Norwegian Institute for Nature Research / Ecology
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- As an ecologist, main concern is the impact of human activities on ecosystems. In particular, the piecemeal development of infrastructure is fragmenting habitat and degrading them at incredible speed worldwide.
- In my private life, I try to fly as little as possible, try to rely on local, ecological food, while minimizing meat consumption (we grow some vegetables, and rely on fishing and hunting as much as possible), try to re-use and re-cycle everything that can be recycled, use bike as much as possible etc. From a professional side, I work to help identifying areas to be prioritized for conservation, green corridors, and to help making human activities and land development less impacting on wildlife and ecosystems. In my workplace, I try to promote lowering our footprint (e.g. using video conference rather than flying, recycling).
- The difficulties I encounter are many, unfortunately. First and foremost, my own time constraints – for example, I could take a 2500 km train to visit my parents abroad.. but I fly, instead. Also, it would be fantastic to produce all the food I need myself, but this takes time, and with a full time job and a daughter time often becomes a major constraint. In my workplace, I often encounter resistance from the leadership, when we bring forward suggestions to decrease our footprint. It is also difficult to cut on flights, as I am a researcher and have international collaborations.
- Society is made by us – so all of us need to change. Children should be trained to be aware of environmental issues – they will be the generation in power in the near future, and therefore need to be educated to love and respect for nature from an early stage. Hence, the school system needs a drastic change, and new courses focusing on our environment need to be introduced as a new standard, worldwide. Consumeristic behavior should no longer be encouraged, especially when addressed to children. For example, ads should be allowed only if they follow some environmental standards. Christmas itself, for example, should change its present face, and should be actively transformed from the ultimate expression of consumerism to the ultimate expression of love and respect – for both all living being and our planet. Finally, politicians, decision makers and land managers should rely on tight collaborations with ecologists and climatologists. Decisions that affect our planet can no longer be made ignoring science and ecology