INRA PACA France / Ecology
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My main concern is the difficulty I encounter in transmitting around me (outside the university circle) the alarming observation that the planet Earth is currently facing a major biodiversity crisis due to the interactive, cumulative and global effects of multiple man-made changes and activities, such as global warming, pollutions, habitat fragmentation and destruction, overpopulation and overexploitation of resources or biological invasions.
I am talking more and more about recent scientific discoveries concerning the degradations that human activities generate on our environment (often relayed by the media). This serves as a starter to bring the discussion to all the actions that can be put in place at the individual level. For example, I try to encourage everyone to change their mode of travel, such as favoring cycling for short trips (around 5km) or switching to an electric bike for longer distances of daily commutes, to change the way they eat (local, less meat, organic…) or consume in general (repairing the broken objects, privileging the second hand, avoiding supermarkets, privileging holidays without taking a plane…), etc…
The main difficulty I encounter at the societal level is my feeling of helplessness in the face of the observation that only a minority of the world’s population feels concerned, for two reasons: the vast majority simply try to survive, and a very small minority to do huge profits. I have only a weak (illusory?) power of action on political decisions, individualism and the unrestrained race forward of our societies (mass production, planned obsolescence, working more to earn more money…). I also find it difficult from an individual point of view to avoid certain obligations that increase my ecological footprint, such as business trips by plane abroad.
We need responsible communication that takes into account public perception, which is crucial in science in general, and especially in the field of ecology given the current crisis. Communication between scientists, managers, policy makers and the public must be promoted by multiplying the interfaces between science and society in order to engage citizens and promote green behavior and sustainable development. For example, participatory science and environmental education from an early age are good ways to raise awareness. The media also have a very important place in the knowledge diffused to the general public; their relays of the biodiversity crisis or global changes are positive in my opinion as to the general awareness of the problem.