Nathan Terseleer / Research associate

RBINS – OD Nature / Oceanography

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding.

Studying the oceans provides an impressive view of the severity and ubiquity of the impact of human activities on natural systems (degraded seafloor, climate change, pollutions, biodiversity degradation, disappearing habitats, lacking oxygen, …). So many tragedies occur – not only at the expense of natural systems, but also of our well-being, as essential ecosystem functions for human societies are threatened. Just as on land, industrial activities, which come with large-scale deleterious consequences for the systems, are mainly responsible. This calls for radical changes and constraints, which highlights another observation: the political will is lagging far behind and the private sector is preventing necessary adaptations to be adopted for the benefit of all.
Beyond the structural changes that have to be made at the politico-economical levels, I am happy to implement changes in our daily lives at the scale of our little family, because they are very satisfactory and exciting:
• we consume mostly from a local, organic store: tastier, cheaper, healthier, faster, no waste, and it sustains local economic actors;
• we grow vegetables, fruits and herbs in our garden, which is left quite natural and wild (more beauty, more biodiversity, more fun, less work);
• we have co-founded a collective farming project, with low-energy houses, to implement ecological agriculture in a healthy and beautiful environment (exciting life project!);
• we abandoned our tv – we spend time reading and talking together instead of being said what to buy or think;
• we vote and support a political party that focuses on the quality of our environment and of our lives and on the well-being of the majority, rather than on the economic prosperity of a few people…;
• we buy second hand;
• we discuss, exchange and debate a lot, and we discover new ideas;
• … and we are happy doing so. This brings a feeling of freedom.
When implementing responsible changes, the biggest difficulty comes from the current system which makes it more difficult for alternatives to emerge (e.g., existing rules at the benefit of established actors, artificially low prices, costs of externalities supported by the society, unfair subsidies and tax system…).
Identified key changes: for society, that people gather and collectively implement changes, as this is a source of hope and happiness; at the political level, that politicians listen to scientists (the real ones, not the technoscientists) and the people, rather than to the private interests.