Lars Westra, entrepeneur, Nijmegen
First we visit Nijmegen, incoming European Green Capital for 2018, where we meet an impressive young entrepreneur.
At ten years of age, Lars Westra is probably Nijmegen’s youngest entrepreneur. Taking after his father, a consultant in sustainable growth, Lars has a keen interest in protecting the environment.
“For a while now, I am busy with the topic ‘sustainability’ and making the world a prettier place to live in”, Lars says.
Environmental sustainability isn’t the only goal Lars is fighting for. He also advocates for greater inclusion of children in global issues, such as climate change. His company, ‘Vision of Kids’, focuses on teaching kids how they can make a difference to improve the world around them.
Education and empowerment is important to Lars as evidenced by what he has to say, “One of the most important things is that children know how important it is to be as sustainable as possible. Because after all, they will have to live in this world for quite some time to come. A crucial thing with learning is the passing of a sustainable mind-set and knowledge to the next generation. I have also realised that when you organise something for the European Green Capital, you can get positive attention, and people like to receive attention for the things they are doing, It is important for publicising their sustainable actions”
“It is very cool for children that there will be a lot of press and (international) visitors in the city. One of the most important things is that children know how important it is to be as sustainable as possible. Because after all, they will have to live in this world for quite some time to come. Another advantage is that children can do something themselves: it offers an opportunity to become enterprising, which means there will be more sustainable projects down the line, which is always a good thing” said Lars.
Lars sees Nijmegen’s year as European Green Capital as a great opportunity to make positive change and inspire others to do the same.
“I thought that Nijmegen probably is European Green Capital because the inhabitants of Nijmegen want to become more sustainable and that the whole of Europe could learn from that.”
The importance of the next generation and their attitude to environmental matters is not lost on Lars, “Climate change is a very bad thing and if adults don’t want to listen, then children have to organise things! Children could try to convince adults, but it is better to first try to convince other children, for example with a presentation in class. And hopefully adults take this as an example”.
We will be checking in with Lars throughout 2018 to hear more about the great work that he is doing and in the meantime you can check out the website for Visie Van Kinderen. Veel succes Lars!