Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care

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Computer Platform Gives Visibility to Catalonia's Small Villages

A research team from the UAB, in collaboration with the Association of Microvillages of Catalonia, has created a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Active and Sustainable Hamlets (GISASH), which gathers information on the state of and services offered by the more than 330 municipalities in Catalonia with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

Grassroots movements halt environmental degradation in up to 27% of environmental conflicts worldwide, according to a study by the ICTA-UAB.

El Locos por la Tierra retoma las sesiones en formato virtual

El programa Locos por la Tierra impartido por el ICTA-UAB ha reanudado sus sesiones formativas en formato virtual.

Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

Mapping out the impacts of pollution upon Indigenous Peoples worldwide

Sulphur mine in Ijen, Java, Indonesia. Picture by Joan de la Malla.

Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Encuesta: El rol del verde residencial durante el confinamiento por el brote de COVID-19 en España

El grupo de investigación BCNUEJ (www.bcnuej.org) del ICTA-UAB (https://ictaweb.uab.cat/) y del IMIM (www.imim.es) está realizando un estudio sobre el papel del verde residencial (vegetación interior, en balcones, en terrazas, cubiertas verdes, jardines particulares, etc.

ICTA-UAB shares protective material with hospitals

ICTA-UAB is since last Monday 16 March 2020, an Institute with Restricted Access. Most of the laboratories are empty, the Scientific and Technical Services are closed, only the basic services are working and most of the people is working and staying at home.

Higher and earlier pollen concentrations expected for this spring

Spring and summer pollination will begin a few days earlier than usual and in important numbers, reaching higher than average levels (from the 1994-2019 period).

Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

What elements and characteristics should forests have to influence human health?

Despite the increasing interest of the scientific community and society towards the potential of forests as a source of human health, the existing scientific literature does not allow for a coherent relationship between the type of forest and different health variables.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Victoria Reyes-García receives an ERC Proof of Concept grant linked to the LICCI project

Victoria Reyes-García ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the 76 top researchers that will receive ERC Proof of Concept grants.

ICTA-UAB demands the UAB to reduce number of flights

Given our current climate emergency, recently acknowledged by the UAB, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has drawn up a proposal urging the University to put into action a new travel policy to tackle one of its most polluting activities: Flying.

New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

It’s well known that the EU is focusing its efforts on decarbonizing its economy.

Mining waste dumped into Portmán Bay continues to release metals into the sea 25 years later

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea continue to receive dissolved metals from the mining waste deposited in Portmán Bay (Murcia) 25 years after the cessation of mining activity.

A new ICTA-UAB project to assess the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans

A new project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Patrizia Ziveri is one of five projects selected for funding by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans).
News
Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

Date: 2020-05-18

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies, and to change society's lifestyles, accepting less mobility, low-carbon diets and smaller-sized dwellings. These are the main conclusions reached by the more than 400 scientists who met virtually last week at the International Conference on Low-Carbon Lifestyles, organized by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB).

The conference discussed the social changes needed to ensure a less polluting economy and lifestyles that contribute to climate change mitigation. After three days of intense debates, the main conclusions highlight that, to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, it is critical to consider scenarios in which technological solutions and new low-carbon lifestyles share the spotlight. "Low-carbon lifestyles must stop playing a marginal role to become mainstream," conferees said.

However, this is not an easy task since lifestyles are defined by situational, behavioral and cognitive circumstances, which means that policies and social practices can strongly shape their evolution. "The goal is to reduce citizens' resistance to change by showing them that lifestyles coherent with climate targets are possible and necessary", they stated. It is therefore necessary to insist on the "co-benefits" of these new ways of life, and not only on climate objectives.

For instance, reducing the use of cars is not only positive in a climate change perspective, but also for health issues (air pollution, physical activity, etc.). Framing the message around issues that almost everyone agree upon (such as health) allows to bypass traditional political divisions”, the text indicates.

However, the population must be motivated and made aware that sustainability depends on collective rather than individual efforts. In this regard, they stressed that the climate impact of "small gestures" (recycling, turning off the tap, etc.) tends to be overestimated, leading people to think that implementing them is sufficient to fight climate change. These low-impact behaviors continue to be promoted, perhaps because they are considered less "threatening" to individuals.

Changes can lead to a significant reduction in carbon use, but citizens must be informed on how this is possible. "In the field of mobility, it is necessary not only to introduce technological changes but also to minimize the number of passengers, the kilometers and the need for travelling",  the conclusions state, in which other industrial sectors are highlighted. "We must reduce energy in all phases of the food system, and change current behaviors and diets for more sustainable ones, eating less meat or reducing it completely," they indicate.

Air travel, with recent social movements around the world in favor of reducing flights, and fashion, with proposals advocating for clothes exchanges or personal manufacturing of garments over other proposals such as sustainable fashion or the recycling of vintage clothing, are other sectors where changes should take place.

How is it possible to translate the objectives and proposals of new sustainable lifestyles into political measures? In the face of general disinformation about climate policies among the population, experts advocate information as the main measure for its acceptance. "Citizens know very little about their carbon footprint, and this information could contribute to better decision-making," says the text, recalling that it is not only necessary to "apply climate policies to reduce emissions, but also to reduce inequality or poverty”. They also explain that the communication-based policies implemented in countries around the world have a greater acceptance than legal measures. Scientists believe that advertising can contribute to lifestyle changes, and recall that the scientific community must influence and guide society. "We must be coherent and consistent to influence others, and demonstrate in practice our own scientific beliefs", they indicate in the document. “To achieve significant lifestyle changes, we must gather support for collective measures to be taken”, they insist.

Life after COVID-19

Regarding the exceptional situation generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, they stress that the crisis offers us the opportunity to break with our habits and reconsider our lifestyles. In this sense, the first weeks after the quarantine will be very important to build new habits, coherent with low-carbon lifestyles. Furthermore, economic recovery policies should take into account climate objectives, avoiding actions such as subsidizing polluting sectors.

This scientific conference itself is an example of these new lifestyles. The meeting was converted into a virtual format, avoiding travel and logistical expenses, which meant less environmental impacts. They stress that the health crisis highlights the high cost of acting too late, as well as the need for swift and radical action. These are valuable lessons that should be applied to the climate crisis.

 

Conference Sessions YouTube: https://ictaweb.uab.cat/2020-playlist

 

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