Geplaatst op: 25-02-2024
Auteur: Wilco Camp
NHL Stenden University fo Applied Sciences
Publicatie: UNCOVER07

Sustainable Futures

Decoding the interplay of leisure and sustainability

Sustainable Futures

As our society evolves, so does our understanding of sustainability and its interplay with Leisure & Events. This complex relationship was spotlighted as one of the focus areas during the Future of Leisure Conference. Showing us the potential for a world where leisure not only coexists but thrives alongside sustainable practices.

Wilco Camp is a senior lecturer in Leisure & Events management at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences.

The organisational team of the Future of Leisure Conference made an effort to adhere to sustainable event practices, following examples from Green Events and Innofest. The events and festivals connected to these initiatives are pioneers of sustainable leisure, integrating zero-waste initiatives and circular economy models into their operations. These events prove that sustainable leisure is not an unrealistic goal, but an attainable reality that offers engaging and meaningful experiences.
Together with BUas’ Green team several actions were taken, working towards a zero-waste conference, such as vegetarian lunches and snacks, no disposables, digital communication and local suppliers.

Sustainability programme

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were an integral part of the discussions in the afternoon programme in the afternoon sustainability programme. SDG 3, Good Health and Well-Being, and SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, were of particular significance, underscoring the need to balance societal health, welfare, and environmental stewardship.

These themes were brought to life through LEGO Serious Play workshops and a storyboarding workshop, which offered participants the chance to envisage sustainable cities of the future. The workshops where alternated with inspirational activities encouraging participants to learn more about zero waste, from Elisah Pals (zero waste Netherlands); actively recycling waste to create new valuable products with Rolph Adriaansen (van Pet naar Pret); or go Plogging, an active way of picking up litter, with Ron Bekker (Runnerscafé).


Within the workshops each subgroup focused on one of five key themes, resulting in these interesting key takeaways:

Green Living, the future blend of business & leisure: This concept envisioned a society that reveres both the wisdom of the elderly and the innovative ideas of the younger generation.

Waste-Free, leisure experiences rethinking waste: The participants created a city where waste does not exist - a city that efficiently manages resources and is committed to cleaning the oceans.

Circularity, what comes in, must come out: The solution highlighted the importance of changing our behaviours and attitudes towards waste, transforming it from a nuisance to a resource within a circular city.

Sustainable Communities, sense of leisureness: The city model emphasised collective growth and harmony, reminding us that humans are part of the natural ecosystem, not superior to it.

Ban the Butts, towards a smoke-free campus: This theme focused on designing a clean, smoke-free campus, indicating the vital role of public health and cleanliness in sustainable leisure spaces.

These imaginative city models capture the synergy between SDGs 3 and 11, presenting a future where health, well-being, and sustainability are balanced and thriving. They demonstrate the innovative solutions that become possible when we explore sustainability in a creative and open-minded manner.

Looking towards the future, it is clear that sustainable leisure and events are set to become the standard rather than the exception. Every event, whether it is a music festival, sports event or a city-wide carnival, will champion green practices. We predict these events will adopt zero-waste policies, encourage participants to offset carbon emissions, or even turn waste into public art.

These sustainable leisure activities will not merely provide entertainment. They will serve as educational platforms, inspiring attendees to integrate sustainable practices into their everyday lives. They will foster community engagement, promoting awareness and responsible behaviours.

The Future of Leisure Conference demonstrated that sustainable leisure is not just a trend within the industry, but a powerful movement capable of shaping our collective future. The creative city models, innovative concepts, and forward-thinking visions generated during the conference offer a glimpse into an exciting future of sustainable leisure. They underscore the transformative potential of the leisure industry and its ability to redefine our experiences, cities, and communities in a more sustainable, more prosperous world. As we move towards this exciting future, let us each do our part to adopt and promote sustainable practices in our own leisure activities.

Dit artikel is eerder verschenen in Uncover, een uitgave van het domein Leisure & Events van de Breda University of Applied Sciences. Nieuwsgierig naar de andere artikelen uit Uncover? Stuur dan een mailtje naar
Trefwoorden: leisure, duurzaamheid


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