Dimitri de Boissieu is an ecologist by training and a teacher in nature and the environment. he is an author Bolivia Environmental Illusion (Écosociété editions, 2019) and co-author of Out ! In nature with a group (Eds. Environmentalists de Lozier).
- Dimitri de Boasio
The health crisis we are experiencing today proves that all activities of public interest, such as culture, education, social work and the environment are absolutely essential to our well-being. However, one of the themes that has been completely neglected for several decades by public authorities is nature and environmental education for all, at all ages.
However, many studies conducted by educators, scientists and journalists have already shown that regular visits to nature are essential to human well-being. See the writings of Luis Espinasos, School & Nature Network, Sarah Wokes, Matthew Ciro, Mona Foucher-Delavini, Richard Love and Anne Caroline Privaux.
Contact outside allows children and adults to feel content, self-confidence, gain independence and creativity, and be healthier and less stressed. It develops a taste for cooperation with others and a certain empathy for biodiversity and the planet. Nature education also makes it possible to gain knowledge about the living world and to create a strong emotional bond between people and their environment. Thus, it changes our relationship with the world and builds a society that is more respectful of ecosystems and natural cycles.
Kids learn about sustainability while sitting in front of screens
Despite this valuable potential for nature education, over the past twenty years the number and duration of nature vacation exploration and residence classes has continued to decline, as evidenced by the work of “ dynamic output » From the school and nature network . Fear of dangers, regulatory and administrative restrictions, the importance of screens in everyday life and consumer society, increasingly less budgets for picnics and being in nature, is keeping children and teens away from the outdoors.
While in many European countries open-air kindergartens, schools in the woods and rebuilding of schoolyards are common, in France they remain for the most part on the military initiative of a few isolated teachers and facilitators. annoying “ nature deprivation syndrome » So it develops in the population, which today is certainly amplified by confinement.
The Ministry of Environmental and Comprehensive Transformation’s Biodiversity Plan announced in 2018 a goal “ Promoting nature development stays in middle school ». But in reality, nothing changes. circular “ environmental transformation » For 2019 of civic education did not even address the idea of the need for nature. While the media touts the benefits of reconnecting with nature, bathing in the woods or heat therapy, the children of our cities and countryside remain isolated between four walls from morning to night. They were assigned to take lessons on sustainable development sitting in chairs and in front of screens. To avoid the creation of an atrophic society and in order to succeed in the ecological transformation, it became necessary to develop a policy of nature education on a large scale throughout the territory.
However, although the health crisis has led to a certain awareness of the need to quickly build a society of social and environmental justice, current events show us that those in power are instead using the pretext of economic recovery to establish the neoliberal order, making them hasty. Anti-environmental decisions .
So change will only be possible if a strong balance of social forces is established in the country. In these unprecedented times, progressive forces must be stubborn and creative. As Bruno Latour invites us to do so, it is useful to list the activities that we would like to reduce or develop. The first year is back: Let’s be realistic, ask about the impossible !
- The number and duration of classes for exploration and vacations in nature is constantly decreasing.
Advertising tax could fund nature education
In 1976, a provincial tax on sensitive natural areas was cleverly created (TDENS). Today, the development tax has been renamed, and it allows local authorities to levy taxes of up to 1 to 5 % All operations are subject to planning permission – in particular, new constructions. These public funds are allocated for the acquisition of natural spaces in order to protect and manage them and open them to the public. It is a matter of applying the polluter pays principle to the urbanization process. By building a house, the soil is permanently artificial, to the detriment of ordinary nature. So we pay to compensate for this deterioration. Between 2001 and 2010, it was TDENS Achieved an average annual budget of 167 million euros across the country 
This reasoning can well be applied to funding nature education in “ Take the money where it falls »Director Colin Sirio suggests in her letter “ The scientist who was walking on his head put his thoughts on the right side ». some “ childhood pollutants » Easily recognizable: Advertisers brainwash the younger generation with impunity. Bombarding them with advertisements at a young age, merchants manipulate children to turn them into “ medical prescriptions »Especially fatty and very sweet foods. Advertising also develops a sense of frustration in them. Above all, it gives them a perpetually consuming role and entrenches gender stereotypes in them.
A law banning commercial advertising in children’s programs on public television was passed at the end of 2016. This is an important step forward .
But what about advertising on private television channels, on billboards, in the youth press, and on the Internet? ? We must continue our campaign to ban or limit it. More realistically, the tax can also try to compensate, at leastThe harmful effect of advertising on children’s education.
In France, advertising revenue has increased steadily for a decade and, according to a standard advertising market measure, reached a value of fifteen billion euros in 2019. Assuming that a quarter of ads target people between the ages of 0 and 18 and apply to brands tax 1 Just Per cent of their advertising investment, the community can therefore benefit from an annual budget of €37.5 million.
Finally, it suffices to consider developing an ambitious policy of nature education … so that children can once again run in the meadows, accelerating the ecological and social transformation of our world.