To our reconciliation with nature?

Simon Diotte

Special Collaboration

13 June 2020

Vers notre réconciliation avec la nature?

Illustration: Sébastien Thibault
In giving all its importance to the nature, the crisis we may be given the desire to protect it more, believes the sociologist Jennie Sierra.

This text is part of the special issue to climate Action

During the confinement, the noise of the city has left the field free to the songs of the birds, the cars, pedestrians, and bicycles. The nature was able to regain the right of citizenship in the urban area, making us understand how it account in our balance. The beginning of an awareness to protect it more ? Possibly, writes the sociologist Jennie Sierra, founder of The Workshop for social, a firm specializing in issues of engagement, participation and behaviour change in relation to the environment.


The crisis that we are experiencing will lead us to rethink our relationship with nature ?

The pandemic has submitted the nature in the heart of our daily lives, while we had lost his track in the city. We pallions of his absence by multiple trips to the countryside and we realized how she could miss us. His return has been a profit undreamed of containment. A lot of people now fear a return to the rear, where traffic congestion becomes endemic, and the air traffic, deafening. In giving all its importance to the nature, the crisis we may be given the desire to protect it more. I see a window of opportunity to take action.

How the health crisis that we live in, it could have a positive impact in the fight against climate change ?

The crisis has put an end to our feeling of invulnerability. For decades, we have believed as humans, that due to advances in technology, we were able to dominate completely the nature. That we were invincible ! It is not for nothing that humans underestimate the dangers related to climate change. Without a perception of risk, humanity did not see the importance of changing his ways.

The pandemic is a game-changer. Humanity suddenly comes down from its pedestal, and already fears the next crisis. This prisede consciousness is the spark that could encourage our companies to consider changes.

Does it not already one of these changes in our ways of consuming, which have been upset by the paused Quebec ?

The containment we were actually forced to re-examine our way of life. In could not get out in the shops or at the restaurant, we have spent less, less consumed. A lot of people have understood that the over-consumption did not bring the happiness expected. Our hectic lifestyle, punctuated by heavy automobile journeys and are either short-term breaks holiday at great expense, had no meaning. Many people are starting currently in question, their pace of life.

There has also been a real enthusiasm for buying local. Is this a cyclical, or rather a trend that can be included in the duration ?

We understood, during the crisis, that we are dependent on foreign goods for survival, such as the manufacturing of medical masks. We are all responsible, to one scale or another, from the relocation of massive production. We are too far gone. New types of behaviour in terms of consumption and new policies encouraging local production could emerge after the pandemic. We will have to start by accepting all the costs relating to the production : of the just remuneration of labour to the negative externalities, in particular on the environment. This means adjusting the prices and consume less to consume better, and this also means to support the poorest households in the better than you do today.

Should we fear a backward step in the fight against climate change after the déconfinement total ?

I do not believe, because, anyway, it is impossible to do worse than before ! In the stimulus packages, the countries of the world not engage it’s certainly not 100 % in an ecological transition, but greener are necessary. Evidence of this change of course in Quebec : we revise our report to our mobility. The cities of Montreal and Quebec, expanding the network of bicycle lanes and piétonnisent streets. We go out of the status quo.

In my work, I do not feel that the environmental issues recede in the list of priorities. Despite the complications caused by the measures of distance-physical, the stakeholders with whom I collaborate to the regional plans for the protection of wetlands and water have no intention of turning back. On the contrary, the crisis strengthens the sense that there is an urgent need to protect ecosystems.

To hear you, the health crisis is an opportunity unexpected change of course.

More than an opportunity, it is a necessity. The inevitable economic crisis that will follow the pandemic is also demonstrated by the lack of resilience of our economic system. This is the proof that it is unfair and unequal. It is not optimal. A profound transformation is required.

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