Bert Gielen / Post-doc

University of Antwerp / Ecology

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

I’m working as an ecologist studying the effects of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems and I’m especially concerned about the speed of which climate change is happening at this moment. Even today, when I was preparing course material for the students I was looking at statistics of snow in the Alps and I was shocked to see a decrease of snow cover of almost 9 days per decade. My girlfriend and I started taking action reduce our footprint already ten years ago to. Our first decision was probably the most fundamental one, as we choose to buy a house in the city centre. Living in the centre of a city makes owning a car obsolete. You can do almost everything by bike or on foot. In addition you have easy access to public transport that can connect you to the rest of the country. If we need a car to go somewhere remote, we borrow one, or we use one of the many car sharing platforms. We also bought a cargo bike to transport our kids and the groceries. Next on the list was limiting meat consumption and buying as much as we can, local products to reduce CO2 emission from transport. We also limit our travel by airplane by choosing destinations that can be reached by bike or by train. I struggle sometime to get a sense of the carbon footprint of the (food) products that I buy. A clear “carbon” label (like the energy label) would be a great improvement in my opinion. In addition public transport and bike infrastructure, inside and outside cities should be greatly improved, so that a real modal shift can be achieved in the near future. I expect from my government that they commit to meet the European Climate targets.