Belgian Biodiversity Platform / Biodiversity & nature conservation; science-policy and science-society interfacing; research programming; horizon scanning; science communication and outreach; stakeholder engagement; conservation science
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- Main Concerns: Nowadays, a lot of attention goes to climate change adaption and mitigation. This is a good thing, of course, but far too often the interlinkages between climate change and biodiversity are forgotten (i.e. climate change impacts on biodiversity, and biodiversity also plays a role for climate change adaptation and mitigation). Biodiversity loss should receive equal attention on the policy agenda, and its role to achieve ALL of the sustainable development goals should be widely recognized. Scientists, policymakers and practitioners still suffer from ‘silo-thinking’, whereas biodiversity should be at the heart of the development mainstream.
- Daily contributions: Through my daily activities, I try to do my share in reducing my ecological footprint: I am vegetarian since I was 10 years old, and now vegan since 5 years. I strongly belief that plant-based diets can make a big difference! My husband (also biologist) and myself have also made a very important choice of not having children, as we believe overpopulation is at the very basis of all the problems, incl overconsumption. Finally, we try to aim for zero waste in our daily lives, buy mainly biologically & locally produced food and try to reduce use of electricity, water & car.
- Difficulties encountered: Given that both myself and my husband have demanding jobs, it is not always possible to go to local markets where we can buy locally produced food that is not packed in plastic. Also, we need to travel quite a lot for the job which means taking planes. We try to offset using existing carbon compensation schemes, but in essence, we just travel too much. We also find it hard to give up on our yearly travel/holidays, often to a far destination
- Key changes needed: Behavioural change is needed at society level, mainly with regard to family planning, diet and consumption pattern. At political level, more investment is needed in incentives for people/companies to make the change and in green technologies. Harmful subsidies should be phased out (especially in the agricultural sector)