Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Montrer l'exemple

"Le monde n'est pas tel qu'il est. Il est tel que nous le faisons. Soyons le changement que nous voulons voir dans le monde."

Mohandas Gandhi, cité par Laurent de Cherisey dans Recherche volontaire pour changer le monde, chapitre "Le pire n'est jamais sûr".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Une génération pourrait suffire

"une seule génération formée aux enjeux de la planète... Une seule génération volontaire pour changer le monde... Le temps d'une génération pourrait suffire à bâtir les grandes réponses dont ce monde a besoin. Une génération... Celle de nos enfants si nous les aidons à libérer leurs audaces*."

Laurent de Cherisey, Recherche volontaire pour changer le monde, chapitre "Il n'y a pas d'âge pour commencer!".

* allusion au Canadien Craig Kielburger, qui, à l'âge de 12 ans, a lancé avec ses camarades de classe l'association "Free the Children" pour lutter contre l'esclavage des enfants "ouvriers" dans le monde, organisation devenue internationale et qui a permi la construction de nombreuses écoles dans des pays en dévelopement.

Conclusion: sensibilisons nos enfants aux enjeux du XXIème siècle, et encourageons-les s'ils veulent agir!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Faced with the predictions of the impacts of global warming on our society, the most natural and easiest answer is denial. Some deny the fact itself that global warming is happening, or the scientific consensus that it is almost certainly caused by human emissions of green-house gases. Other recognize the overwhelming evidence, but find a variety of reasons not to act (to quote Mark Lynas: "I am not the main cause of this problem", "nothing I do makes much difference", "It is too difficult for me to change my behavior", etc...), which is a more subtle form of denial. Mark Lynas pushes the analysis even further:

"In a wider sense, one could argue that the whole economic system of modern Western society is founded on denial, in particular the denial of resource limitations. Schoolchildren are taught - and Nobel Prize-winning economics professors apparently still believe - that Earth-provided resources, from iron ore to fisheries, come into the category of "free goods", appearing as if by magic at the start of the economic process. These free goods, which include all the ecosystem services that support the human species, are considered financially valueless and left out of conventional economic accounting. The standard gross domestic product (GDP) measuring stick of national economic success totals up the values of production and consumption without considering the sustainability of the process. In a master stroke of creative accounting, conventional economic theory therefore counts the depletion of resources as an accumulation of wealth. This logic is analogous to individuals spending all of the money in their current account and counting it as income - an absurdity, but one that underpins our entire economy.
Bearing this societal dysfunction in mind, it is perhaps rather unfair to blame individuals for not facing up to climate change when the whole weight of economy and society effectively prevents them from doing so. Bob Dylan once sang about how the white Southerner who shot the black civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963 was "just a pawn in their game". So are we all, pawns in the game of global warming. But we are not entirely powerless, nor entirely blameless. The collective hand that moves these pawns is our own."

Mark Lynas, Six degrees - our future on a hotter planet, chapter "Choosing our future".

So there is no excuse not to act! We have some powerful tools to affect the collective hand: our votes, and our consumption patterns.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

fatalism or radicalism?

"According to sophisticated computer modeling of future rates of climate change, we do have a short time left to cut back emissions in order to avoid "dangerous" levels of warming, and can still aim for a "safe landing" within the one-to-two-degree corridor. This window of opportunity is very nearly closed, however. My conclusion in this book, one that is supported by the 2007 IPCC report, is that we have less than a decade remaining to peak and begin cutting global emissions. This is an urgent timetable, but not an impossible one. It seems to me that the dire situation that we find ourselves in argues not for fatalism, but for radicalism."

Mark Lynas, Six degrees - our future on a hotter planet, chapter "Choosing our future".

His last sentence reminds me of the answer of Nicolas Hulot to critics of his movie Le syndrôme du Titanic: "Ce n'est pas moi qui me radicalise, c'est la situation!" (tentative translation: "I am not becoming radical, the situation is!").

It does not seem to me that the agreement reached at the Copenhagen Climate Conference is radical enough. Will the world be able to react in time? The next decade will tell us...