“We are fighting a battle against nature, there are solutions, the game is not won, but it is not lost”

Picnic Picnic, Insect Spotting Picnic: The big celebration of nature ends today with many other activities near you. It is also the International Day for Biological Diversity. With sociologist Jan Viard, a researcher at the CNRS, we ask ourselves the question of our relationship to nature, which has clearly evolved over the years, decades, and even centuries.

franceinfo: Today, with the issues of global warming and regression, we have the impression that we have an ambiguous relationship with nature, with a desire to get close to it, but also a difficulty in protecting it?

John Viard: It is a contradictory desire. On the other hand, we are an old peasant country, we built our identity on a bundle of wheat, Marian, etc. And little by little, especially with Gaullist, we made her the embodiment of beauty. Gaullists decided that the beauty of the forest, for example, was a right above property. Because the beauty of the mountain, the beauty of the beaches, and everything that is natural, even if you own it, you cannot destroy it because beauty is common in the whole society. It corresponds to a change in mindsets associated with going on vacation, traveling, etc.

So I would say that beauty is like nature, nature is like beauty, nature is like walking area, encounter. This is important in a society 70% of people have a garden. We have a picture of France where we all live in towers, towers are very useful, but the majority of French people live in single houses with gardens. This is the beauty of nature, the environment of nature, the fun of nature, etc.

And then on the other side, there is one more thing, which is that we have changed nature so much, but so involuntarily, that it has begun to warm up and that today it is nature that makes history, not humanity anymore. What is changing societies is global warming and this global warming, we run after ourselves to protect ourselves, to see how we try to limit their development but not eliminate it – we will never succeed – and how societies will change in the face of global warming.

So nature on the one hand, the beauty we love, the flower bouquets we give when we are in love, etc. And on the other hand, it is this nature that is set on fire, which leads humanity in a very amazing race. This race obviously scares us because we don’t know if we will win it.

As I said, the majority of French people today live in a house with a garden. And is there a desire in cities in spite of everything, to have a little corner of the garden, little plants on their balcony, these cherry tomatoes?

That and then the fact that we’re going to bring the forests back into the cities, it’s the only way to bring the temperature down. As you know, the earth is bare, in summer, it is 40-60 degrees. Land with short grass, its temperature is 25 degrees, and its land is tall grass, it’s about 18 degrees, so with the same sunshine, you have about one that triples the heat that the earth produces. why ? Because plant tissues, as they say, protect life. That’s why the city will plant trees. We’ll plant grass, too. Stop mowing the lawn, we will let the grass grow, a city like Nantes is very advanced in this field. It has been a long time since they cut the grass in the summer, and let it rise everywhere in the roundabouts, in the gardens, etc…

And it’s important for biodiversity too…

It’s important for biodiversity, it’s important for reducing heat. And then, it is important to tell humans: We will win this battle. There are subtle solutions and solutions: let the grass grow, plant trees, cut costs, and then there are other solutions: changing energy, modifying energy production systems, etc… We are engaged in a battle against nature where the key player in the history of tomorrow is global warming, And mankind must try to rebuild itself in the face of this thing which is an event produced by nature. Humanity – of course through the industrial period – but one does not have one’s hand at the moment.

In the medium term, we may be able to reduce this phenomenon, but we are sure that it will warm, for example, by a degree and a half within 30 years. There, we have no room for negotiation. So the beauty of nature and the danger of nature, the strength of mankind, will be in between. The game was not won, but it was not lost.

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