“Man has changed nature and now has to correct certain things.”

interview by

Melanie Lysov

During the January 2022 plenary session on the Ministry’s budget, I mentioned an interruption with regard to environmental policy. why ?

Philip Bechery
Environmental issues are well understood by everyone today. This is one of the main concerns of society, which has completely changed in a few years. The environment, climate, water resource protection, energy transformation and biodiversity have become priorities. As summer approaches, many people are concerned about the dangers of drought and global warming. We have to respond.

But what can the administration do to deal with these issues of concern to the entire planet?

The term sustainable development includes health, education, decent work and the fight against poverty, as well as environmental concerns. It’s actually an exemplary societal goal, in a way. From this standpoint, we have to ask ourselves why do we act, how do we build a policy? The department’s actions center around three themes: climate change and carbon emission control, energy transformation and biodiversity. These procedures will be developed.

Concretely, what does society do?

In terms of carbon emissions, we are working on mobility, with the development of shared car use areas, the development of flexible roads and the repair of capillary freight lines to avoid the spread of trucks on the roads, which is unprecedented. At the same time, we relaunch the policy of creating forest areas, in

The Seine Valley, where the lands will be cemented to allow poplars to be planted. We also support the forestry sector researching forest fragmentation.

How can we contribute to the large and complex issue of energy transmission?

The goal is twofold: achieving energy independence and getting rid of fossil fuels. This is a vast and difficult topic, because when you question people, they are mostly in favor of renewable energies, but when wind turbines or methane conversion projects are launched, this often collides with local disputes. The state and municipalities give licenses, it is difficult for us to play a role, but we know our region and its challenges very well and we would like to bring all the relevant actors around the table to identify the sectors in which action can be taken. It is a pity that projects that create tension never come to fruition.

What are you doing to protect biodiversity?

Existing species must be preserved. We participate by performing four actions: Passing into the Wilderness of Trainee Trail on the road to PNRFO (Orient Forest Regional Natural Park, editor’s note), to which I was deeply attached and which was largely supported by ‘water’. Next, we lead or support conservation projects for protected species. For example, in the Aube Logistics Park, there was a small bird called Petit Plover, which had to find a nearby habitat. In Prunay-Belleville, we had to find a place to live for a protected butterfly, so we launched the appropriate farms. These are the verbs that sometimes do not cost much, which seemed implausible a few years ago, but today, taken together, are of real importance. We are also taking action on justifiable mowing along roads, in order to maintain visibility and safety for motorists while preserving habitat for nesting and biodiversity. Finally, we protect bats through an agreement with a specialized association that obligates us before any intervention on bridges to take the necessary readings to protect their nesting sites. Again, these are topics that we did not occupy ourselves with a few years ago.

What is your view of the actions carried out in France and around the world on these issues? Are you an optimist?

I’m somewhat optimistic, even if we’re certainly not going fast enough, that’s what all the experts say. But I really think we are facing a general awareness of the gravity of the situation. At the same time, I’m still very careful because I wonder if it’s already a little late. Above all, let’s not give up. The environment has been announced as a priority for the government, and we’ll see how it will be handled. I have faith in people and believe that we should persuade rather than choose a punitive environment. If it can be done in another way, it is better. At our level, we will continue to work to prioritize work and carry out work on buildings to save energy. We will advance little by little, because man has greatly modified nature, and now he must correct certain things.

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