For ecological radicalism

The primary of environmentalists made a winner, Yannick Jadot, narrowly. And a loser: radicalism. Not that from our point of view, the winner is less radical than the failed candidate, Sandrine Rousseau. But because this word “radicalism”, by dint of having been used every time during this primary, twisted and manipulated on each side, risks being totally demonetized. And it is not certain that ecology will gain from it …

The two candidates, anxious to win the votes of activists, stormed their commitment to “radicalism”, a term that has become a catch-all, without either of the two ever bothering to say what he meant by that. . Conversely, others saw in this self-proclaimed “radicalism” proof that, decidedly, environmentalists were not serious. Radicality would not mix well with efficiency. It would be unreasonable.

However, let us be careful not to shrug off the term radicalism. Just like to assimilate it, which the candidates for this primary did, to ideological or political battles. We all read the IPCC report this summer, which points to a development for the worst. We will not prevent, barring an unlikely miracle, that the temperature rises by 1.5 ° C by 2030, ten years earlier than expected. And even though we haven’t read it, we have all seen the floods in Germany, the fires in Europe and the United States, proof that we continue to widen the chasm we are dragging all of humanity into, lack, precisely, of radicality.

But what is radicality? What has already happened with radicalism in religion, which has become synonymous with fanaticism, has taken place on this term. In short, a radical religious would be a terrorist. The same goes for ecology: radicalism is scary. It is necessarily ideological, intolerant, violent, excessive and sectarian. This allows us to give ourselves a clear conscience, while remaining quietly in our patterns and models of growth.

Let us return to the word: radicality is to go to the root. Really take the measure of a phenomenon. Radicality implies a form of global search for truth, which concerns the whole of man. To be radical is to consider that what is happening is serious, urgent and requires a profound change in behavior. A “conversion”, and it is no coincidence that the term is borrowed from the religious. In the Bible, Jonah asks the king of Nineveh to convert radically if he wants to avoid catastrophe for his subjects. The latter then trades his royal cloak for a bag and orders a fast throughout the city. It is the same for the environment: we must resolutely “turn around” so as not to fall into the abyss. We don’t need a sectarian, ideological, intolerant ecology. But of a radical ecology, yes. It is even, paradoxically, the only reasonable way.


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