My twelfth driver spotlight for BadgerGP, this time on the Dutch talent, Marcel Albers.
“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” was the slogan used by the Clinton presidency in 1994, to resolve the issue of gay acceptance in the United States military. It seemingly solved the problem, precisely by leaving it unresolved.
It’s exemplary for the past decades. In an unprecedented way we’ve seen social, environmental and political problems succeed each other in rapid succession, as we’ve commenced our slow decent into oblivion.
There was the Ukraine crisis, civil wars in Libya, Iraq, Nepal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Syria, Afghanistan and Egypt, the revelations of Wikileaks and Snowden, and the nuclear threat from North Korea and Iran. There was violence in Boston, Utøya, Ferguson and Paris – terrorism all across the world. We’re still seeing a refugee crisis, growing income inequality – and of course the climate problem. Also, among various epidemics, there was the outbreak of Ebola, and more recently the Zika virus.
Really, the typicality of all this, is how these problems have been festering for decades, systematically being ignored, left unresolved like the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” phrase. Problems left to erupt violently, as they have indeed done so recently.
The world is trembling, shaking – yet it seems problems are also being solved.
In 2015, same-sex marriage was legalised nationwide in the United States and Africa was declared free of Ebola. Libya, Egypt and Morocco gained democratic governments and for the first time the amount of children who go to bed hungry is lower than when the counting began. Now, over 86% of the world population under the age of fifteen can read and write, and that percentage has never been as high. Protest against the freedom of the internet where successful, and during the Climate Summit of Paris there was a binding agreement to finally address climate change. China is closing over one thousand coalmines in the next few years and the price of renewable energy is continuously dropping, the price of solar energy has now decreased by sixty-six percent in the last six years alone, and the amount of electric cars on the road is doubling each year, as is the households with solar panels.
Problems rarely exist isolated, like nature, everything seems interconnected. I take a lot of energy from Naomi Klein’s quote, who said: “What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?
Halting climate change can coincide with energy poverty (and poverty in general). Educating the world can be a part of solving its income inequality. On a much abstracted level, solving problems can make a better world for all of us, putting global turmoil to rest.
And there’s Ban Ki Moon’s quote: “We’re the first generation that can end poverty and the last that can end climate change.”
I think we have a good shot at all of these things.
This was written two years ago as a answer to the question, ‘What is your favorite scent?’, on Quora, and it still rings true to this day.
My favourite smell is that of the Veluwe, the area which I think of as my homeground. I don’t live there anymore now, but every time I return it smells like my youth. The countless amount of hours I’ve spent between the trees, walking, running and cycling. Leaves rustling in the wind, birds, squirrels, deers, boars and other kinds of wild life: the place really lives.
The year I was born, my dad passed his motorcycle license, and for as long as I have memories, my dad — wearing a distinctive grey with blue and red jacket — rode a Yamaha FZR400: a lightweight race bike, which screamed loudly as he revved it on our driveway.
Recently, my dad got onto a more convenient bike, a Moto Guzzi Breva 1100, but still wears the same jacket! Instead, it’s me on the lightweight supersport — a Honda CBR600RR — somewhat the modern day equivelant of the FZR400.
This weekend was a reminiscing mixture of past and present, and perhaps it’s a stark reminder of how quickly time goes by. I still feel like the kid on the driveway, watching my dad get on his bike and go. Only now I step onto my own bike to follow.
On the Blaak in Rotterdam — dwarfed by modern offices — stands an old bank building. The brick walls carry a red tile roof, under which an art academy nests. In its front two plane trees stand, and there’s a quote above the door that reads: “I have to change to stay the same.”
Four years I went through that door, not understanding the quote. I thought semesters would bring me to bloom, not change, and that I just needed the time, that I’d grow the way a flower grows. I didn’t yet understand that time and change are exactly the same thing.
Before graduating, I arrived at Vandebron, like a first day at school, where there wasn’t much apart from a few desks, binders full of prints and five guys. There was a plan, and a name that had just changed.
But you just start, try your best and everything works. Suddenly, in the perceived length of a movie, there’s a company with so many colleagues that you cannot remember all the names. You feel older as you see the insecurity you once had in others.
Sometimes I wonder whether Vandebron is a success, or whether the moment on which we can call it that is yet to come. These two-and-a-half years have been equally good as though. I have this inner-voice that haunts me like Bundini: “That wasn’t good enough”, “you should change that”, and “you could do better there”. But despite how infinite and annoying it is, I also love that voice.
I know I’ve done things alright, but was it good or luck? Maybe it doesn’t matter and maybe we’re not supposed to understand everything.
Although you love them, eventually you outgrow the very things that shaped you. What you don’t want to see is like the small patch of water between the harbour and a departing ship. And if time is indeed the synonym of change, it’s not so weird how we want different things at different moments in our lives.
Leaving Vandebron for KesselsKramer has taught me that you can only have half the things you desperately want from life. It’s tragic, but on a brighter note it’s nice that at least we get to choose which half.