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Environmentalists’ Anger: Open Letter from a Naturalist in Struggle

Monday 16 April 2018

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Thursday 12 April 2018

The sudden and violent destruction of the farm at Les 100 Noms, which was defended peacefully, and the resistance of Les Vraies-Rouges, a site given over to gardening and the production of medicinal plants, and incidentally the site of a house that was present before the airport project, suggest a reality that we don’t really wish to understand: To defend an authentic agricultural-environmental project founded in solidarity, one needs to be prepared to defend a barricade. In other words, if you don’t want to mount the barricades, you need to dilute yourself out of existence in the so called agro-ecology project promoted by the government.

That project, however, has a serious flaw: It is strictly, and more and more openly, subordinated to business (and above all big business, needless to say) and to personal profit. The official environmentalism ends (examples abound) at the point where it interferes, if only slightly, with an “economic” project. Uncompromising refusal of the destruction of a protected plant or the habitat of a rare animal (and bees will soon be an endangered species) is now considered an inadmissibly radical stance. The most conciliatory parties in the struggle against the airport did everything in their power to suggest that a real environmentalism could be practiced in agreement with the current government. But last week’s deployment of military force on a scale never before seen in France demolishes these desperate efforts and confirms that protecting nature is prohibited when it is uncompromising and when – the ultimate offense – when it organises locally, collectively, in solidarity with the residents of the area in a lifestyle that is simple and environmentally sustainable. Clearly, in today’s world, defense of the environment is also secondary to the desire to pulverize any form of alternative – even, and above all, when it is constructive and organized.

I am personally highly involved in the environment, but that sentence would be just as true if “defense of the environment” were replaced with “solidarity with disadvantaged persons” or “health” or “art” or “rural life” or “human rights” or “refugees.” Anyone who might see that as calumny is invited to prove it by immediately ending the operation that is now destroying the habitats of the ZAD and seeing to it that a space is immediately provided for the initiatives that are being developed there, in conformity with the pretense that was maintained until last week.

Jean-Marie, an angry botanist