Redefining freedom

Last week Yvette Watson, one of the founders of The 2B Collective, was a guest at BNR. During her stay, she gave an insightful talk focusing on the importance of freedom in relation to sustainable development.

"Because at the 2B Collective we actually know that everyone is an expert in their own work and can contribute to sustainable development. Everyone can look for more sustainable alternatives, has smart ideas and can look for innovative cooperation. And we desperately need this collective engagement and brainpower."

But we are stuck in a fundamentally flawed mindset. In the climate debate, the word 'freedom' is the argument against change.  
How do we change this rigid kind of freedom into the freedom we need in challenging and transitional times like these? 

Yvette ends her speech with the answer: a new social norm.   
As this topic fits so well with 2B's vision and purpose, we wanted to provide a separate article that goes into more detail. Below you will find an article written about a speech given by Jelmer Mommers, a climate journalist.    

So, this month's showcase is about Jelmer Mommers and his vision on how to redefine freedom in relation to sustainable development. 

Redefining Freedom: Jelmer Mommers' Vision for Sustainable Development
As the world grapples with the profound challenges of climate change, Jelmer Mommers, a journalist known for his insightful investigations, offers a refreshing perspective on the meaning of freedom and its relationship to sustainable development. In his thought-provoking video "We zijn pas echt vrij als iedereen vrij is: Op naar een nieuw ideaal van vrijheid in tijden van klimaatverandering" (We are only truly free when everyone is free: Towards a new ideal of freedom in times of climate change), Mommers encourages us to rethink our understanding of freedom and to see it as a catalyst for positive change on our way to a sustainable future. 

Freedom beyond conventional notions  
Mommers' exploration begins by questioning conventional notions of freedom. In today's world, we often equate freedom with personal choices, such as how long we shower, what we consume or where we go on holiday. But as Mommers argues, true freedom goes beyond individual preferences. It encompasses the freedom to make choices that benefit the collective good, a perspective rooted in the historical context of democracy.    

The democratic ideal of freedom  
Historically, democracy has defined freedom as the ability to make choices that serve the common good of society. This concept, often neglected in contemporary discussions, emphasises that true freedom lies in acting in the interest of the common good. It implies that restricting certain personal actions, when necessary, can be a means of preserving and enhancing the collective good. 


"Tomorrow does not have to be the same as today, because in a democratic society, people can decide for themselves what tomorrow will look like".   

Jelmer Mommers 


A paradigm shift for sustainable development  
Mommers' message has profound implications for sustainable development. While we often approach sustainability from a technical standpoint, he suggests that a social shift is equally important. Every choice we make, and every action we take, has an impact on the sustainable world of tomorrow. Mommers argues that instead of relying solely on corporate boardrooms and experts, we should recognise that every individual can contribute to sustainable development.    

The collective intelligence of society  
Mommers' vision is based on the belief that everyone has expertise in their own field and can actively seek out more sustainable alternatives, propose ingenious solutions and engage in innovative collaborations. It emphasises the critical need for collective engagement and thinking, not only to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius but also to ensure that our future needs are met in a sustainable way.   

Re-imagining freedom as an ideal  
In the context of climate change, Mommers encourages us to transform freedom from an obstacle to a driver of change. He urges us to re-imagine freedom as an ideal - a choice we make together, not a restriction or a loss.  


Jelmer Mommers' speech challenges us to rethink the meaning of freedom and its relationship to sustainable development. At a time of climate uncertainty and environmental crisis, his perspective reminds us that freedom is a powerful tool for positive change. It calls on individuals and societies to embrace freedom not as a licence to consume without restraint, but as an opportunity to work together to shape a more sustainable, equitable and prosperous future for all. As we navigate the complexities of climate change, Mommers' vision of freedom offers a compelling roadmap to a more harmonious coexistence with our planet and each other. 

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