Sébastien Timmermans / PhD Student

Université catholique de Louvain / Electromechanical Engineer

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As an engineer in the field of mechatronics (Robotics), the devices that we design use non-recyclable materials, contribute to automation of the society and is mainly based on electricity consumption.
The ethical aspects about the social modification that the automation implies, is a big concern. However, few reflexions about ecological aspects is (yet) made.
How to build such devices to last more than a few years? How to use recyclable components? How to limit the power consumption and the production energy? These are great engineering challenges.
Personally, I try to go zero-waste, limit my displacements by car or plane and buy local and bio. These are general but really concrete actions that are easy to implement in Belgium.
I’m eating meat 2 or 3 times a week, and only local meat. We have one car for two, that we use only the weekend.
Two mains points are more difficult to improve : traveling and home heating. First, as for many people, I would like to travel and enjoy the magnificent possibilities that we nowadays have to discover other countries.
However, taking a plane costs a lot for the planet. The other ways of traveling are not competitive nor adapted to the society way of taking holidays.
Secondly, as I am not the owner of the place where I live, one of the biggest parts of our ecological footprint comes from the house heating, because of the buildings lack of isolation.
For the key changes in the society, I see four main aspects :

  • Consume locally and durable, which is better for the environment and for the people.
  • Try to go zero-waste, limit the usage of plastics to avoid pollution and biodiversity degradation.
  • Isolate your housing, to reduce the fossil energy consumption. FInancial help from the government could help to get people to take action.
  • Rethink our mobility, by using less the cars and plane. Others solution should be improved.

The main idea behind an ecological change in our society is this : we need to reduce our energy consumption in every aspects of our life. The more ecological waste is the one that has not been produced.