In 50 years, we’ll still need access to food, resources, clean water and fresh air. For ourselves, but also for future generations. Both our current consumption patterns and environmental policy will need to change if we don’t want to surpass planet Earth’s biocapacity.
The economic crisis is currently taking attention away from the climate goals that we’ve set for ourselves, and the use of fossil fuels is on the rise. The consequences of this trend continuing will be immense: higher sea levels, floods, crop failure, famine and conflict. If we want to prevent life from becoming very unpleasant in the second half of this century, action has to be taken right now.
Climate change is one of the causes of the high numbers of refugees and migrants that the world is currently witnessing. In the following decades, the extent of this environmental migration will only grow larger. PINK! wants the Dutch government to push for a global solution to this problem. They should also make these groups of people more visible in society.
Climate and the environment
The government has a significant responsibility to curb pollution and climate problems.
- The Netherlands should take on a pioneering role together with the European Union to limit global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius.
- A Climate Agreement needs to be established, outlining annually increasing commitments to the government for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- This must lead to a net emission rate of 0 by 2050.
- To achieve this, technical innovations and a slowdown of the current overconsumption are required.
- The latter aspect can be hastened by passing on the true costs of products and services to their prices, instead of offloading them onto society at large, as well as by providing information about the environmental impact of products and services.
Earth Overshoot Day
The day of the year when we surpass Earth's capacity to regenerate its resources, 'Earth Overshoot Day', is arriving ever earlier in the year. In less than three decades, this day moved up a whole four months – from December to August. PINK! advocates for this day to become a day of national mourning.
Goverment leading by example
PINK! believes that the government should set an example.
- Purchases should be 100% sustainable.
- Only fully plant-based, biological and regional or fair-trade food should be served in its staff restaurants.
- Green energy is used and tap water served instead of bottled water.
- Small businesses should be considered more often for commissions. Purchasing sustainable innovations is a good way for the government to stimulate economic activity, helping sustainable innovations break through on the market.
Earth's resources are limited, and we should use them with care.
- Stricter standards should be established for product designs, concerning recycling of materials and product durability.
- Manufacturers will be encouraged to keep an account of their resources.
- Leasing arrangements – allowing companies to keep ownership of a product while the client purchases a service from them – will be promoted so that more of the resources can be recycled.
PINK! promotes separating glass, plastic, metal and clothing as much as possible, because of the environmental benefits in recycling.
- Dumping and burning waste will be more heavily taxed.
- The national deposit scheme will be expanded to include tin cans and small bottles.
- Releasing balloons will be prohibited.
- Waste separation will be made possible in every municipality of the country.
- Door-to-door advertising and magazines should be opt-in rather than opt-out.
- It's currently too difficult to reproach companies that pollute the environment on a large scale. This is why only temporary environmental permits should be issued, which will be prolonged only if the company demonstrably meets environmental standards.
- Inspection and enforcement for high-risk companies will be intensified.
To keep our planet liveable for ourselves and for future generations, it's necessary to increase the share of sustainable development in Dutch education.
- The subjects of animals, nature, environment and sustainability should be integrated into the curriculum of primary and secondary education. Pupils' education in these subjects is a substantial part of their overall social education. This also lays the foundations for a sustainable society and a liveable planet.
- The government supports a complete transition to a selection of foods at schools that is plant-based, as well as biologically and regionally produced.
Unoccupied housing is a growing problem, and yet, more and more buildings are being constructed.
- Development of new office buildings needs to be halted and instead, vacant buildings should be put to use, after renovation if necessary.
- Vacancy will no longer be rewarded with lower real estate taxes, but instead will be inhibited through a tax on vacancy. Moreover, the process of giving old office buildings a new function – such as living space – will be simplified.
- Only inner cities will see the development of new buildings.
Many construction projects were halted due to the financial crisis, resulting in former construction sites now abandoned and vacant. Different interests lay claim to the same scarce areas.
- These areas should be made available to residents, for example for city farming, nature development, co-managed parks and natural playgrounds. The local residents will be actively involved in these developments.
Spatial planning projects that actively involve citizens should make sure that their interests are accurately integrated. A green, clean environment for humans and animals alike is priority number one.
- The spatial autonomy of the provinces will be reinforced.
- The Crisis and Recovery Act will be abolished and will only be replaced if the alternative puts the protection of nature and the environment front and center, and if it reinforces the rights of citizens.
Commuter traffic needs to be reduced, and environmentally friendly transport should be encouraged.
- No new motorways will be built, and existing plans for new motorways will be cancelled.
- The increase of the maximum motorway speed to 130 kilometres per hour should be reverted, and ring roads should get a maximum speed of 80 kilometres per hour.
- Public transport will be made reliable, affordable and fully accessible for everyone.
- The government will encourage flexible working hours and working from home. They will moreover invest in safe bike lanes and train connections to the northern provinces and abroad, rather than the expansion of airports.
The clothing industry needs to become more sustainable, given its use of large quantities of fresh water and chemicals. Contributing to this problem is the current culture of disposability, allowing clothes to be produced, discarded and replaced at a high pace. The clothing industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and change is imperative.
- All clothing sold in the Netherlands to be produced sustainably and without child labour by 2021.
- To meet this goal, the government will negotiate with, and place demands on, the industry.
- The government will give sustainable producers a competitive edge by way of excise taxes and additional import tax on undesirable products.