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The latest book by the philosophy teacher and researcher has been widely acclaimed by critics. Published by Actes Sud in 2020, the book is written as an essay to fight against the feeling of powerlessness that dominates in the face of the ecological catastrophe that is underway.
“Rekindling the embers of life”. An expression that is both mysterious and poetic, militant and full of hope, for an account that is both serious and demanding, committed and convincing. Baptiste Morizot, 38 years old, a lecturer in philosophy, was first noticed for his commitment to ecology, before becoming known for the quality of his books. For example, Sur la piste animale (2018), in which the author, from Yellowstone to the crests of Kirghizstan, from the Haut-Var to the Canadian Great North, led the reader on the trail of large predators. He also evoked the concept of “enforestement”, which consists of paying attention to the living world around us and within us, and learning to cohabit with it. This is a theme that has become very important in ecological thinking in recent years.
With his new book “Reviver les braises du vivant”, Baptiste Morizot pushes the reflection even further in a high quality essay of about 200 pages. This great hiker once again uses his favourite method: mixing field observations with a philosophical reflection that seeks to convince, rather than to impose a point of view. Here, the starting point is a hike in “a wildlife reserve”, i.e. 500 hectares of forest in the Vercors acquired by the Association for the Protection of Wild Life (ASPAS).
Its approach? To discover the new practices put in place by various actors to preserve the soil, the crops and the animals as much as possible. The philosopher-trekker evokes earthworms as well as sprayers, foresters as well as farmers…
A story against the prevailing pessimism
Baptiste Morizot writes in a demanding and profound language, which requires time and understanding, with chiselled sentences: “The living is not a burning cathedral, it is a fire that goes out. The living is the fire itself; a germinating fire. Or this one again: “If we no longer think of ourselves as humans facing nature, but as living among the living, we no longer protect nature as a savage otherness, nor nature as a fragile resource otherness: we defend the community of the living of which we are members, which keeps us alive and which makes us.”
This is the message of this lecturer at the University of Aix-Marseille: against the ambient pessimism concerning ecology (whose paroxysm is illustrated in collapsology), it is necessary to create a space to be shared between all living beings in spite of their discordant, even conflicting interests: Ecologists, farmers, rural people, animals… To live together intelligently, we must therefore draw up a map of good practices, such as permaculture, the reintroduction of wild species, the establishment of wilderness areas… This is what will make it possible to fight against the extinction of biodiversity and, in the long term, that of the human race. While the scientific reports are increasingly alarming, the multitude of solutions mentioned gives a great sense of hope. Like an invitation to rebirth.