Valleys of the Future

The 2015 annual congress of the Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers (KIVI) having the theme “Valleys of the Future” was held on the 24th of November 2015. For the first time a direct broadcast was made available for the Aruban engineers. This activity organized by in close cooperation¬† with the Bureau of Innovation of the Government of Aruba took place at the Dr. Edward Cheung Centre of Innovation. About 20 persons attended this first KIVI event on Aruba.

Uitzending KIVI Jaarcongres 2015 op Aruba
Broadcast of the 2015 annual congress of KIVI at Dr. Cheug Centre

A report of this day made by KIVI is available here. Some sessions can be revisited on YouTube. Or for those who are interested in the presentations please click on this link.

Discussion after the broadcast revealed that there is a need on Aruba for activities like these in future. These activities will help realizing the objective of the Government of Aruba to establish a “Center of Excellence” as part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and to support Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in achieving their Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) as laid down in the United Nations 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development. One can say that Aruba as a “valley of the future for SIDS” is a real possibility.

As active member of KIVI, Mr. Leopoldo Henriquez representing, expressed his wish to set up a KIVI section Aruba which is in charge of organizing such activities. The KIVI Board is supporting this idea.

From the evaluation forms completed at the end of the broadcast, some attendees have suggested some topics to be presented at these future activities. A program of KIVI activities for the first quarter of 2016 will soon be circulated to those concerned.

Quality of life: school roofs with solar panel or asbest free

Kudawecha school
Kudawecha is the first school to receive solar panels

The government of Aruba is busy putting solar panels on the roofs of schools as a new project to reach their goal of 100% sustainable energy in 2020. The ambitious plan was equipping ‘all schools of Aruba, generating 10 megawatt’ in 2015 and presenting this to the world at the next Green Aruba Conference, 27 -28 October.

Hence, after an inventory of the schools, only half resulted to have adequate roofs. The schools which didn’t pass, had weak roof supports but also were constructed of the dangerous asbestos. This substance can cause cancer and other fatal diseases.

It’s known for a long time that Aruban schools are not in a good state due to lack of maintenance. Although the government is working actively on that, there are still a lot of schools in a deplorable state and everyday school children as personnel are in danger. Because these schools contain among others roofs of asbestos.

Ecoprofile does sustain the 2020 goal and is pro sustainable energy, thus for this school solar panel project. But puts it in the following perspective: sustainability is (also) about quality of life, in this case the quality of the life of our children and school personnel. The question is: what has more priority now?

Solar panels on the school roofs or school roofs free of asbestos?

Ecoprofile thinks that first all schools should be free of asbestos and well maintained. This is the foundation of sustainability.

And then we can think about nice projects as equipping them with solar panels.

Sustainability: don’t forget about the human factor

A great deal of attention in the movement towards sustainable Aruba in 2020 goes to energy and technical solutions. However the quality of live as part of the human factor is neglected. Sustainability is about People, Planet and Profit (PPP). In the discussion all these 3 aspects should be considered.

For example: in the week celebrating ‘Kibra Silencio’ the investigation of Quota Club International on hear impairment shows that 20% of the population tested deficiency on both ears. On the long term all these people need hearing devices. Why are they getting deaf?

  1. at work; too much noise caused by equipment and background noises in the office
  2. loud music during carnival and/or at other music events

Ecoprofile advises: government and employers should take this as seriously as sustainable energy solutions. Solar panels are great, but our ears also need taking care of.