They changed for the planet: 256 Belgian university experts share with the general public the daily gestures they have modified and their vision on what should change in our society, in order to have an impact on the preservation of the climate and life on the planet. #WeChangeForLife is an initiative launched by 2 researchers from University of Louvain (UCLouvain), Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, climatologist and Caroline Nieberding, evolutionary biologist, and 1 ecology specialist, Lucette Flandroy.
We can all take part in the ecological transition, through simple actions, on a daily basis. But where do you start? How do we know if this has a real impact? This is the objective of the #WeChangeForLife initiative: hundreds of scientists indicate how they align their lifestyles with what they know about climate and biodiversity change.
Why go through scientists? These researchers are specialists, each in their own field, in issues related to environmental degradation. They have decided to change their habits because they know that it has a significant effect on protecting our environment. Their willingness to share their experience(s) comes from their conviction that, to change the world, we must start by changing ourselves. These experts hope that their testimony can serve as an example to the general public and, perhaps, change consciences and habits.
- trust in the accuracy of our information: the experts' work is to give a clear signal to the Belgian and global population of the scale of current environmental changes, and their current and future consequences;
- identify yourself with us as the bearers of solutions and hope: scientists hope to encourage people to join them in the transition through their actions. They also call on politicians to take action to facilitate these solutions for everyone.
Why « We Change For Life » ?
- We? They are Belgian university experts, from various disciplines related to the study of environmental degradation, who want to combine their expertise for the benefit of all.
- Change? Scientists are worried, "the situation is dramatic". They therefore want to testify to the changes they have made in their lives, often in relation to their field of expertise (because they know the risks involved if nothing changes). #WeChangeForLife shows that solutions exist and can be effective and simple. The proof by the example of these 256 scientists. They also reflect the difficulties encountered, some of which will only be resolved by political decisions taken at the level of our society.
- For Life? Through their testimonies, scientists literally show the change and explain how to consume differently and why it is good for our health, for the planet and for the wallet. Their scientific expertise is directly put to good use by all.
- Jean-Pascal van Ypersele (climatology, UClouvain): "We have greatly improved the insulation of our house and replaced our oil-fired boiler with a geothermal heat pump. Our photovoltaic panels cover all our electricity consumption, including that of the heat pump and my small electric car. Everyone should be able to do the same. Policy makers should have the courage to make all polluters pay, much more than they do today. To avoid increasing inequalities, the funds raised must be used to help build an economy and a society with a low ecological footprint where no one is left behind. »
- Caroline Nieberding (evolutionary biology, UCLouvain): "I have implemented in my daily life what most scientists know to be central changes: we buy and cook unpackaged vegetarian and organic food, we buy second-hand and only if necessary, we avoid planes and all types of private transport. We live in the city centre to ease the pressure on natural and agricultural land, we put our economies in a fair bank. »
- Iris Vermeir (economy and business, UGent): "I mainly consume second-hand products and I wait a few weeks before buying what I want, to make sure that I really need it. »
- Bert Gielen (biology, UAntwerpen): "We started taking steps to reduce our footprint ten years ago. Our first decision was probably the most fundamental, because we chose to buy a house in the city centre. Living in the centre of a city makes car ownership obsolete. »
1. Experts belong to these Belgian institutions :
UCLouvain, ULB, ULiège, UMons, UNamur, Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles, VUB, KULeuven, UGent, UAntwerpen, UHasselt, UGothenburg, ICHEC, Institut royal belge des sciences naturelles, Institut royal belge de météorologie, Institut royal belge d’aéronomie spatiale, Institut de recherche nature et forêts, Service fédéral de la politique scientifique, Commission européenne, Oxfam Solidarité, WWF Belgium, Bruxelles Environnement, EPlanet Earth, ISSeP, NINA, IPES-Food, VITO, ILVO, Sciensano, Koninklijke Maatschappij voor Dierkunde van Antwerpen, EcoRes, RHEA Research Center, nabel, …