Island living for a sustainable world

Can a small Caribbean island create the blueprint for international sustainable development? The Prime Minister of Aruba Mike Eman thinks so.

“Aruba is an important symbol of sustainability,” he told the audience at TEDxBinnehof. “These great talents can help save the earth and save the future of humanity.”

Now that the 70-square-mile island, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is on track to becoming the world’s first sustainable energy economy, Eman certainly has some bragging rights. What’s more, the island is also close to achieving the goal of running on 100% sustainable energy by 2020.

“At this moment, 20% of the energy of Aruba is supplied by windmills,” explains Eman. Plans are in progress for a second wind farm, which will double the energy capacity and continue to decrease Aruba’s carbon footprint.

These accomplishments have only been possible with the collaboration and support of partners like Richard Branson’s Carbon Water Room, Harvard University and TNO have helped accomplish such strides. They also bring an interest in green growth to the country’s business economy and education system.

With the island’s constant supply of sun, eastern trade winds and ocean currents, it is the ideal place to develop research and field-testing for renewable energy technologies that have applications worldwide.

“The knowledge we are acquiring, and the policies we are implementing are forming the basis for a new economic pillar where we will be exporting this knowledge to other areas in the world that are interested in walking the same path that we are walking.