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1.4 Interview with Maria Vang Johansen, Spring 2019. 

Maria Vang Johansen received Yasmina, our stuffed polar bear from Martin Keller, a consultant with a main focus on UN's Sustainable Development Goals at the Municipality of Copenhagen. 

You can see the interview with Martin on the left hand side of this page.   

Below you can see an interview with Maria Vang Johansen. She is a parasitologist and she researches in "One Health" a holistic approach to the interconnectedness between human health, a sound environment and animal welfare. How can we live sustainably in this trinity? And what can we do to further the welfare and health of this trinity?  

You can also look below the interview to get her 3 top recommendations on how to be sustainable. 


My fourth interview, in the first thread of the relay, on We Turn 2030 was with Maria Vang Johansen.

Maria Vang Johansen is a trained veterinarian and she has been working with Danida, the Danish Development Agency, for 20 years to build capacity in less developed countries. Primarily she worked in Asia and Africa and she realized then the importance of teaching her students a holistic approach to working with animal welfare and human health without destroying the environment. 

The way of teaching is called One Health and is described by WHO, the World Health Organization

The One Health' approach - is to design and implement programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes.

The areas of work in which a One Health approach is particularly relevant include food safety, the control of zoonoses (diseases that can spread between animals and humans, such as flu, rabies and Rift Valley Fever), and combatting antibiotic resistance (when bacteria change after being exposed to antibiotics and become more difficult to treat). Many of the same microbes infect animals and humans, as they share the eco-systems they live in. Efforts by just one sector cannot prevent or eliminate the problem.

Maria Vang Johansen's point of view is the connection between animals, humans and our environment in order for humans to thrive with out compromising the animals and nature we co-exist with and basically live of.


Below are 3 recommendations from Maria on what you can do as an individual to become sustainable in your thoughts and actions. Here they are and if you like - please sustain-apply and sustain-share them!

1) Think Globally, Act Locally and reduce your meat consumption today!

Question: I would like to ask you - what would you recommend that I and our audience do today, in order to become more sustainable?

In short she said:
My mentor and an inspiration, Professor Lene Lange, she says it very clearly – “think globally, act locally”. In my view and what I am in particularly involved in is the meat production and one thing that is standing out, as a huge impact, in terms of climate but also biodiversity and ecology and that is reduce your meat consumption today and speak it out.   


2) If you have to eat meat - reduce your waste.   

In short she said: 
There’s no doubt about it reduce your meat consumption, but also reduce your waste. It’s top priority. We waste about 1/3 of the animal in production and that is insane, in my view. So if you’re going to eat meat or you are going to eat animal products, at least you can ensure, that you don’t waste and throw away things. So I think not wasting meat is like the third most important thing we can do on a top hundred direct actions for better CO2 reduction.

3) Buy organic not conventional farmed meat

In short she said:
But it’s so much more when you talk about reducing your meat consumption than, just sorry to say, CO2 emission. I think especially in the Danish language there’s a lack of a word for ecology. The terminology in Danish was actually put and used for organic. So we are missing a word. The next generation and your generation have lost their understanding of the true meaning of ecology - the knowledge, the skills about coexistence and the sort of cycles in life around human beings in the environment.   

Finally Who did Maria Vang Johansen give the relay to?

The relay (the stuffed polar bear, Yasmina) goes to – Professor Lene Lange!

Interview by Celeste Elizabeth Arnold and film, sound and editing by Armina Dinescu.

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