Created guides on local, sustainable travel and cooking,while launching an investment plan for green restoration

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Jan DIRX
Groene11, Dutch nature and environmental organisations

When the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis began, the first thing my Dutch organisation Natuur & Milieu (Nature & the Environment) did was to make sure that its employees were properly set up to work, communicate and relax online from home. Next, our creative ability was put to the test as we strove to make the most of the situation with regard to our external activities too. We proved equal to the challenge, as the following examples show.

One of Natuur & Milieu's main focuses is "healthy, tasty and sustainable food". Research has shown that, during the crisis, in addition to working remotely, home-schooling their children and doing odd jobs around the house, people have been spending more and more time in the kitchen. We thought that this was also a good opportunity for people to opt for healthy dishes that are good for both themselves and the climate. So we listed tips, tricks, recipes and initiatives on our website and in our Goed eten ("Good Food") e-newsletter to help people make tasty and healthy dishes at home; for example, using seasonal products, supporting local producers, experimenting with plant-based ingredients and being creative with leftovers.

We also addressed a completely different consequence of the coronavirus crisis, namely the inability to travel. In next to no time, we published a sustainable travel guide (Vakantie zonder vliegen ("No-fly holidays")) with 13 dream destinations in the Netherlands. After all, you really don't need to sit on a plane for hours in order to see spectacular sites as there are plenty of beauty spots close to home.

We quickly realised that the post-crisis recovery offered a unique opportunity to move towards an economy that meets society's needs, doesn't contribute to climate change, manages raw materials smartly and gives our country a healthy living environment and high-quality jobs. To that end, Natuur & Milieu worked with various external experts to develop an investment plan for a green recovery. The plan focuses on a number of sectors that all have an opportunity to become sustainable: aviation, mobility and public transport, energy generation, construction and installation, agriculture and nature, and industry. It is currently being discussed with officials and politicians who are working on the recovery package.

The well-known saying that every cloud has a silver lining has once more proven to be true.