Bees are one of her great hobbies. So is it not strange that our conversation regarding her engagement with Bee Collective constantly returns to comparisons with them. ‘A Queen Bee assembles thousands of workers around herself and with them and scouting bees begins the search for a new home.’ That is what Alide Roerink is going to do for Bee Collective: build a swarm of scouts and workers who together will look for a new home to house a problem and solve it. ‘We must discover those values and principles that are valid for everyone, wherever you live and however you live. Only thus will you make the turn towards a sustainable, just and peaceful world.’
Alide Roerink is a networker down to the core. When you see her Linkedin profile, a long list of organisations appears in which she performs a network role. At the moment she is network coordinator at
Earth Charter Nederland and a member of the Earth Charter International Council. ‘When I was asked by Margreet (initiator of the Bee Collective, PK) whether I was willing to collaborate the Bee Collective, I immediately saw the obvious role suited for myself: that of Queen Bee. Together witth some 10,000 honey bees – those are the workers – she begins the quest for a new shelter. In the effort they exploit the collective intelligence. On the basis of information that the scouting bees pass on in a sort of dance, de swarm decides where it will ‘create a home’. That is not just a decision of those bees, it is a decision about life or death. That is also how I see the urgency of the wicked problems of our age. I know very many people and I can bring them together so we will jointly solve those wicked problems. Together we know more than everyone on their own. Collective intelligence leads to more wisdom, also with people.’
Not only can she involve people from her global network, she also positively influences the quality of the mutual relations and of the process as a whole. ‘Of course I know a lot of experts, and they too must be part of the project. But we also must make those directly affected participants in the bee swarm. That means that if we tackle a wicked problem in education, students too must be involved.’ Or to put it formally: the team that works on a wicked problem aims for diversity within the collective as such.
Roerink already knows which wicked problems she wants to table herself. Those relating to the maintenance of biodiversity and cultural diversity: ‘We must celebrate diversity because it is of essential importance for our life world. As things are going now, we are losing it.’ Also the well-being of future generation: ‘How do we secure well-being across the different generations? If you want to come up with something there you must first define what well-being is. If you ask people what is important to them, they come up with entirely different values than economic growth. Those should be the indicators for that well-being.’
There the essence of Bee Collective touches the core of Earth Charter. For in both cases it concerns shared values and principles needed for the turn towards a sustainable, just and peaceful world. As well as the collective effort to make that world more beautiful.
Roerink: ‘Human development in the first place is about being more and not having more. If you look at our global society with all those concerned citizens, than we have the chance to build a more democratic and more human world. Everything is connected: ecological, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges are linked with each other, and together we can think about finding inclusive solutions. Bee Collective can play a role in that. By making real connections and honestly and collectively engage in the quest for solutions.’