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(en) [France] Élisée Réclus, precursor of ecology by Yann Lagarde -- By ANA (pt) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 29 Dec 2018 13:15:49 +0200

COP 24 (24th UN Climate Conference) gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves about the birth of ideas related to ecology. He called himself a "legume" (the ancestor of the vegan) and opposed to "progress" the "returns" with their environmental consequences. Discover the ecological thinking of Élisée Reclus, an anarchist geographer. ---- " Man must live in harmony with nature, " if no one calls into question this observation today, it was formulated since 1858 by Élisée Reclus, geographer, anarchist militant, author libertarian. ---- He was born in Gironde in 1830 in a large Protestant family. Seduced by socialist ideas, he quickly abandons his studies in Theology. He graduated in Modern Geography in Berlin with the course of Carl Ritter, founder of this discipline.

The American Territory

After the coup d'etat of Napoleon III, he leaves Europe for the American continent and discovers Louisiana slavery. He then makes long observations about human activity throughout the Mississippi and is very critical of the management of wilderness areas. It predicts catastrophes if drainage of the wetlands continues:

" Fields, cities, populations would be swept up vomited in the Mexican Sea ."

Back in France, he publishes several works of human geography thanks to his travel notes. His approach to geography is revolutionary. He considers that man and his environment influence each other and can not be studied without the other:

"A secret harmony is established between the Earth and the people it feeds, and when reckless societies allow themselves to lay hands on what makes the beauty of their dominion, they always end up repenting."

For him, man must find his place in nature without disturbing it:

" Our freedom, in our relationship with the Earth, is to recognize its laws and to shape our existence ."

The Industrial Revolution

Witnessing the industrial revolution, he has faith in progress but with care. For him, progress is accompanied by "return", especially the environmental consequences. He does not oppose the great administrations of the territory on the condition that they respond to moral and social criteria:

"It is up to men to complete the work of nature by imitating it in their labors, whatever means it employs."

He is also very sensitive to the aesthetic dimension of nature and fears the standardization of the landscape:

"Where the soil became ugly, where all poetry disappeared from the landscape, the imaginations are turned off, the spirits are impoverished."

His durable development concerns are inseparable from his libertarian and anarchist ideas which, with his participation in the insurrection of the Commune, made him banished from the university world.

Élisée Reclus was also a convinced vegetarian, he defined himself as a "legume".

Source: https://www.franceculture.fr/geographie/elisee-reclus-precurseurs-de-lecologie

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