My stepfather used to be a hippie. When I told him about our Burning Man intinerary and how so many of my friends are involved in green initiatives like Strawberry Earth, Magneet- and Restival and Urban Greeners, he stroked his now beardless chin and grinned. Yes, beards and flowers must have been making something of a comeback. Idealist, educated young people today are increasingly turning their studied knowledge to practice and are building, creating and visualizing concepts that try to make the most of their surroundings and leave no trace.
Cafe de Ceuvel recently opened in Amsterdam-Noord (which is where innovation is still allowed room to breathe) and embodies the urban green movement to the core. Situated on a former polluted brownfield, the cafe is the social hub of one of Europe’s best innovative and sustainable architectural ideas of late, where docked former houseboats and a winding bamboo walkway have been built to create a completely self-sustaining eco-friendly workspace village of sorts.
Every part of Cafe de Ceuvel was built from used materials. They even transform toilet waste into plant fertilizer. Great determination from a team of uber-happy friends whose enthusiasm is infectious, and who managed to get their project funded through crowdfunding.
Sure, de Ceuvel is yet to survive their first cold winter, but the place looks awesome, the staff is insanely happy, the veggie food is tasty and they have rhubarb soda and character to spare. Could we be heading into our own Summer of Love? I sure hope so.