27 November 2018 • HNTB, Arie Verhoef
Esmée Amsen goes on a Quest for Change
The wind in the hair. Sea spray on the skin. In late January, Esmée Amsen will set sail from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, bound for Amsterdam. With eighteen other millennials, she will traverse a distance of over 3,750 nautical miles aboard the tall ship ‘De Morgenster’ (The Morning Star) for Quest for Change. Four hours on, eight hours off. A journey across the Atlantic, where whales swim with kilos of plastic waste in their stomachs. En route the millennials will conduct a case study about energy transition for the Technische Unie. Esmée says, “I hope to return with a fresh perspective on the industry.”
As for the specifics of the case study, Esmée isn’t at liberty to share those just yet. While sailing on the Morgenster, young people help companies find sustainable solutions to actual problems. The tall ship will sail across the Atlantic in three stages. During each stage, a different group of young people will explore sustainable solutions aimed at a specific industry. The main theme for the third leg of the journey, Sint Maarten to Amsterdam, is energy transition. The sea voyage is an initiative of Clean2Antarctica, which describes itself as ‘a team of grown-up kids who have a playful approach to achieving creative solutions’. They are eager to transition from a linear to a circular economy. They are relying on the brainpower of people like Esmée Amsen, a fourth-year Process & Food Technology student at THUAS.
Esmée says, “That whale with kilos of plastic in its stomach is a tragic example of what we’re doing to our planet. It is clear we need to drastically change our lifestyles, but how? On the Morning Star we as millennials think about this, as the generation that will soon be able to implement changes. We want to make it clear that our waste can supply raw materials for new products via the circular economy. I expect that during our sailing expedition, we’ll come up with inspiring ideas that Technische Unie will be able to put to use in connection with the energy transition.”
She is convinced the expedition will yield plenty of results. “When you put nineteen people on a boat for six weeks with no outside influences, and when each of those people brings their own unique knowledge, the resulting creativity will lead to new insights.” While this journey isn’t part of her studies at THUAS, Esmée will be able to turn the knowledge she’s gained in her programme into valuable input. “I’ve learned how products are made and how industrial processes work. My millennial peers will bring input from other scientific disciplines to the table. This will allow us to examine the case study from a variety of perspectives.”
Esmée won’t be earning any credits for the trip. “Still, I think this journey will be at least as enriching as my studies. The quest for sustainability is going to be a guiding principle throughout my life, and this project is only the first step. I hope it will lead to broadly applicable business models. And with that insight we can take a different approach to energy, one that’s more sustainable and better for the planet. The interest from people around me is evidence that this topic is on people’s minds. But it’s always a good idea to start small on the deck of the Morgenster.” She hopes that soon, when she returns to shore in Amsterdam, she’ll have gained both her sea-legs and a wealth of ideas.
Esmée Amsen: “It is clear we need to drastically change our lifestyles, but how?”