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LUC Alumna makes it to Trouw Sustainable 100

The Sustainable 100 is an initiative by Dutch newspaper Trouw, consisting of a list of the top 100 sustainable civil initiatives. In October of 2020, the Jonge Klimaatbeweging (Youth Climate Movement NL) became the first youth organization to win first prize. An interview with LUC Alumna and Board Member at the Jonge Klimaatbeweging (Youth Climate Movement NL): Aniek Moonen.

Aniek Moonen

Aniek graduated from LUC in February 2019. While writing her capstone thesis she found that the Youth Climate Movement NL had an open vacancy, and she pursued the board position of sustainable innovation. After a year in this position, she reapplied for the board position of youth climate agenda & international, which puts her at the helm in steering the youth organisation’ vision document and agenda, as well as those of international partner organisations.

Thinking Big

Aniek and the Youth Climate Movement NL go beyond activism. They are well versed in the science and policy options required to facilitate the sustainable transition and pride themselves on thinking big, looking towards 2050. In 2019, they were the only youth organization involved in the drafting of the National Climate Accord. Only two years later, they pride themselves on being in regular, meaningful contact with eminent politicians and policy makers. 

Sustainable 100

The importance of making the ‘Duurzame 100’ lay in the visibility and traction it brought the Youth Climate Movement NL. As a young organization of only five years old, they have been working hard to get young people a permanent and meaningful seat at the table. Winning the prize from ‘Trouw’ also means that it will make the impact the Youth Climate Movement NL can have bigger, having already grown as an organisation and seen more members sign-up as a result of their selection.

There are many climate causes, why do you choose to put your energy and time into this one?

There are definitely a lot of organisations out there. I made the decision I wanted to focus on the Netherlands. In LUC when you talk about sustainability, you talk about it on a global scale and this is very interesting - but I decided that focusing on the Netherlands would allow me to get more insight into local decision-making processes.

There are already so many (organizations) in the Netherlands by itself, but what I did really like about the Youth Climate Movement NL, is that they strive to go beyond activism. They want to be involved in the conversations at Buitenhof, at the policy making station in the Netherlands.

What do you hope to see it achieve In the future?

One of the reasons I wanted to do another board year is because there are elections coming up in the Netherlands. It is something our organsiation is working hard on. We have been working on our own sustainable election programme and we have sent it to all parties in the Netherlands. Several big parties have already confirmed that they will be using some of our ideas in their national election programmes. Our goal is not only to get as many young people to vote as possible, but also for them to vote sustainably.

Our orgainsation is politically neutral. We want to have every single party in cabinet to do something sustainable. We want sustainability engrained in all of their election programmes. One of our biggest campaigns at the moment is centered around our ‘climate candidates’. Out of each of the parties currently in government, we have selected one candidate who focuses most on sustainability issues and has relevant work experience in the field. By choosing candidates across the entire political spectrum, we want to encourage people to vote for a sustainable cabinet, no matter what party they want to vote for. 

On the 10th of February, the Youth Climate Movement NL organized the Climate Candidate Debate. Aniek was one of the two hosts of this debate, which you can watch via this link.  

How did LUC play a role in influencing the direction you are taking now?

When I got to LUC I was not at all focused on sustainability. In my admission interview, I told my interviewer I wanted to major in World Politics, but later decided to opt for Governance, Economics and Development. 

I was influenced by the people around me being interested in so many different things. In my second year I was drawn to sustainability and I did an exchange semester at the University of California Santa Barbara, where I studied environmental sciences. It was only after my semester abroad, that I decided to stay an extra semester to minor in sustainability.

The kind of ideals that I learned in LUC pushed me towards the sustainability movement and trying to work for a world with ambitious climate polices.

How can students who are interested contribute?
The Youth Climate Movement NL operates only in Dutch, so students do have to have an understanding of that language. If so, there are many low threshold ways to engage in the work being done. One such is our Youth Climate Panel, an online panel of over 1000 people across the Netherlands who are sent a survey about sustainable topics and policy measures each month. Through the youth climate panel, the Youth Climate Movement NL gathers data on the ideas of Dutch youth. These ideas are then communicated to our policy makers. 


Want your ideas to reach Dutch policy makers? Sign up to the Youth Climate Panel! Currently, Aniek combines her work at the Jonge Klimaatbeweging with working at the Dutch Sustainable Energy Association. This September, she will start a Master’s degree abroad. 

Leiden University College The Hague offers a broad, flexible and interdisciplinary residential Liberal Arts and Sciences programme with a focus on Global Challenges. In this bachelor programme students specialize in relevant fields like world politics, economics, governance, international justice, human & cultural interaction, global public health and environmental sciences.

Written by Jayne Fitzgerald and Cindy Olaria.

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