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    FAWCO Region 4 Meeting in The Hague November 2022

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    by Mary Adams, AWC The Hague

    AWC The Hague hosted the Benelux member clubs on a weekend of environmental awareness and FAWCO updates and programs. Our theme of Make a You Turn was designed to empower women to consider how we can adopt new habits for a greener planet. We welcomed 38 members and guests to the meeting from The Hague, Amsterdam, Brussels, Antwerp, Düsseldorf, Paris, Aquitaine, London, and USA.

     Region 4 group photo Nov 2022 resized

    The Friday night Mix & Mingle started with browsing our information tables about eco-friendly products, FAWCO programs, and fundraising for the upcoming Target program. Our featured speaker was Chelsea Wald, AWC member since 2016. Chelsea is a science and environmental reporter who started writing about toilets more than a decade ago. Her 2021 book Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet was recently named one of three finalists for the National Association of Science Writers Science in Society awards. Her book explains how a sanitation revolution can reduce inequalities, mitigate climate change and water scarcity, improve agriculture and optimize health.

    AWC President Celeste Brown officially started the regional meeting on Saturday with her welcoming remarks. FAWCO President Emily van Eerten announced the dates and more information about the 2023 Biennial Conference. The theme is Stronger, Better, Together

    The FAWCO Foundation is the philanthropic heart of FAWCO. Foundation President Barbara Bühling presented the 2023 Education Awards and Development Grant categories. Interesting to know the impact of FAWCO Foundation funding in Region 4:
    • 68 children of Region 4 members and/or Region 4 members themselves have been recipients of FAWCO Foundation Education Awards with a total disbursement of $196,500 USD.
    • AWC The Hague has supported our chosen charities with seven Development Grants ($26,500).
    • The Education Arts Award ($4000) for undergraduate or graduate study in the history, theory and/or practice of the performing arts, visual arts, film and media arts, architecture or graphic arts is sponsored in part by the family and friends in memory of Jessie Rodell, former President of the AWC of The Hague, and her son, Quinn Rodell

    Regional 4 Presidents Ambassador Nov 22AWC President Celeste Brown, US Ambassador Shefali Razdan Duggal and FAWCO President Emily van EertenAnne van Oorschot’s Time to Make a You Turn presentation challenged the audience to make informed choices in our lifestyles to make the world a greener place for generations to come. Her advice was that “we don’t need to totally change our lives to do things perfectly… we need billions of people doing things imperfectly to make an impact.” That means starting a green footprint with one new eco-friendly habit.

    Mary Adams moderated a panel to discuss if our food system is broken. Damien Taylor, owner and chef of Blockchain Burger, discussed how technology is revolutionizing the food system by linking consumers from farm to fork using blockchain ledgers. This means that a QR code on your menu will introduce you to local farmers and their crops and livestock that provided the food on your plate.

    Esther van Leeuwe, owner and chef of Smaak van de Waard, shared that her restaurant food waste is 1.6%. In the US, the average household wastes 31.9% of their food. She attributes it to smart buying decisions with suppliers and serving only what is needed. Her overall recommendation was to eat local and know your suppliers. 

    Beth Massa, AWC Amsterdam member and CEO of Ozarka, explained her company’s complete system that replaces single-use food containers with high-quality reusable dishes, custom-designed for takeout. Beth urged us to be a part of the zero-waste revolution. Members got a taste of the action as lunch was served in her reusable takeout containers.

    Michelle Ernst asked the group, “If everyone on earth lived the same lifestyle as you, how many earths would we need to support the entire human population?” She led a group in an online exercise using footprintcalculator.org to find out how our lifestyles impact the earth. Shockingly, the calculator estimated some members in the audience would need over seven new earths.

    FAWCO Target Program Chair Amanda Drollinger reiterated Anne’s earlier advice that we are empowered to make lifestyle changes in small, medium, and large ways. The afternoon was spent in roundtable discussions on sharing ideas and experiences on how we as individuals, FAWCO Clubs and communities can make a global difference. We created a “green sheet” based on the group input as a first example of actionable change.

    After the close of the meeting, US Ambassador Shefali Razdan Duggal welcomed members and guests to her residence in celebration of a successful Regional. The group finished the evening by making the first step forward in a food chain savvy dinner at Ethica Restaurant and Bar.

    On Sunday, Georgia Regnault led a group through Clingendael Park to learn about Dutch history and enjoy a walk in the green.



    Photos courtesy of Rozanne Van Rie and Celeste Brown


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