UCLouvain – VUB – BURN / Mechanical Engineer – specialisation in Energy
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My main concern in my field of expertise is that a shift in the way we live and consume energy is needed to have a sustainable society. As an example, lets talk about cars. Media give too much weight/importance to electric cars (that are in fact as environmentally impactful as conventional cars) whereas the real issue is the overly massive use we make of cars! We use an object of more than 1 ton and a half to transport 1 or 2 people in average! Energetically speaking, it is a shame. The problem is not the type of car, but the car itself.
What I implement on my daily life concerns a broader field than my research activities. Here is a list of them, starting with the most impactful towards the least impactful:
- Insulation: house/flat heating being a major contributor to one person’s CO2 footprint, my wife and me decided to fully insulated (more than required) our house while refurbishing it: roof (25cm), walls (15-20 cm) and floors (10cm), with on top of that heat pumps instead of fossil fuel burners.- I stopped buying red meat and reduced my meat consumption. If I eat meat, it is only porc or chicken.- I don’t own a car, I go everyday to work with public transport and use my bike as much as I can, especially for small trips.- I don’t buy goods or essentials that are wrapped in plastic if there are alternatives, and if no alternative I pick the one which uses the least plastic.- I don’t use cloud storage.- I clear my mail bin.- I try to reduce my internet consumption.- I am growing a maximum of pastoral/wild bushes on my field.- I will soon start a vegetable garden with my wife and start avoiding industrial/transformed food.
For me the most difficult is to completely avoid plastics when buying goods and completely stop using the car. Not enough alternatives are proposed.
For me individual actions are as important than political ones. Key changes are therefore public awareness (or even more important: public understanding of the scale/order of magnitude of the situation we are in) and going out of the growth/consumerism mindset. According to IEA studies, actual political agreements (COP24, etc.) are absolutely not sufficient to meet the maximum 2°C increase in global earth surface temperature.