Lucien Bettendorff / Research Director F.R.S.-FNRS

Uliege / Biochemistry, Neurochemistry

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding.

I do not think that there are environmental concerns specific to my field.They are in common with all fields in biological, chemical and biomedical sciences, but here is clearly one point that makes me react. When I started in the field, we nearly exclusively used glassware and not plasticware, even in cell culture. I do not say that it would be desirable to come back to an all glassware laboratory practice, as it must be taken into account that glassware must be autoclaved which costs a lot of energy too. I just want to emphasize that plastics is not something that we use for so many years. When I was a young a boy, plastics were nearly absent in everyday life. It is probably difficult for the younger generation to imagine that life without plastic is possible. It just makes me sick to see that something is produced, only to be thrown away after a single use, much of it ending up in the ocean or as litter along the roads. The solution probably lies in the use of biodegradable materials.
On a personal base, I try to reduce the use of plastics in my life. I remember that when, as a boy back in the 1960’s, I went shopping with my mother. We went to the local village shops : there were hardly any supermarkets at the time. Meat and other goods were wrapped in paper and carried in a solid handbag that could serve for many years.
It seems that the main culprit in climate change is agriculture (in the broad sense, including deforestation). Hence I think there are some things everybody can do : buy local (no reason to by wine from Australia or beef from Brazil), avoid products containing palm oil and processed food in general (this also for your own health), privilege organic food and eat less meat.
I like to travel and so I rely on airplanes. I try to compensate for my CO2 production. I think that governments must implement a tax on kerosene, which is presently not the case which is inacceptable.
I also drive a plug-in hybrid car. But this is only acceptable when the electricity is produced on a renewable base. This again is essentially the responsibility of the government. So we must continue to make pressure on the government, for instance by encouraging the students in there Thursday manifestations.

Originally posted 2018-05-08 22:44:35.