What animal is sleeping in you? Or rather, what endangered species are you closest to? To find out, just go to the website of the association “On est Prêt” (www.onestpret.com), which has just launched a campaign for the preservation of wildlife and offers a test to discover its ” animal totem “. At first glance, the initiative may seem anecdotal. It is not, in reality. Because the question of citizen mobilization is becoming crucial as biodiversity is eroding all around us.
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Made public on September 4, the red list of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) reports nearly 30% of species threatened today. In the aisles of its congress, which is being held until September 11 in Marseille, the question of appropriating these issues is everywhere. Of course, political commitments and new regulations are necessary, such as the expansion of marine areas under strong protection in the Mediterranean announced by Emmanuel Macron on September 3 (1) – he also announced the holding of a summit on the ocean in Paris, by early 2022.
But by the admission of the Head of State himself, this progress could not have been made without the involvement of fishermen and a “Work in recent weeks” with them. “Regulation is not enough, adds Pierre Dubreuil, director of the French Biodiversity Office (OFB), which is organizing from 22 to 28 November, in Tours, a “popular biodiversity university”. People have to be made aware and convinced for this to work. “
Hence the interest of campaigns like that of On est Prêt, moreover partly financed by the OFB which is looking for relays to reach as many people as possible. “We want to address everyone and especially those who do not care or do not yet understand what is at stake”, continues Pierre Dubreuil.
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“We need to make an alliance, scientists tell us that they despair of getting their messages across”, testifies for its part Magali Payen, the founder of On est Prêt, which since 2018, relies on influencers and personalities of the cultural world to develop the imaginaries on environmental issues.
This time the campaign has two pillars. First of all, “Learn and marvel, she emphasizes. We protect what we know and are familiar to us. Hence the idea of a totem animal, which is a way of opening our eyes to the fauna around us, talking about it around us, and then learning how to preserve it ”.
It details: “Me for example, I am the elegant goldfinch, a sparrow very endangered today. The participants receive a sheet which proposes concrete actions: eat without pesticides – this bird feeds on insects -, put a bell to its cat, install a feeder, etc. Or, if possible, plant hedges. “
An approach developed for each species selected in the test, which the association defined on the basis of scientific criteria and with the assistance of Florian Kirchner from IUCN-France and Gilles Bœuf, the former director of the Museum: the otter of Europe, the common pipistrelle, the common dolphin with short beak, the tortoise of Hermann, etc.
The other pillar is fundraising for Aspas, the Association for the Protection of Wild Animals, which, among other things, buys land to establish wildlife reserves. An approach that does not achieve consensus (the OFB specifies that it does not financially support this part of the campaign). In any event, On est Prêt hopes to raise awareness beyond young people, its natural public, to the preservation of ecosystems. “We want to find collective, joyful solutions and convince the general public to act with us”, concludes Magali Payen.