Caroline Vincke / Professor

UCLouvain, Earth and Life Institute / Forest ecology

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

As an environmentalist and a forest ecologist, I am concerned by the impacts that global changes may have on the health of forests around the world. These impacts may be direct (mortality driven by climate-change type droughts) or indirect (forest fires of greatest intensity for example). Trees are facing environmental conditions (abiotic and biotic hazards) to which they are not used and this is affecting their productivity and health, and increase the risk of mortality. Forests provide lots of ecosystem services to our societies, the most popular one being precisely climate change mitigation, and therefore loosing forests increases our vulnerability.
Facing this threat, I have decided as a woman, a mother and a scientist, to start with small changes in my way of life and at my work place. I needed to feel coherent and to transform my concerns into actions of love for our planet and all the livings, without waiting for a real political will to guide us. Keywords are : simplicity, equity, organic, ethics.  These changes include : i) mobility: I am trying not to take a plane for private reasons more than one year out of two, once a year for my job; I live very close to my job; ii) nutrition: I strongly diminished our meat consumption at home, we stopped buying industrial food and we turned mostly organic; iii) wastes: I try to move towards a Zero Waste way of life and created a group at my work place where we plan actions ; iv) clothing, electronics: mostly second handed or labelled eco-friendly; iv) attitudes: I joined groups that are active in these actions in order to motivate ourselves.
The main difficulties are: to handle the recurrent feeling of helplessness, to find the relevant information, the lack of alternatives (for example for mobility) and support from public services, the inner work to do to redefine my priorities on well-being.
Key change is to increase our consciousness on our interdependence with Nature: to decrease our consumption of energy in an  affordable way; to invest in renewable energies (but not at the expense of more degradation of ecosystems: the “how” will matter!); to invest in efficient and affordable public transportation; to invest massively in close-to-nature education; to create more solidarity and links in our communities.