Simon Braem / PhD Student Behavioural Ecology and Conservation

Earth & Life Institute Biodiversity, Université Catholique de Louvain / Molecular and Evolutionary Biology

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

The consequences of climate change are definitely important to raise attention to. But we must not forget that climate change itself is a symptom of something that is much more destructive and directly linked to human activity: pollution and ecosystem disturbance. It can not be stressed enough that we are part of that very same ecosystem as well, having gone trough the same evolutionary journey for millions of years as any other organism on earth. We may now be mentally much more disconnected from our ‘natural environment’, but our existence is still very much dependent on it. What we freely gain from our natural environment is called ecosystem services. More attention should be given to these ecosystem services during secondary school biology courses, but also history courses. Examples are insect pollination, the many benefits provided by river basins of the Schelde or, on a worldwide scale, attention can be raised to the vital water purification and flood resisting effects of the mangrove forests near the tropical coasts.
A second concern is the increasing public fear towards new technologies such as genetically modified organisms. Although these are often perceived as something ‘unnatural’, ongoing research for these techniques to yield more sustainable crops will eventually become vital to feed our massive population that will still continue to grow (at least for the 20 years coming). Again, education and public awareness on these topics seem very important.
As for future politics, there will probably not be ‘one’ ultimate solution to reduce immense negative impact on the environment due to overpopulation. However, one that, in my opinion, deserves more attention is an indirect one: people and governments of rich countries should invest in international support towards organisations that are involved in protection of female rights in countries with high rates of gender inequality. To put it in Sir David Attenborough’s words:
“You’ll discover in countries where women have control of their own bodies, where they have education, where they have birth control, where they have facilities and where they are literate, when these things happen, the birth rate falls. Always. Always.”

Originally posted 2018-06-22 07:12:38.

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