, we had experienced that the garbage was not always picked up and transported somewhere else to get rid of. You see, now, it’s different. We have a pick-up service that regularly gets rid of the waste for you, hopefully on time. What I am trying to say is that in the same way, society is now learning to think in a different way, learning a new mentality in terms of hygiene and cleansing. Now there are solutions, machines and economic values for certain materials. Due to this opportunities are created for private investors to invest in an enterprise based on these new valued factors. People in general are therefore becoming more aware, which is why I believe that this process in changing perspectives is being accelerated, especially due to social media. We need a change in mindset. Green Force is currently growing and in actuality is processing 55000 plastic bottles per month and we are increasing our capacity gradually to be able to process 110000 bottles per week. We started with 2 machines, now we are investing in another machine which going to be the 3rd machine, and before 2020 we will be having 6 machines in total. If people start becoming conscious and realize that they can bring their aluminum cans and plastics to the supermarkets, and once this mentality has been internalized, it is important for the people to spread this philosophy/mentality to others out there. I mean I cannot bring this change in mindset on my own, I cannot reach everybody at the same time in all corners of our society. My message to those out there that understand and agree with Green Force’s philosophy is to teach others to think, act and do the same like we do. Tell them why you would do it, how you could set up a recycling system, what the benefits are and so on. If we work in this way, the speed in which we raise awareness will increase exponentially, which means that we will be reaching our goal a lot faster.
I certainly do understand and agree with that message Timo. But what can you tell me about the work that you did in school to raise awareness of recycling?
In 2014 we reached around 5000 children, and we did that through retro-education, where the children were thought by us about the meaning of a sustainable environment, and in turn the children would go home and tell and inspire the parents to also become more aware in the way they deal with the environment. The children have laid the ground work for the change in mindset that we are looking for. Instead of seeing the usual foreigner (mainly Europeans) recycling, we are seeing gradually that the yu-di-Korsou is taking steps in recycling, which is quite an improvement in comparison with past years.
Timo, which Supermarkets are currently participating with the Green Force operations?
Well we started off with Albert Heijn Supermarket (now named Van den Tweel). Later we got Centrum Piscadera and Mangusa Hyper Market. The locations of these supermarkets were chosen for logistics strategic purposes. We have a 20 feet container at Centrum Piscadera, a 20 feet container at Mangusa Hyper Market, and a 40 feet container at Van den Tweel supermarket.
Are there also other organizations that have or are going to affiliate themselves with Green Force?
Well as the matter of fact we around 35 hotels that are going affiliate themselves to us, outside of the 8 to 10 hotels that are already affiliated to us, due to the international pressure coming from tour operators like TUI and Corendon. These organizations are pressuring the hotel industry on the island, due to the fact that the tourist that are purchasing destinations through these operators, prefer to go and reservations at hotels that support a green cause and have a sustainable environmental policy. A few of the hotels that are affiliated to us are Moran Resort, Lions Dive, Avila Beach, Chogogo, Royal Sea-Aquarium, Dolphin Suites, Flor di Flamboyan, Papagayo Hotel and Kontiki, among others. We also have about 33 recycling bin stations around the island in our national parks. Next year these will increase to 50 stations. The point that I am trying convey to others in our community is that I don’t just talk,…I also do! And for many of us I believe that the time for talking is now over. We should now start to transition to the part where we, including the government, start taking action.
Wow! You keep amazing me with your readiness to cause change with a very bold wit! Timo I have one final question for you. Do you dedicate yourself to anything else besides your efforts to protect our ecology and the people in it?
Well as the matter of fact I do. I am a master in the martial art of Ninjetsu. The most important thing that I teach my students are how we can make society a better place by trying our utmost to protect these 4 pillars:
Timo I believe you have brought forth a very strong and positive message to the community of Curacao. I would like thank you so much for your time and I hope to engage with you more often to get more exciting stories from you. Till next time!
You are very welcome Jordan...
This article has been written by
Jordan T. Emanuelson
CEO of jConsultancy