Energetic like 100,000 joules - kids at the Energy Bootcamp

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How sustainable are children now – and how sustainable will they be when they grow up? A group of children tested this at the Energy Bootcamp during the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. They measured their own climate footprint and came up with ideas to achieve a clean future. Lotte Stekelenburg (11) attended the bootcamp. ‘I don’t think people need to own two cars. One electric car is enough.’

Every year, hundreds of children attend the World Tennis Tournament with their parents Рand they are often full of energy. This year social entrepreneur Karin Nettenbreijers of BewustWijzer and ABN AMRO created the Energy Bootcamp, an event where children can learn in a fun way about their impact on the climate. For example, they could make smoothies from freshly squeezed fruit while cycling, and could generate energy by dancing on a special dance floor. Almost one thousand children danced up a total of some 100,000 joules of energy. The children were asked to come up with ideas for making their future more sustainable. More than 245 good ideas were submitted, three of which were conceived by Lotte Stekelenburg.

At the Energy Bootcamp, you were invited to submit ideas for creating a cleaner, more sustainable world. What was your idea?

‘I submitted three ideas. One: place more trash cans outdoors. Plenty of people litter, but there also aren’t enough trash cans. Two: create a device that recharges your phone while you are cycling. I saw at the Kids Event that this is possible and it looks very useful to me. And three: produce more, and better, electric cars – fast! I know somebody who has one of these cars!’

Good plan! Are you worried about the future of the planet?

‘Sometimes. All of those fish dying from plastic soup – that’s awful. And in cities, there’s garbage everywhere, on the pavement and in the canals. I never litter, and neither do my friends. Some boys do, though… Girls think more about the environment than boys do, I think.’

Do you think your parents are environmentally friendly enough?

‘They try their best, but I don’t think they do enough. They don’t separate their trash, for example. My father always says we need to take shorter showers and switch off the TV and lights when we leave the room. And they often cycle rather than drive places. So that’s good, too.’

What would you do differently if you were an adult?

‘I would separate my trash. And I would buy an electric car, and install solar panels on the roof. I’m sure the device allowing us to recharge phones while cycling will have been invented by the time I’m an adult, so I’d use that too. I suppose I’d eat meat only half of the time. I think eating meat is cruel to animals, and I’ve been told it’s bad for the environment too.’

And what would you do if you had a lot of money?

‘If I really had a lot of money, I’d donate it to charity. Just like the richest man in the world. You can always build a bigger home for yourself, but I don’t really need that. And I don’t think people need to own two cars either – one electric car is enough! My brother and sister both want a scooter. I wouldn’t let them each buy one, because they could share one. I think parents should raise their children to be aware of the environment, starting from when they’re young. So when they grow up, sustainability would be second nature!’