Steps to Change Manifesto – how to implement natural change at THUAS

‘The biggest way we can make a difference is to put nature at the heart of our decisions’. Those are the words of David Attenborough. After having seen one of his movies, a group of thirteen Process and Food technology students created a Steps to Change Manifesto – an action plan for how to restore nature within and around the THUAS building. The students worked on it during an environmental engineering class in year 2. Last week, their action plans related to food, travel, water, energy and biodiversity were ready to be shared. Daniil Smetanca, one of the participants, is excited.

Feeling deeply moved

Daniil: “My motivation for participating in the Manifesto for Change is and will always be the desire to find different ways in helping the environment and raising awareness amongst people. One of my main inspirations was the movie A Life on Our Planet, narrated by a famous British broadcaster and natural historian, sir David Attenborough. This movie is his ‘witness statement’ concerning the current state of the planet. I felt deeply moved after watching this movie and thought to myself that I need to change things and spread the inspired changes to my surroundings.”

Highly interested in biodiversity

Having the occasion of participating in the school project Daniil chose the topic of biodiversity, in which he is highly interested. “I believe that biodiversity is a significant concern as we are destroying the natural habitat instead of learning how to coexist with it.” After a few meetings, he and his fellow students Pei Chi Hsu and Przemyslaw Dziadek thoroughly analyzed the gathered data and decided on suitable ideas. 

Hopefully, our ideas will be heard

The main criteria were the implementation simplicity contoured by law and local rules. Daniil: “Each of us chose a topic and researched it. Eventually, our team had a few concepts related to wastewater, food, and carbon footprint.” In our presentation we proposed a few initiatives which could be considered at THUAS. After the presentation the teacher suggested showing the student’s ideas to the THUAS committee which is responsible for it. Hopefully, our ideas will be heard and implemented.” 

Reusing wastewater and food waste

One of the actions the group of Daniil proposed was to redesign the wastewater collection system in order to create the opportunity of reusing the water. They would also like to introduce a variety of aquatic organisms and water-based birds to have a balanced ecosystem in the water surrounding the school building. Moreover, they thought of using the food waste from the canteen as compost and to cover the surfaces of THUAS with trees and plants which will absorb the sunlight and reduce the heat radiation.

The ideal future

In summary, all the PFT students together envisioned greener surroundings of the school in which food can be grown and which provides shelter for rain and sun. Surrounded by clean water with an increased biodiversity. A plant-based menu in the school canteen with not only awareness of health, but also of the CO2 footprint of the food and lower energy consumption by turning off lights and equipment that is not used. Environmentally friendly travel to school, e.g. by public transport or bike, has to be stimulated even more.

Projects for raising awareness

He thought it was a great joy to work on the project. Daniil gained some valuable insights into the THUAS territory. Also, he didn’t know that there is a committee that aims on sustainable changes on the surroundings of the THUAS building. If it were up to him, more projects like this would be initiated in order to raise awareness amongst teachers and students. “We are all responsible for the future! I also think it was an immense pleasure working on this project with such a great team.”

Interested in the Process and Food Technology programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences? Read more:

PFT 3-year programme
PFT 4-year programme