Local Goal Getter Arthur Bribosia: striving to the commitment of Maastricht for Climate

Spurred on by the global climate protests, our Local Goal Getter of today, Arthur Bribosia, together with other students, founded “Students for Climate” in the spring of 2019. This group was later renamed “Maastricht for Climate” to promote the inclusion of the Maastricht population. His connection with nature clearly came forward in his choice of place to conduct the interview. He mainly spoke to us in a coop with chickens that are adopted by families from the neighbourhood. Arthur has just graduated from UCM and is the winner of the UM student award 2020. This week he started working in the “Green Office” of UM. He said that as a young scout leader he was already very passionate about nature and sustainability. He was, among other things, at the base of “waste-free camps” and has promoted the use of local products. Although he supports the content of the 17 sustainable development goals, he is somewhat sceptical about these labels that often get bogged down to “marketing labels” or “buzzwords” of large companies. He emphasized the essential importance of putting action above words in the struggle for sustainability.

Not just climate marches

Although Arthur is best known as the organizer of the local climate demonstrations with “Maastricht for Climate” (SDG#13), this group has quickly grown into a larger organization with different focus points. For example, they have set up a research team that aims to build up more fundamental knowledge about the various sustainability themes. Another team has set up a dialogue with UM, urging the introduction of education in the field of climate and social justice. Finally, they have drawn up a sustainability guide that gives the population concrete guidelines for living a more sustainable life.

Action over theory

This prominent pursuit of action over theory becomes clear when reading the sustainability guide that you can access on the website “maastrichtforclimate.nl”. As a reader, we get a clear overview of the impact of our daily life on the climate. In addition to explaining the consequences of our consumption behaviour, practical guidelines are also given for improving sustainability. In doing so, the link is made to many local initiatives and shops that make a concrete contribution to this. We can catalogue this initiative under the sustainability label of quality education (SDG#4), where the informative aspect is directly linked to the practical implementation. Another initiative of knowledge transfer takes the form of online lectures offered by “Maastricht for Climate”. On May 11th there will be a lecture on making homes and buildings sustainable and on May 25th they will close the academic year with a lecture “Inform and involve the people”.
Finally, the initiative of a webinar series for a sustainable Maastricht is also covered by SDG#4. These webinar series share the insights and concerns of experts, citizens and activists who are then passed on to local politicians. Every 3 months they enter into direct dialogue with Gert Jan Krabbendam, the local alderman for the energy transition. In this positive and constructive way, Arthur wants to actively participate with his team in building the bridge between theory and practice.

Collaborations with the people

Because the pursuit of sustainability concerns us all, our Local Goal Getter affirms the importance of partnerships with all kinds of organizations pursuing similar goals. (SDG#17). For example, they work together with organizations such as ‘Precious Plastic Maastricht’, ‘Milieudefensie Maastricht’, ‘Climate Action Network Maastricht’ and ‘Fossil Free Maastricht’. Arthur has set up an entire Maastricht climate coalition with like-minded organizations. These partnerships have grown from the realization that as a nation, people must take the lead together in the increased pressure towards a more sustainable and social world. The climate coalition has drawn up a package of eight requirements, ranging from the use of free public transport to the prohibition of the use of single-use plastic. The total package of requirements can be found on the above-mentioned website.

Activate to redefine our lives

As a student of Belgian nationality, Arthur finds a great challenge in putting pressure on local policymakers. In the short term, his greatest wish is to make the underlying team of “Maastricht for Climate” stronger and bigger with clear responsibility and an unwavering commitment. In the long term, he wishes that all of us will redefine the meaning of life and free ourselves from our contemporary world characterized by individualism, oppression and materialistic consumerism. He realizes that this is a long-term process. That is precisely why it is vital that we as citizens continue to fight for it.

I feel extremely grateful for the commitment, inspiration and strength of young people like Arthur. He belongs to a passionate and intelligent generation of young people who are the driving force behind the necessary changes in our current society. He promotes activism over fatalism. Thanks to these activists, citizens and businesses will be constantly reminded to abolish common unsustainable practices in favour of building a better world.

Text: Anna Hermans

Photos, editing: Jennifer Timmermans

Design: Linda Vecvagare