Aurélien Kaiser / PhD Student

ELIB / Ecology

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As a young biologist interested in ecology and evolution, I am especially concerned about current rates of climate change and anthropogenic changes. The rise of temperature, increased climate variability and habitat loss cause species extinctions locally and disrupts ecosystem functioning. This will have direct and indirect consequences for human populations as well.
I try to reduce my ecological footprint by preferentially buying food produced locally, reducing unnecessary car travels whenever possible and reducing house heating for example. Together with local NGOs, I am also involved in nature conservation through biodiversity monitoring schemes and nature guidance.
However, these actions are sometimes difficult to implement in my everyday life. In many cases, locally produced food remains more expensive than industrially produced food. In rural areas, the public transport network is not developed enough to allow people to use them to go to work or to grocery stores for instance. Similarly, bike routes or shared car projects are almost totally absent in these regions. I also feel like a large proportion of the population still considers ecological problem as ‘rich people problems’, especially for those that struggle financially.
Many people in Europe still believe that global change caused by human activities will not affect their daily life, but they do not think about indirect consequences such as increased immigration from least developed countries that are expected to be more impacted by global ecological issues. As such, we should raise global awareness about these problems. Politics should also provide more incentives for green alternatives, so as to stimulate investments and create a greener economy. Those incentives should target the poorest who sometimes would like to get involved in green projects, but just cannot afford it. At the same time, more pressure from governments should be put on companies that are responsible for massive greenhouse emissions, are major contributors to climate change and produce large amount of negative externalities.

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