[The "links" rubric profiles useful websites on climate change. This first part, primarily for our signers from other countries, will present a selection of Dutch organizations and websites. A second part - to appear during the month of May - will offer important climate change sites in the rest of the world . If you would like to suggest an organisation for inclusion, please contact us at email@example.com]
Netherlands: Websites of environmental organizations and other useful websites
Greenpeace Nederland - Dutch branch of the oldest and best-known environmental organization. Greenpeace Nederland was one of the first organizations to offer Concerned Citizens against Climate Change support for its appeal and we, in turn, completely support the effort of Greenpeace to block construction of new coal-fuelled power centrals, in this country and elsewhere. A former Greenpeace organizer, Diederik Samsom, is a leading member of the Dutch Parliament for the PvdA (Labour Party)
Milieudefensie - Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth, several of whose leading figures support our appeal, and whose effort to persuade the Dutch government to adopt a “climate law”, mandating regular annual CO2 reductions we also support. A former director of Milieudefensie, Wijnand Duyvendak, was a member of Parliament for the Green Left Party (Groenlinks), and subsequently a leading figure in the "Beat the Heat Now" coalition that urged a strong Dutch climate positon at the 2009 UN climate summit in Copenhagen. An earlier director of Milieudefensie, Jacqueline Cramer, was Minister of Environment in 2009-10.
Stichting Natuur en Milieu - unaffiliated to international networks, the “Foundation for Nature and Environment’ is more oriented to local Dutch ecological problems than the first two. Its Director also supports our appeal. Their website announces: “The Foundation for Nature and Environment works with heart and soul for a beautiful countryside, an abundant and healthy natural environment. As an independent organization, we are committed to sustainable solutions for problems in nature and environment.”
De Kleine Aarde - Less concerned with political solutions than with cultivating ecological consciousness, this organization, which also supports our Appeal, maintains an eco-park of three hectares where children as well as adults are welcome and focuses primarily on changes in mentality and life style conducible to a sustainable civilization. Founded in 1972, it is one of the oldest environmental organizations in The Netherlands.
Cool Climate - In a year’s time, this new organization has gathered scores of well-known Dutch personalities and more than 10,000 adherents behind its program. With a fine public face and good publicity it has served to stimulate environmental awareness of the climate issue in the general public around specific proposals. The group’s manifesto admits to having been inspired by Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, and they make demands on both the government and the general public. They have set out quantifiable goals for government policy: a climate law for 3% fewer greenhouse gas emissions annually, 2% less energy use and a 1% increase in the amount of non-carbon sustainables offered by the energy companies; they call for large wind energy parks in the North Sea, oppose new nuclear or coal power stations, propose, via a tax on automobile and truck mileage (“kilometerheffing”), a 2% annual reduction in pollution from that source, the tax to be used on improved public transportation. And they want The Netherlands to join with the rest of Europe in securing a proper successor treaty to Kyoto. They propose that countries that refuse to cooperate with such a treaty would face a stiff European “climate tax” on energy-intensive products, to prevent unfair competition.
Hier Nederland klimaatneutraal - More concerned with changing mentalities and life style than government policy, “Hier”, which claims 25,000 adherents, presents a wide variety of tips on how to lower one’s personal ecological footprint as well as a review of relevant climate news. They do follow government policies at both the national and EU levels, and carry news about efforts to control CO2 emissions all over the world.
Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency - The Environment and Nature Planning Office presents itself as a link between the scientific community and policy makers, by offering independent research on the quality of the environment and how it is influenced by human and natural activity. It evaluates the ecological quality of existing policies and aims to assist in political decisions where economic, ecological, spatial and social-cultural interests may conflict. In climate matters, it is primarily concerned with supporting the Dutch input in European and global policy-making and advising the government about policy implementation.
WISE - World Information Service on Energy. Their site begins: “We're small. We're powerful. We're anti-nuclear. We are grass-root oriented. And we are proud of what we have achieved. We are anxious to go on, serving people with important information and skills. We have existed since 1978, in a small office with seven people working at WISE Amsterdam.” Their Director supports our Appeal. In addition to their anti-nuclear focus, WISE has broader interests and has been vocal in opposing new coal-powered electricity plants in The Netherlands.
