University of Liège – Laboratory of Oceanology – FOCUS /Marine ecology
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As a marine research scientist, I have had the opportunity to study a variety of threats to marine biodiversity. For over ten years, I have monitored a multitude of seagrass meadows and coral reefs, and have quantified the potential effects of global warming, water pollution and overfishing on marine biodiversity. It is vital that biodiversity threats are reduced so that marine ecosystems and global economies remain healthy and balanced for current and future generations.
Although there are some climate and environmental policies that are being designed and implemented, every citizen on this fragile planet can act to reduce their impact on ecosystems. Once I realised this, I reflected on my habits and their consequences and decided to reduce my impact in several ways. I now purchase the majority of food from a market that encourages shorter distribution channels and sells organic products in bulk. I avoid buying packaged products and I use reusable bags. This helps reduce global warming, prevent unnecessary waste and reduce the risk of water pollution. Additionally, I carry a refillable water bottle and have reduced my fish and meat consumption to approximately one piece every two weeks – I always avoid consuming overexploited fish species and beef – and I do not miss it at all. Even though my career requires me to fly to conferences and field missions a few times each year, I always choose to walk to work and use public transportation when I am not traveling, thereby reducing CO2 emissions. By replacing my old habits with these new, small actions that were easily integrated into my daily life, I believe that I am helping to preserve Earth’s ecosystems.
Everyone can play an important role and improve the future state of our planet. The choices and actions we make today will greatly affect our children and their future quality of life. Key changes are also needed at the societal and political levels. I believe that a broad civic political engagement is essential. Further, governments must act quickly to change economic models (many alternatives exist), which will help to guarantee a more sustainable society. When species and ecosystems will be respected, long-term habitability on the planet will be ensured.