Thierri Walot / Project manager

UCL-ELIA / Agroenvironment

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

As an agronomist, my daily tasks includes encouraging farmers to better protect the soil, water, biodiversity and climate. Very often, many farmers – and the farming community in a broader sense -, including government and administrative services in charge of these aspects, do not realy take them into consideration. In the framework Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union, subsidies play a decisive role in guaranteeing and stabilizing the income of farmers. The CAP represents roughly 40% of the EU’s budget. Without these aids, most of the farms would not be able to survive. One of the features of the CAP is that subsidies should not be allocated to those who cause major environmental damage. In addition, subsidies can be higher if environmental improvements are put into place. However, both options have not been developed substantially and their impact is negligible.
The Walloon (Belgium) administration is currently reviewing its implementation of the CAP and how to use the budgets under the EU 2021-2027 financial period in a more sustainable way. The political tools are set out, all is needed is the political will of government/administration. Society as a whole plays the most important role in influencing choices for the years to come.
In my daily life, my family has chosen to limit our consumption of unrenewable energy. Living in the countryside with horses is a choice we took 30 years ago. Solar panels provide roughly half of our hot water supply and the same goes for our electricity production. A wood burning stove heats the house, in conjunction with a traditional fuel boiler. Public transport is a daily grind (but less than taking the car) and teleworking helps to reduce our carbon footprint. We also sort our waste and try to ban plastic wherever possible.
Is this a sustainable way of life for the future? We are in favour of more stringent political environmental decisions. We will need to adjust much more stongly to try to preserve our way of life. Future generations will probably not have this choice/chance…

Originally posted 2019-04-11 18:26:29.