VUB / Hydrology
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My research is aimed towards the enhancement of urban resilience in terms of flood hazard. The effects of climate change need to be taken into account as measurements demonstrate that extreme rainfall events occur more frequently. Unfortunately, this implication on the water cycle is still rarely implemented within urban management policies, while the rivers and current drainage systems are not able to cope with this increase of runoff. If no action is taken, this situation will lead to more frequent floods in the near future, affecting housing, natural environment and possibly vital urban infrastructures.
I make sure I live in agreement with my ecological standards as much as possible. This includes cycling, a vegetarian diet, second-hand shopping, composting of organic waste, cooking local, seasonable and organic products, rainwater re-use. Within my social environment, we take action as much as possible to raise awareness, through clean-up marches or the promotion of local farming. Within our research department, the Green Team implements small scale actions in order to reduce our carbon footprint but also coordinates with other departments throughout the university to attempt to have an impact at a greater scale.
The greatest difficulty for me is to reduce my personal impact due to leisure transportation. With friends scattered around the world and a deep habit to travel abroad for holidays, re-thinking my energy consumption in terms of transport, especially commercial flights, still appears as a restriction of liberties. When it comes to society-level, environment does not yet appear as the main priority for new developments, a possible bonus at best. Thus the unrecognition of clear environmental objectives does not allow decisive projects and policies to set ambitious goals to avoid ecological degradation. This political setup leaves only society the choice to take action, leading to weak and slow positive impacts.
In my opinion a key change would be to assess the value (monetary if necessary) of our remaining natural environment and to incorporate it within the national wealth and budget calculations. Although quite complex to assess, this may lead to a complete recognition of environmental benefits for society and to the necessity to preserve it. This would also require to apply environmental costs to all products and services, reflecting the price currently paid by our environment, our common good (in opposition to private property), and affecting our health, agriculture, local society and future offspring.
Originally posted 2018-06-13 23:20:23.