Annick Wilmotte / Chercheuse Qualifiée FRS-FNRS

Université de Liège / Microbial ecology and taxonomy

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Concerns: I work mainly on the microbial diversity in Polar Regions. It is obvious that climate change and human influence have an important impact on the function of ecosystems, the biodiversity of animals and plants and the risk of invasion by non native species. In the Arctic, human populations are very affected in their lifestyle and culture. This is worsened by pollutions by heavy metals, hydrocarbons, plastics, but also fisheries, tourism, exploitation of mineral ressources (in the North). With climate warming, there will be more toxic cyanobacterial blooms in lakes. As a biologist, I understand the risks outlined by the IPCC report.
Changes implemented: I have stopped using airplane trips for holidays, and fly only for work. I went by train to congresses in Vienna and Davos in 2018. During scientific meetings, I always propose to integrate some videoconferences to get used to this form of communication. At home, I have installed solar panels and used natural material for isolation and clay. I have replaced my electricity provider by a cooperative selling green energy and promoted by Greenpeace (Cociter). I am a member of a GAC (Groupe d’Achat Commun) to eat more locally produced food and I buy the rest in a organic shop, trying to minimize wastes. I am also member of the association Nature et Progrès et we organise meetings on subjects like the transition, zero waste, etc… I would like to replace my car by a electric bicycle to come to work.
Difficulties: For mobility, there is no bicycle path between my home and the campus, and not sufficient train frequency during week-ends. Key changes that are wishable:- Shift from considering Earth ressources as infinitely exploitable and source of profit for private companies without consideration of ecosystem impacts (including human)- More funding for research into renewable energy and materials, socio-economic acceptance of the transition- Support better local agricultural production so that farmers and vegetable and fruit producers can have a decent income. Support the agroecology practices, agroforestry and approaches that respect the life of the soil,

  • Counteract publicity adds and quantify the carbon costs of all our activities.
  • Integrate in schools the understanding of ecological relations, circular economy, integration of humans into Nature…
  • Pay attention to social justice and solidarity, as this is the key to the acceptance of changes, and give people the tools to assure their transition and future in a changing world.