Olaf Schuling

(February 26, 1932 – December 19, 2021)

Roelof Dirk Schuiling (Olaf) passed away last Thursday at the age of 89. Until a very old age he devoted himself to saving the world with stones. He believed that if we all do our part, we can prevent a lot of misery. The founders of greenSand have adopted his ideas and have been marketing products from the CO2-scavenging mineral since 2011.

Eddy Wijnker, the current director of greenSand, has learned everything he knows about Olivine from this exceptional professor: Because I didn't study myself, I looked up to the professor, who struck me as a real, distinguished professor. The distance I felt at first vanished when I got to know him and Olaf said, "You're a fast learner."

“The fact that he did not feel distant from the people he spoke to was typical of Olaf, who everyone called by his first name instead of Professor Schuiling,” says geologist Pol Knops, who takes over from Olaf in terms of scientific knowledge about Olivine. According to Pol, Olaf was not the archetype of a study room scholar. He remembers the first meeting with Olaf, sometime in 1993:

Someone came in with a bucket of pig manure and a bucket of jarosite (for the non-geologists: looks like manure, but doesn't smell - ed.). He had thought that the waste stream (the jarosite) from a factory could react with the pig manure. So that HAD to be tested. And it worked. “Of course” he said.

Pieter der Weduwen remembers how excited he got when he read in 2017 about the proposals that Olaf had submitted for Richard Branson's “Virgin Earth Challenge” to remove 1 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. “I found Olaf's proposals so fascinating that I contacted him. This wonderful and inspiring man ensured that I founded greenSand together with Eddy a year later.”

Olaf was a man who spoke to everyone and everyone to him. It is striking how many people say "I met him once at a conference. I don't remember anything about the conference. But he made a huge impression on me".

Not only the man himself made an impression. Many people who visited Olaf at Utrecht University remember his room. Eddy says about this: it was full of sand and stones. Pol indicates: It was a mess. And no, he couldn't find his things himself either. In an annual election of the most cluttered rooms in the University, he came to his surprise (or rather indignation) "only" third.

greenSand will continue to work together with nature to save the Earth. Because as he himself said: “Take a look at nature before you whine too much. We can control the CO2 problem if we use minerals that weather.”

Olaf, thank you!

The green Sand team

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