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The climate crisis is human, not scientific

Climate change is so often regarded as a challenge of innovation – of transforming our current system through new and more sustainable business practices, technologies and energy generation. But the last decades have shown that is not where the real problem lies; by now we know what to change, and even often how to do it. The most significant obstacle is human willingness. American environmental lawyer Gus Speth perfectly describes this same problem in this quote below:

“I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science, we could address those problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy… and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation and we, (Lawyers) and scientists, don’t know how to do that.”

Effective environmental intervention hinges on human willingness to change. On the one hand, an individual preparedness to replace old habits with new and greener ones, but on the other hand a political will to rethink (structural) incentives in our economic system (which can not be seen separate from public opinion).

Currently, much of the communication surrounding sustainability is either dominated by scientists or PR/marketing firms, leading to either sterile and complex or slick and curated messaging. Both tire people out. A bit of an unconventional (but promising) addition to the climate narrative might be the use of (dark) humor. Something that is more thoroughly discussed in a recent NYT article called ‘Climate Change Is No Laughing Matter. Or Is It?’ or the book ‘I Want a Better Catastrophe’ by Andrew Boyd. Be sure to check it out.

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Douwe Knijff

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Kim Pillen

Consultant

Before Kim Pillen started as a trend consultant at TrendsActive, she worked for four years as a creative strategist at Dept. For brands such as Philips, bol.com, Beiersdorf, JBL, and the Consumers’ Association, she built (online) campaign, brand, and social media strategies. After four years, she decided that she wanted to better understand people and society in order to advise brands more effectively. That’s how she ended up at TrendsActive. Here, she can do what she loves most: digging into people’s needs and then working with brands to see how and where they can be relevant and meaningful.

Douwe Knijff

Researcher

Douwe is fascinated by how people work. With a background in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (Bachelor) and Psychology (Master) and an analytical mind he tries figure out how societal shifts manifest themselves through social culture and human behaviour.

Aljan De Boer

Keynote speaker

Aljan has been widely recognized as an inspiring professional speaker on the critical trends that will shape society in the decades to come. He works as the Head of Inspiration at TrendsActive, a trend consultancy from the Netherlands using social science to human-proof business decision for brands like

  • Disney
  • Vodafone
  • Hugo Boss
  • ASR
  • Rabobank

Next to his role at TrendsActive he is the Community Director at the Institute for Real Growth where he inspires and connects a global community of +400 CMOs.  

He has been on the board of the Dutch Platform of Innovative Marketing for almost a decade. Regular speaker and moderator for the Dutch Marketing Awards and 3 times winner of the best of MIE. 

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees his purpose is to help ambitious leaders and brands to human-proof their business. In 2003 he founded TrendsActive, a trend consultancy enabling brands to become more human centric.

Kees consults global brands like

  • Disney
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Asics
  • Discovery Channel
  • Swiss Life
  • Vodafone

and many more.

Next to being the founder of TrendsActive, he is also initiator of the first academic trend master for executives at the University of Utrecht and is initiator of various trend studies and white papers on subjects like trust, meaning, visual culture & generations.

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Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist