four messages for fifty years after that – Salvation

The Pompidou Center last week organized three days of debates to question the relationship between ecological transition and cultural transition. Find forums, interviews and polls thematic file dedicated to the event. Also articles by student journalists from the Dauphine/PSL Institute of Practical Journalism who came to cover the forum Let it go.

What if art could save the planet? This is what the Pompidou Center and the Agency for Ecological Transition (Ademe) said last week in the Climate: Which Culture for Which Future? is the question they are researching on the forum. For three days, scientists, intellectuals, activists and artists came together to discuss solutions to limit ecology and global warming. Based on Ademen’s perspective work “Transitions 20502 050”, the forum discussions (with Let it go and the Institute of Practical Journalism Dauphine-PSL) started from this clear observation: to achieve carbon neutrality, we must revolutionize our way of life. A radical change that will have to go through a cultural revolution.

“The ecological transition is challenging a number of our representations and beliefs at a very deep level. Our freedom, for example, is the illusion of unlimited circulation, conquest. Analyzes Mathieu Potte-Bonneville, director of culture and creativity at the Center Pompidou. We keep wanting to be faster, further, stronger, and this definition of freedom is not easy to give up. It is a great transformation of mindsets and it is a material for artists.

Emmanuel Tibloux, director of the National School of Decorative Arts, completed the comments: “A lot of work needs to be done on dreams. How to create happy imaginations like “not doing” or “doing less”? How to make the experience of limitation and limitation attractive? What new horizons are emerging? These are interesting questions that touch the heart of our representations and thus mobilize artists and thinkers, as well as politicians and advisers.

With that, the event questioned every aspect of society. Innovative architecture based on reuse of materials; local, conscious, plant and human cuisine; art close to the countryside separated from stifling urbanism, etc. Public facing: Claire Vallée, star vegan chef; Viktor Meesters, member of the Rotor collective of architects; Fernando García-Dory, artist and creator of the Inland project; Frédérique Ait-Touati, historian of science; Jean Jouzel, climatologist; Guillaume Désanges, President of the Palais de Tokyo; Philippe Descola, anthropologist; Camille Etienne, environmental activist; Esther Duflo, Nobel Prize in Economics, etc. The forum, which was educational in scope, was not satisfied with giving voice to the experts. Workshops, participatory conferences and interactive debates allowed everyone to grasp the four scenarios Ademen envisioned.

“The main lines have been drawn”

Ademe (partner of the event) is an institution responsible for creating forecasts that will enable the development of ecology in the future under the auspices of the Ministries of Ecological Transition, Higher Education and Research. His areas of work are energy, pollution control and waste management. Purpose: to provide guidance for public policy. A work intended for decision-makers, businessmen and politicians, but also for the general public.

The agency he founded last year makes predictions about carbon neutrality in the coming decades with this very function. This forward-looking work at the intersection of several disciplines is enriched by experts from the think tank “The Shift Project”, the Electric Transport Network or the association NegaWatt. “Despite all this research, some areas are unclear. It is really impossible to take into account all the parameters and accurately predict how our lives will be in the next fifty years. knows Jean-Louis Bergey, the agency’s prospect coordinator. Again, the main lines are drawn! And to continue: “We thought about five issues: how far should sobriety go, what is a sustainable diet, what are the limits of natural sinks [ces espaces permettant d’absorber le CO2 comme les forêts et les océans, ndlr], what buildings will be tomorrow and finally what economic model can be sustainable. Finally, four main scenarios were drawn (1 and 4 particularly attracted our attention), allowing us to draw the future based on the choices made today.

Sobriety, collaboration and technology

First, “The Thrifty Generation” suggests a real restructuring of society. Sweet word: sobriety. The goal: to reduce our energy consumption as quickly as possible. These important changes in behavior must be voluntary: sobriety is not poverty because it is a matter of choice, not a means. In this scenario, the French would eat three times less meat than they do now, which would mean 85% of pig and beef farming would disappear. Agriculture emits half of greenhouse gases: we use less chemical fertilizers, limit the import of exotic products. This leads to an improved carbon sequestration function of soils and forests. For housing, we focus on renovating rather than building new.

On the mobility side, everything has been redesigned: soft mobility, walking and public transport are preferred. The number of kilometers traveled by a car has decreased by one third per person. In order to make this possible, emphasis is placed on locality, areas are developed in this sense. Localism does not mean autarky: rural areas are reinvested so that the car is no longer a vital necessity. It’s easier to walk or bike when shops or coworking spaces are nearby.

In the second scenario, called “territorial collaborations”, society is transformed into shared governance and the focus is on cooperation. We rely on the gradual evolution of the economic system towards a sustainable path combining prudence and efficiency. Consumption of goods becomes measured and responsible, sharing becomes widespread. “Green technologies”, the third synopsis, promises technological developments that enable responses to environmental challenges rather than behavioral changes.

“Users’ Society”

At the very end of the spectrum we find scenario 4 “Repair bet”. It is no longer a question of sobriety: we continue with our current consumption patterns, but new technologies allow us to absorb excess greenhouse gases to achieve carbon neutrality. Not a decline in meat consumption, but a specialized and competitive agriculture and agri-food industry. With the formation of synthetic proteins, food is transformed and optimized. If not elegant, mobility is still carbon-free with the use of electric vehicles. It is clear that CO2, which is still very much present, is captured technologically rather than naturally. While the first scenario is intended to limit, the goal here is to repair: a risky bet, “science fiction”even forum guest economist Timothée Parrique judges, because all hope is in the hands of technologies that do not yet exist…

Throwing soup, blocking roads… recent radical actions by environmental activists question our attitude to art and temporality. “Paint on a painting has sparked more reactions than an IPCC report”, Elen, a young activist of the “Last Update” movement, who participated in the debates, protested. “Radicalism is on the side of the government”, convicted twice for climate inaction. Emmanuel Tibloux, the director of the National School of Decorative Arts, preferred before him “Managing society without haste. We must carry out the transformation everywhere, there is no place we should exclude…” While the consensus on the climate emergency is clear, the methods of action differ. So do we have to destroy to rebuild? Will we brave scenario 1, or will we let scenario 4 prevail without reacting?

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