ecostory 56/2006
"A Dutch Scene"
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Masters Thesis: Adult Environmental Motivation
9.21 Stage sketch: 'A Dutch Scene'

A Dutch Scene

(MC = Master of ceremony, Q = Queen, S = scientist)
MC:In a few moments we will catch a glimpse of life in Holland in 1991.
Just to bring you back into the picture: The Netherlands is the small country that keeps England and Germany apart. It's about eight times smaller than New Zealand. Yet its population is five times larger. So you can imagine that it's pretty crowded down under there, on the other side of the globe. You want a comparison?
Suppose our country would have the same population density, then there should be 120 million people living in New Zealand. Our 3 million people make good for a scarce 13 per square kilometer. In Holland they are squeezed together with over 450 people per square kilometer.
Therefore, one of the biggest problems in Holland is pollution.
And that's what the next scene is all about.
S:One of the biggest problems in Holland is the greenies. Those Greenpeace freaks who think they know it better than a serious scientist.
I am Archibald Knowsitall. I'm a scientist of the Dutch National Institute of Technology. I'm waiting for our Queen. She might come on her bicycle. You know, it's a Royal Dutch/Shell tradition to pushbike from place to place and collect the dividends. In Holland not only the Queen rides a bicycle, but everyone does. Some people even say that the Dutch are born with a bicycle in between their legs. Our previous Queen, Juliana, used a traditional black bike, but Queen Beatrix now has a stable full of bikes in many different colours. She should arrive any moment now.
["ringg, ringg, ringg" The Queen arrives by bicycle, past the audience, coming from the rear of the hall, waving to audience.]
S:Ah! There she comes!
S:Good morning, your Majesty! How do you do?
Q:Good morning, Mr. Knowsitall. How do you do?
S:May I help you parking your bicycle, your Majesty?
Q:Yes, thank you very much, Mr. Knowsitall.
S:Is it alright here, your Majesty?
Q:Yes, Mr. Knowsitall, that's fine.
S:I'm so happy you have arrived, your Majesty. I hope it hasn't been too much of a strain, after your recovery from your broken leg?
Q:Thank you, Mr. Knowsitall, it went fine. After all bicycling is less dangerous than skiing.
S:Certainly, your Majesty. I see that you have a red bicycle today, your Majesty?
Q:Yes, I had to change the colour. Black is alright, but boring. Even as a Queen one has to adapt to modern times. Well, Mr. Knowsitall, I've understood that I'm here to show your latest development to my people. What is it exactly?
S:Your Majesty. This new technology will solve three of our country's major problems at the same time:
- first, how to get sufficient drinking water,
- second, how to use our pig manure,
- and last but not least, how to silence the greenies.
Q:Interesting, highly interesting. How does it work, Mr. Knowsitall?
S:Your Majesty, may I invite you to come this way so that we may show you the details?
S:Your Majesty, here we have the pigs that relieve themselves from their manure. We take the manure, put it in the purifier over here, and down there the water comes out. Extremely simple.
[S Takes the pig manure, puts in in the bucket and carries it to the purifying equipment.]
Q:Uuhh!!! ..... now I see what you mean. This doesn't appeal to me at all. I will go. Goodbye Mr. Knowsitall.
[The queen tries to leave with her bike, but the scientist holds her back by pulling the bicycle carrier.]
S:But, your Majesty, may I please park your bike again? The water is absolutely safe. We have tried it out on mice and rats, and even on environmentalists. Your Majesty, may I please invite you to drink the first of this quality water in front of the camera's, so that the people of our country can yet again see your inspiring example?
Q:No, Mr. Knowsitall, this is NOT an inspiring example! You're implying that it's O.K. to produce so much pig manure. And that it can be simply recycled into drinking water. I disagree! This is NOT the solution for the problems of our country. [Thoughtful] Instead of repairing the damage we should prevent the problem in the first place.
S:But, your Majesty, this is the solution for both the drinking water and the manure problems of our country.
Q:Wouldn't it be better, Mr. Knowsitall, if we produced less pigs and therefore have less manure? We could change our eating habits and cut down on meat.
Do you realise, Mr. Knowsitall, that it takes 10 kilo of grain to produce one kilo of meat? Grain that could be used to feed a starving nation? Grain that could be grown biodynamically to make delicious bread that I would really like to eat. We would then have nice food and clean water without this disgusting repair business.
S:But your Majesty! We have prepared everything. Please try this glass of delicious pure water. You will like it!
[The scientist tries to hand over the glass of water to the Queen. The Queen refuses to take it.]
Q:Do you call yourself a scientist? Don't you see that this is not the solution our country needs? No, Mr. Knowsitall, I will come back when you offer a real solution, then I will cooperate. Get rid of this factory farming method. That's what we have to do. Go green! I am going!
[The Queen steps on her bike and rides away.]
S:Goodbye, your Majesty.
Q:Good-bye!, Mr. Knowsitall.
S:[soft] Stupid woman!
[Frustrated, the scientist takes a sip himself. He pulls a dirty face and spits it out.]
MC:And, dear audience, please DO NOT think this is a joke!
The scene we have just seen actually pictured part of the environmental situation in Holland. Pigs are often factory-farmed, which is cruelty to animals in itself. Also here in New Zealand 90 percent of the pigs are factory-farmed. For various reasons this manure can not easily be used as fertiliser on the land: The amounts are so vast that it gets through the top soil and pollutes the ground water. Because of the special food, drugs, and food supplements, the chemical composition is very different from natural manure. But, though recycling is the fashion, it is not the solution. In March of this year Queen Beatrix actually followed the proposal of the scientist. Today our Dutch friends modified one tiny detail. They made the Queen go green.
Rachel Lefeber & Helmut Lubbers, 1991. Performers: MC = Master of ceremony - Robert Engelsman, Anthony Smith Q = Queen - Rachel Lefeber S = scientist - Helmut Lubbers Animal welfare adviser: - Hans Kriek Video camera: - Iain Waugh First performance on the International Night of the International Students Club, Hamilton, 21.9.91. Video-taped at the performance after the dinner of the "Hollands Festijn '91", Hamilton, 26.10.91.
de omnibus dubitandum est * everything may be doubted * me wero ki ngo(a,-) meo katoa * challenge everything
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