Afgelopen woensdag stond er in De Stentor een artikel over duurzaamheidsprestaties. Deventer staat op plek 331 in de Gemeentelijke DuurzaamheidsIndex. En bungelt daarmee onderaan de ranglijst met in totaal 408 gemeenten. Een paar dagen later whatsappte collega-fractielid Tjeerd van der Meulen mij een artikel, waarin de Lochemse wethouder Thijs de la Court (GroenLinks) forse kritiek uit op de Index. De punten waar de Index op toetst (o.a. onderwijs, sport, burgerparticipatie en hernieuwbare energie) zouden te grofmazig en willekeurig zijn.

Volgens mij is dit de tragiek van duurzaamheid. Niemand weet precies wat het is, en iedere politieke partij houdt er zijn eigen definitie op na. Want, is het duurzaam dat een vrouw met een tas zo groot als een hutkoffer een minuut moet nadenken over de zojuist door mij gestelde vraag of ze een plastic tasje wil, uiteindelijk zuchtend, steunend en haast opofferingsgezind bevestigend reageert? Misschien is het duurzaam dat je een toiletpapier in vier gelijke delen knipt, met één deel je billen afveegt en je zodoende langer met een rol doet? Of is het duurzaam om met een elektrische auto rond te rijden, of bewijs je dan dat je behoort tot de ‘happy few’ die zich dat via een leaseconstructie kunnen permitteren? Mijn antwoord: Zou kunnen.

Wat we wel weten, zijn de feiten. Feit is dat economische groei niet leidt tot een gelukkiger en volmaakter leven. Feit is dat we verslaafd zijn aan Russisch aardgas, dat land waar homorechten een lachertje zijn. Feit is dat de werkloosheid hoger is dan ooit. Feit is dat steeds meer mensen in armoede leven. Al deze feiten wrijven ons één ding onder de neus: We zijn er nog lang niet!

De politiek moet zich niet blind staren op definities en wat meten we wel en wat meten we niet, maar moet het lef hebben duidelijke keuzes te maken, doelstellingen daadwerkelijk na te streven en daar de bijbehorende middelen voor vrij te maken. Is het duurzaam om mensen in de bijstand verplicht vrijwilligerswerk te laten doen met een baan als het uiteindelijke doel? Ik denk van niet, want armoede en werkloosheid zijn gevolgen van een structurele oorzaak. De duurzame weg zou dus het opsporen en oplossen van de structurele oorzaken zijn. Door symboolpolitiek worden mensen niet aan een baan geholpen! De politiek wil per se laten zien dat zij mensen niet pampert, en daarom moeten mensen in de bijstand daar de tol voor betalen. In plaats van iemand in de bijstand te belonen voor het feit dat hij/zij vol overgave de honden in de buurt uitlaat, worden mensen in de bijstand die geen vrijwilligerswerk doen bestraft door middel van inperking van de uitkering. Armoede maakt het vinden van een baan alleen maar moeilijker, dus heel duurzaam kunnen we deze manier dan niet noemen, lijkt me! Tenzij een vicieuze cirkel de duurzame doelstelling is …

Duurzaamheid proberen vast te leggen in een index is leuk, maar gaat compleet voorbij aan de echte keuzes waar we voor staan. Hebben we het lef om mensen daadwerkelijk de verantwoordelijkheid te geven over hun eigen leven, of willen we een VVD-samenleving vol wantrouwen en wraakgevoelens? GroenLinks kiest voor dat eerste! Blijven we accepteren dat praktisch alle bomen in Deventer gekapt mogen worden zonder vergunning, of gaan we voor een stad vol natuur, veel diersoorten en stadslandbouw? Laten we gaan voor dat tweede! Kiezen we voor professionele zorg, of wilt u voortaan dat de buurman van uw moeder haar voortaan moet wassen? Voor GroenLinks geen moeilijke keuze!

We kunnen het ons niet permitteren om ons te verliezen in een wedstrijdje ‘duurzaam ver plassen’, waarbij een goed cijfer in een index ons doel is. Het gaat om mensen, niet om cijfers!

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