Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences / Oceanographer, ecosystem modelling
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As an oceanographer, my main concern is the adverse impact of overfishing, microplastics, habitat degradation, sea water temperature rise, acidification, eutrophication, chemicals pollutants… on marine ecosystem’s services and biodiversity. More broadly, I am concerned by the loss of biodiversity (insects…), the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, waste (food, energy…), junk food and air pollution.
Here are some actions, that I have implemented in my daily life to reduce my ecological footprint and contribute to improve sustainability for the next generations.
• We are living in a bioclimatic house (sun heating thanks to a south orientation and big windows, heat pump, wood stove, rainwater harvesting, green roof). Our electricity comes from a citizen green energy provider and we are currently installing photovoltaic panels to cover our needs in electricity.• In the garden, we offer space for biodiversity (natural pond, stone walls, hedgerows, flowery meadow. Our vegetable garden and orchard provide us with most of the vegetables, herbs and fruits that we need. The surplus is ether offered to family and friends or processed (juices, canned food, jams, drying…). The garden is totally organic; it is fertilised with our own compost, home-made manure and natural fertilizers.• We eat organic food, from season and locally produced as much as possible (~80%). We eat meat 3-4 times a week, in small portion and from respectful farming. We cook from raw products and use almost never transformed products.
• I make some of the household and cosmetic products from raw and natural ingredients. For shopping I am using reusable bags, own containers.
• I am using an alternative search engine (Lilo, https://www.lilo.org) which allow to support nice projects.
• I support associations or initiatives that I find in accordance with my convictions (ex. Nature et progress, Natagora and through Growth funding).
I am convinced that all individual actions matter and are needed but we also need strong political commitments to improve the situation. At the local/Belgium level, we need more citizen involvement in governance and, for instance, more support for thermic renovation of buildings, for public transport, bike paths, and to cease support for company cars. At the EU level, we urgently need more restrictive laws against overpacking/plastic packaging, food waste, harmful cosmetics, chemical fertilizers/pesticides/herbicides use, and strong support for reconversion to organic farming and for renewable energy development. The use of old varieties of seeds should be allowed.