Creative and Arts-based Students Initiatives in the ELS Empowerment for Sustainability course

April 15, 2021

In the course Empowerment for Sustainability (ELS21806) students not only dive conceptually into the topic of empowerment for sustainability. Students also create an initiative of own choosing through which they address, in a creative and often artistic manner, ecological, social and existential challenges they care about. In this space a few examples of those initiatives are shared. The course is taught by Valentina Tassone, Martijn Duineveld, and other guest speakers.

Initiative by student Elettra Giampaoletti

Elettra engaged into the creation of a video: Re-member Eva. Through this artistic expression she wishes to stimulate an empathetic bond between people and nature. In the video, current human society is identified with the metaphor of the astronauts as a glorification of modern rationality. Once they land back on earth, the astronauts feel out of place, alone and lost. Eva (nature on earth) has a severe voice and she will speak to them to make them acknowledge the difficult times we live in. But Eva is a mother and as such her voice is caring and comforting too. The astronauts will take a step back, reconsider their actions and finally are able to re-connect to their mother.

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Initiative by student Annika Suichies

Annika has created a mini mental health magazine "Ahead" for other fellow students. Ahead is an attempt to generate awareness and to respond to the mental distress some people might feel in relation to the future. A future in which climate change is expected to have a large impact on the earth and human health. Through this magazine Annika shares her personal story, introduces the concept of existential anxiety, and provides inspiration. Moreover, tips provided by professionals and students on how to deal with the topic are included.


Initiative by student Tessa Stroeken

Tessa has created a song, “There is fire”, representing a call for action. Through her song and related video, Tessa would like to express her concern for the ongoing socio-ecological degradation. The first sentence: “there is fire in the sea”, is an analogy for the climate crisis that is almost too big to comprehend and to consider possible, like a fire in the sea as something not possible or hard to imagine. After this, the song sketches other “fires” in the world that the human society should deal with. On the other hand, Tessa is also providing a message of hope and inviting towards communication and action for more regenerative futures.

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View lyrics

There is fire

In the sea

Though you would think

How could that be


There is fire


Instead of flowers growing

Flames are mowing the trees


Save the future

You would say

But the government won’t

Think of it that way


There are people

That won’t survive

When the sea is rising

Far above their height


There are children

In this world

Who fear their dreams

Won’t be fulfilled


Save the future

You would say

But only a wish

won’t get us all that way


There is fear

Hanging in the air

Climate anxiety

Is the new fair


A good solution

Won’t be found

With just a little bit of

debating around


Save the future

You would think

Lets get all together

And find the missing link


We are hoping

To survive

So get together

We just have to thrive


A bit of fighting

That will do

So scream it out

You know what to do


Save the future

You would say

Time is up

Just listen what we say