1 question to... the French State Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition
June 19, 2017
Are you for the human development only or for the development of the whole biodiversity?
Translation of the letter addressed on June 16th 2017 to Mr. Nicolas Hulot, Minister of State, Minister of Ecological and solidarity Transition via the French newspaper reporterre.net.
Dear State Minister, Mr Nicolas Hulot,
Your decision to take up the responsibilities of a Minister of State - ecologist - a first in France, was the first breath of oxygen. Bravo! The one of trying to convince isolationists to #MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain is a second. But we still need so many more… I wish you good luck and also I seek, at my level, to support you.
That is why I would like to come back on the message you pronounced at the occasion of the World Environment Day. You stated that "Man is nature that becomes conscious of itself". I said to myself "Damn! Not that idea again! ".
Firstly, to think man is the star of the world is only a belief and not science. But moreover, I think we should start to understand that the idea of nature and its corollary, that of a man at its summit, is what is preventing us from getting through the ecological crisis. Perhaps, these two ideas were correct, in their time and for their time, but today they are found to be false, largely outdated in facts by the ecological crisis and in spirit by the idea of biodiversity.
Dear Minister, you are responsible for the ecological transition. It is an intellectual transition as much as a practical transition. It is made of the same stamp as that of the Copernican revolution ; That one, by making the earth revolve around the sun, had already put humans back in their place. The ecological transition will have to start this work again. It will have to put behind us any anthropocentric world, and this time, by making the biodiversity1 fight against the environment2.
The problem is that "man the conscience of nature" is an illusory and erroneous model. It omits too many truths, of which these three: 1) Human, like any living being, faces the elements, the environment, 2) Human, being in no way supernatural, is simply biodiversity and mainly, 3) it is therefore all the biodiversity that faces the environment. Biodiversity against the environment will be the model the ecological transition now has to promote.
This model expresses a more nuanced reality than the one which tells that everything is one nature. The fact that living and inert natures are well connected around us does not mean that they form a whole. On the contrary, these closer ties doesn’t betray interactions between them but only actions of the living against the environment to ensure its own survival and development. The ecological transition should thus adapt our civilization to this natural lack of harmony with the non-living: Our economy and technology will have to become an investment made on behalf of biodiversity to support its reconquest of the Earth and not only on behalf of the human. And then ecology will have to pass from the current biodiversity conservation thinking to that of our common development.
This thought is at our doorstep: My 12-year-old daughter, when her school organized a debate "for or against the conservation of biodiversity”, chose the against camp. She tried to prove to her public that wishing for human development but at the same time only for biodiversity conservation is a bad mindset (that's the word she uses). This mindset seems neither ethical nor practical. I wonder how you, Minister of State, would confront this child’s thought.
Then, I would like to ask you this question: Are you for the development of human beings only or are you for the development of all biodiversity as the future of our children suggests?
1- I consider that only living organisms are biodiversity
2- I consider that biodiversity is not part of the environment