Frederik De Laender / Professor

University of Namur / Ecology

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

I am worried about the way mankind interacts with its natural environment. I purposely refer to ‘its environment’ because environmental changes will often affect all biological entities, not only animals and plants, but also humans.
One, admittedly anecdotic, example is the use of pesticides by households just because we want green lawns with no sign of clover. We cannot continue on this path anymore and need to change our attitude towards our environment.
I am far from perfect and I probably could improve my impact on our natural (biological and abiotic) resources, but here are some examples of how I try to be as environment-friendly as possible:
1/MY BIKE: I have a 10km commute to the train station and always use my bike.
2/NO PESTICIDES: We never use them in our garden. Yes we have clover. But, hey, that’s nature.
3/NO FOOD WASTING: We extremely rarely throw away food. I estimate 1kg per year – really. Just weigh what you cook, put leftovers in the fridge, and plan your menu ahead so you’re sure to eat everything. Yes, on some rare occasion we might eat a funky combination. We are still alive.
One of the main difficulties is avoiding PLASTIC WASTE: It is very difficult to buy stuff that is not covered in plastic.
KEY CHANGES NEEDED:
1/A different approach to MOBILITY, focusing on networks of (automatic) electric cars and fast, reliable trains. This requires investments, but they will increase our quality of life a lot (especially for those stuck in traffic jams daily!)
2/Related: A different way to WORK: Facilitate working from home and teleconferencing as much as possible. Again, this will critically enhance work-life balance.
3/Equal TAXES for all and a shift from taxes on labour towards taxes on capital and polluters.
4/A shift towards zero-CO2 ENERGY production. There is a lot of debate about how to do this. Please, ask scientific experts for their opinion, not lobbyists. And certainly not politicians as they are not trained for this.
5/Its needs to be more expensive to FLY. Flying to Barcelona for the weekend at 30 euros is immoral.
6/Make life of BIKERS easier: Where I live (Merelbeke) we don’t have a decent bicycle lane in the main street. During the last roadworks they still gave priority to space for parked cars!

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