Ghent University / Hydrology, Soil & Water Management
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The biggest concern I have is the shift in hydrological extremes: ‘dry becomes drier, wet becomes wetter’ is actually happening, with possible desastrous results. These results are what I’m working on: we have to know what they will be at this moment, to be able to adapt.
Because of this, I think it’s hypocritical not to think of the environment in everything I do. I eat vegetarian (and sometimes vegan) and seasonally as much as possible, think about plastic use, and use public transport and bike whenever possible. I also try to discuss and talk about these problems, with friends and family and adress these problems via social outreach. The problem is that many people don’t have a clue yet, or don’t know the real facts and numbers. These are really hard to get across, especially because everything is met with a lot of skepticism and scrutiny: getting one number wrong is prone to destroying your whole message. On the other hand, the most sustainable solutions aren’t always the cheapest, so it’s not always easy to choose this.
Instead of sustainability being the ‘abnormal’ option, it should be the standard solution. Or rather the only solution. I think governments have a major role to play in this, as ‘the invisible hand’ isn’t going to do it on its own. There should also be more communication about the facts, the figures, the ideas: when a government isn’t supporting these, the message isn’t spread. It depends to much on people to bring these ideas, instead of on the main sources of information people have. This is changing, but also met with a lot of skepticism. Our society needs a radical change, and to do this, it doens’t just needs to be the number one talking point, it needs to be the point of interest.