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General Peter van Uhm on making it a better world

Peter Van Uhm brings a dangerous looking gun to TEDx Amsterdam. He tells the audience that a gun and soldiers are needed to make it a better world. Killings have been dramatically decreased over the past 300 years. It’s beyond our imagination that there are soldiers who offer their health for a better world.

It’s great that such a new perspective is being brought in the world of sustainability and doing good. I’m not sure if I agree with him about the need of weaponry and the good they bring. But it keeps me thinking.

A few months ago Johan Schaberg wrote a column in the NRC: “Sustainability is the new prudishness (preutsheid).” He argues that the term “footprint” is strange. It feels as if everything (animals, forests, oceans) is allowed to be there, but not us human beings: it is the rejection of the gift of life. Life is guilt. He advocates that we need beauty and gives the example of the Cathedral of Amiens. The builders wanted to achieve the highest form of beauty and not to use as little  stones as possible (to have the least environmental impact). The building is still there and a tourist attraction after so many years. ‘We should not promote people to use the brakes but inspire people to create with mastery.’

Johan and Peter bring new perspectives to the sustainability dialogue that stimulate the mind. We need to think ourselves during these days before Christmas. To stay at that place of not knowing isn’t easy though.

For the TEDx clip of Peter van Uhm: Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHX5lAslnTc

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