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Ecology: when catastrophism paralyzes political action


FIGAROVOX / READING - Several books criticize collapsology, this "science of collapse", which predicts the apocalypse of our industrial civilization. Catastrophism can become a pretext for inaction.

Type # collapse on Instagram, and you'll find young girls posing meditatively in yoga outfits, ads for zero waste cotton swabs or survival kits, framed quotes like,

"Utopia has changed. camp: is today a utopian who believes that everything can continue as before ”


Combining apocalyptism and practical advice to change your life, "collapsology", this "science of collapse" is on the rise in the new generation seduced by the speeches of Greta Thunberg.

Yesterday the youth was enrolled in the utopia of a better tomorrow, now it is the day after catastrophist which mobilizes the spirits.

This radical branch of ecology which heralds the ruin of industrial civilization has been made popular in France by the work of Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens

How everything can collapse.

Small manual of collapsology for the use of the present generations

published in 2015, but also by the speech of the former elected green Yves Cochet (

In front of the collapse. Essay of collapsology


At the same time radical militancy and supplement of soul for middle-class of the city centers, collapsology wants to be a "science" and, like the young Swedish activist, invokes without stop the scientific community to the aid of its millenarianism.

This is not without irritating some of the scientists.

Thus, in

Halte au catastrophisme!

The truths of the energy transition

(Flammarion), the professor at the Collège de France Marc Fontecave is annoyed by this "infantile disease of ecology", which by the unrealism of its projections, becomes an argument for inaction.

On the contrary, he pleads for optimism, and remains convinced that scientific innovation will make it possible to escape cataclysmic predictions.

But criticism of catastrophism does not come only from liberal and pro-science circles.

A whole part of the environmentalist left itself is cautious about this movement.

Catherine Larrère, philosopher and professor emeritus at the University of Paris-I-Panthéon-Sorbonne, and Raphaël Larrère, agricultural engineer and sociologist, sign an essay

Le Pire n'est pas certain - Essay on catastrophist blindness

(ed. Premier Parallèle ) where they also warn against a demobilizing ideology.

They consider the collapse unlikely, and stress that the risk is to let oneself be fascinated by the globality of the threat which prevents seeing the local, and drowns in the darkest scenario the "multiplicity of possibilities".

"Syrupy benevolence"


Collapsology or mutilated ecology

(ed. Of l'Echappée), the professor of philosophy and essayist Renaud Garcia also rejects this millennial entry into ecology.

They accuse the collapsologists of playing the prophets of doom by relying on the entertainment society previously denounced by Guy Debord.

He compares them to the "lotophagi", this lotus-eating people, who prevent Ulysses' sailors from returning home: with their

"syrupy benevolence"

, the devastators anesthetize us, making us forget where we come from, where we are going.

They tear us away from history by offering a fiction of the clean slate, a mythology of the year 1 where we would rebuild an entirely new world on the smoking ruins of our civilization.

They exacerbate the sense of urgency in a time where acceleration already dominates.

Garcia talentedly mocks these

“disaster watchers”

who ultimately only sing the Sex Pistols hit “no Future” at a time already plagued by doubt.

“The spectacular staging of the redemptive child”

Greta Thunberg deeply annoys this reader of Orwell, Illitch and Semprun, who notes with finesse that

“capitalism rests on the exaltation of eternal youth”

and that

“with her sermons and her sermons, Greta Thunberg embodies this resurgence of progressivism in an era which precisely has stopped believing in it ”.

"The coronavirus can be the trigger for the collapse of our civilization"

declared Yves Cochet recently, on the verge of hoping that this first domino will lead to the fulfillment of his predictions.

With all due respect, 2020, the annus horribilis will undoubtedly have the opposite impact on the success of “collapsology”.

When the disaster is no longer a horizon but has occurred, when the boat sinks, we no longer dream of level tables, but we only think of plugging the breaches and bailing the hold that is taking the water.

At a time of economic collapse caused by confinement, the chosen “degrowth” sounds like a petty-bourgeois luxury for the cohort of new poor who are suffering the full brunt of the crisis.

And the average citizen finds himself dreaming, no longer of radical changes, but on the contrary that everything becomes

“as before”.

Collapsology or mutilated ecology

, Renaud Garcia, L'Echappée, 160p, 14th

The worst is not certain

, Catherine Larrère, Raphaël Larrère, Premier Parallèle, 195p, 18th.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-01-14

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