Emmanuel Dekemper / Researcher

BIRA-IASB / Atmospheric science

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

I’m working for more than ten years at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy in Brussels, where many research teams are involved in international research projects aiming at better understanding the atmospheric composition, and its change. My professional activity makes me read scientific publications daily, essentially about technical improvements for better sounding the different layers of the atmosphere, but also about trends of key constituents, like ozone and other greenhouse gases.
Witnessing the rise of the human-induced pollution with satellite maps, I often feel hopeless as I know that things will get better only if Asia, the U.S.A., and Europe seriously tackle the problem, in this order. But when I see how consumers in Belgium are only obsessed with finding low prices for goods no matter if they are shipped from the other side of the world, I expect no decline in production, nor in transport. This is my main concern: the majority of the Western world’s population is more interested in buying things than in preserving the world they live in. People seem to care very little about their environmental footprint, and are so much influenced by the dogmatic belief that a better world will only happen if it keeps growing (in dollars).
I recognize that it takes time to change its habits. Since a few years now, I try to use public transports daily, but before that, I was jumping in my car every morning. For the shopping, my family is going organic, local, and plastic-less as much as possible. And we almost never purchase things on internet nor request home delivery. I also try to push our friends and family to adopt the same behaviour. Above all, we feel better each time we “go green”!
For those who believe in the magic self-regulation by the “market”, I’ll answer that the cost for the deterioration of our planet over decadal scales was never taken into account in the hidden equations of their economical paradigm. We need disruptive political actions which will make the price of non-durable goods skyrocket. Transport by fossil fuel should make distant sources of production much less interesting money-wise. And, even if I’m afraid that green sources of energy will not statisfy the demand, electricity should only be produced without oil or coal.

Originally posted 2018-05-03 02:17:29.

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