Urgenda - This organization, founded in 2007 by professors in the science faculties at Dutch universities with Marjan Minnesma as Director, proposes a forty year project for making The Netherlands the world’s most sustainable society. Intending to link government, industry and environmental organizations, Urgenda examines the challenges posed by demographic and environmental changes to this small country, partly below sea level. It offers specific plans, in stages, for many areas of Dutch existence, from transport and housing to health and welfare, plans intended to maintain as much stability as possible in the rapidly changing natural and social environment of the future. While visionary, Urgenda does not anticipate radical changes in patterns of consumption or life style. It is oriented to technological, rather than political or social solutions. The group appears to accept the consequences of global warming and rising sea levels as a given, and to be concerned principally with mitigating their effects in a way that can preserve a livable society and serve as an example to the rest of the world. Urgenda appeals to the long Dutch tradition of collective coping with problems of the natural and social environment, from the “inpolderen” (draining of lakes and wetlands to create arable land) that began many centuries ago to the “delta works” protections against flooding and the creation of the Dutch welfare state in the 20th century. In 2012, Urgenda began a more activist phase with their "Wij willen aktie" campaign.
De Verklaring Van Tilburg - The “Tilburg Declaration” is a Dutch version of the de-growth movement (known in France as “décroissance”). Its point of departure is the perception that the pillaging of natural resources by the human species is unsustainable and needs to be radically scaled down. Invoking the problems of “climate change, resource depletion, the persistence of wide-spread poverty and increasing global inequality”, the Tilburg Declaration calls for “a necessary transition of all wealthy economies,” to reduce “the use of materials, space and fossil fuels” and redistribute access to resources, without reducing “the level of welfare” Such reduction “will protect us from even bigger future problems, such as health hazards, environmental degradation, a further increase in the global poverty gap, and armed conflicts and refugee movements.” The Tilburg Declaration also calls for other instruments for measuring economic progress than gross national product or productivity, proposing as alternatives the “ecological footprint”, “sustainable national income” and “the Index for Sustainable Economic Welfare.” Invoking the visionary dream of Martin Luther King and the American New Deal, the authors of the Declaration (signed by over three hundred persons) affirm that while the ideological commitment to growth must end, “there is space for growth… within the framework of more sustainability, more solidarity, higher quality of life and consequently also more human happiness in North and South’.”
In Dutch, English and Spanish.
Platform Communication On Climate Change (Klimaatportaal)/PCCC - This site pools the research and insights of seven governmental and university institutions to provide the most accurate possible information on climate change to Dutch citizens and policy-makers: the Milieu en Natuur Planbureau (Planning office for Environment and Nature), the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI – the agency that provides daily weather forecasts), the Climate Change and Biosphere center of the University of Wageningen, the Energieonderzoek Centrum Nederland (Dutch Energy Research Center), the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NOW – The Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research), Klimaatcentrum van de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and a grouping of scientific institutes at the University of Utrecht. The annual report issued by IPCC has an exemplary clarity but it seems unfortunately to be only available in Dutch. The site does offer a valuable listing of climate research sites in many countries, and has a news site with an English page.
Klimaatverbond Nederland - An association of cities and provinces with the aim of strengthening national and international environmental and climate policy. Eleven provinces and 123 Dutch cities, representing nearly half the population of the country, cooperate in projects and exchange knowledge towards improvements in the foundation, execution and transparency of local climate policy. Climate policy consists for this group “in diminishing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to the consequences of climate change and global cooperation.”
Climate News Sites - There are four good climate news sites in The Netherlands. Two are formally news sites: Klimaatnieuws: http://www.klimaatnieuws.nl/ and Zeeburg Nieuws, a local web newspaper in Amsterdam that specializes in climate reporting, and whose editor has been supportive of Concerned Citizens Against Climate Change: http://www.zeeburgnieuws.nl/nieuws/klimaatverandering.html. There is also a review of recent climate news at Hier Nederland klimaatneutraal: http://www.hier.nu/home/ and at PCCC (#11 above): http://www.klimaatportaal.nl/pro1/general/home.asp.