The Year of 2018

Dif is a movement of changemakers. With weekly publications and actions on social media, Dif is a platform for journalists, artists, and activists looking for brilliant ideas and thinkers, who are paving the way towards a circular economy. But how do we accomplish the Global Goals before 2030?
Our editor in chief, Fons Burger, makes a selection of the best stories and documentaries of Dif Report in 2018.

Fair trade, always and everywhere

How do you defeat poverty? The first goal of the SDG2030 is the most blurred. Dif came up with five ways to most effectively combat poverty. Hard? You can change legislation regarding tax evasion, so billionaires and multinationals pay their fair share of taxes. But much better is to improve fair-trade business. No more developmental aid through food drops, but rather to invest in entrepreneurs and businesses in poorer countries, truly giving them an opportunity. That really helps.

Countdown to a healthy Holland

Horticulturist-millionaire Rob Baan is a special, straight-shooting visionary with an ambitious plan. When his company Koppert Cress had its 5000 year anniversary, and he received a ribbon from the king, de devised a plan to get the Netherlands healthy in 5000 days. The clock is ticking (on difweb.org), and we have 4000 days left. A lot has happened already. At its core is the 80-20 principle. Don’t get more than 20% of your food from animal products (and thus 80% from plant-based sources), and make sure that 80% of what you eat is locally sourced.

A dutch concept is taking over globally

Ten years ago, Jos de Blok and Gonnie Kroonenberg, together with four or five other healthcare practicioners, started a little company called Buurtzorg. Nowadays Buurtzorg is the largest home-care organization in the Netherlands, with about 15.000 employees. Jos goes across the world to speak at congresses about their unique formula. And that’s not where it stops. In numerous countries sister-operations to Buurtzorg operate under the same principles. Dif sent a filmcrew to India, china, and the United Kingdom to document this phenomena.

The energy world upside down

‘This will truly turn the energy world upside down’, is what professor Jan Rotmans said, member of the board of control of Dif. And Indeed, this simple transition is rapidly expanding: start a cooperative with your neighbors. Buy solar panels or a windmill and become your own energy supplier. That way you are no longer dependent on energy prices and your lights will stay on once oil and gas run out. More than a million people in Europe are members of such a cooperative and globally there are a multitude more. The Dutch energy provider Greenchoice is one of the few not resisting the energy transition. It is even helping its customers with forming such a cooperative. Michael Barzilay shot a documentary about Greenchoice on Ameland.

A basic income at 18

The best rememdy against poverty is of course to have a good job. Decent work with decent wages. But there is another way to combat poverty. The basic income. Opponents refer to it as free money, you could also call it a pre-pension. From their 18thbirthday, provide everyone with their own income, enough to live from. This will bring an end to the bureaucratic nightmare of complex regulations and the millions of civil servants who keep the system in check. There are interesting experiments which show that it works. Dif’s Roelof Muskens looked at a very interesting case in India.

Cycle the smog out of the city

Smog in major cities. For a while it seemed as if we’d just get accustomed to it. But more and more cities are combatting polluting traffic, banning diesel engines, and are stimulating electric transport. All in the hope that we can improve and prolong our lives by reducing particulates, CO2, and other forms of air pollution. One of the biggest solutions remains underrated: the bicycle. In many urban environments the bicycle is the ideal form of transport. In Europe too there is an increasing attention towards bicycles. Rianne van der Molen talked to several specialists.

Hundreds of ideas for a blue economy

There are plenty of competitions to gather good ideas. Good ideas to change the world are plentiful. The general consensus: we’re going for a blue economy in which we recycle our resources and only burn what we can grow again. The Dutch initiative Duurzame Dinsdag (Sustainable Tuesday) has a lot more ideas to help the world towards a better place.

A wall of billions of trees

That planting trees is a solution towards climate issues is obvious of course. But who believes that you can turn a barren desert into a tropical rainforest? Pieter Hof invented something to make that happen. A bucket in which you put 15 liters once, and plant a tree shoot, which will grow to maturity in 5 years. Hof is involved in the planting of a 7600 kilometer long corridor of trees in the Sahel. Two trillion tries should prove enough to solve our climate problem.

The green magic formula: permaculture

Permaculture, what is that? With permaculture you can restore nature, and with relatively little effort, transform a barren region into a green paradise, that can provide nutrition for both humans and animals to boot. In the Dif-special on the dessert you can see how the Loss-plateau in China was transformed from an empty steppe into agricultural land over 20 years. You can also read how the Dutch foundation Common Land has done the same in various countries.

Fons Burger editor in chief

Dif is only a small cog in an enormous machine of changemakers; people who realize that the time has come to make drastic changes to the way we treat the world. Cooperation is one of the major goals of the SDG2030. And that’s what we’re doing. Dif is working together with innovative companies such as Koppert Cress, Buurtzorg, The Rotterdam Municipality, and Greenchoice, who support Dif financially and with their knowledge in their respective fields. And there are more organizations with who we work together closely. Sea Shepherd, Orange baby, de Fietsersbond (Cyclists union), energy cooperatives, and Blue City. Dif wants to show the link between the goals and the organizations working towards them. We know that we haven’t nearly completed all the goals, and only unearthed a fraction of the solutions for a transition towards a sustainable future. But we’re gaining traction. Send us an email if you want to get involved or have a great idea


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