Michel Massart / Administrator

Copernicus Space Program, European Commission / Geographer

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

In the Space sector, we are implementing a major European Union satellite Earth observation and monitoring program. The objective of the program is of course environmental monitoring, looking at climate change issues and supporting policy implementation. The program and its instruments have been designed to support the sustainable management of the environment but, as the information is free and open to everyone, it can also be used to produce negative effect on the environment. The program is user but also market oriented aiming at business development. Growth is mainly understood as economic growth and not really as life quality growth. We have to work hard on the user uptake strategy in order to balance these potential negative impacts. In this big data digital world, only the usual suspects have currently the capacity to understand and take full advantage of the available information, creating a monopolistic situation.
Of course, we try to respect the environment in our daily family life, eating local, organic food, respecting the seasons and having nearly stopped meat consumption. We have one car for the family and I am always using public transport, which is easy and in fact an obligation as I don’t have any driving licence. We have educated our kids in the respect of the environment. We teach them to decrease their consumption, limiting leftovers. Outside of the family, our action is limited. We should certainly do more.
Discovering other cultures is part of our family interest and also an important element we believe for the education of our kids. We like travelling, this often implies the use of airplanes, we try to limit it but we still think travelling is important for understanding and learning other ways of living and respecting the others. I have the same concern in my working life being part of a global scale program. This necessitates regular missions and flights. When not too far, train is privileged, and when possible, video conference facilities are used. New communication technologies offer most of the time good solutions.
The actions at local level (communes, cities) are essential. They should be better supported by national authorities. The solutions will come from the citizens and from local associations. At national level, education is a key element. It’s unrealistic to believe that people will respect the environment when they don’t respect their neighbours. A strong civil education should be part of student life.

Originally posted 2018-05-01 20:56:48.

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