July 26, 2021

an overview of the relationship between man and nature


“I live in a wilderness, and I love nature. “ Wrapped up in the middle of a sparse taiga forest, Amgalan Tsolmon, 20, shines while watching, with his family, over a peaceful herd of reindeer. In his Alaskan village, “Nature is like an elder or a parent, whom we revere and protect”, says another young man. Thousands of kilometers away, Yamada Suzusappno explains the ancestral proximity for the Japanese Ainu between humans and kamuy, “Gods of the wind, the sea and the mountain”.

To realize Till Tomorrow (“Until tomorrow”), broadcast on Saturday June 5 as part of World Environment Day, the film crews set out to meet the populations of the so-called “primary” northern hemisphere, capable of living in symbiosis with their environment and set up here as models.

They bring back astonishing images and fascinating testimonies, which are interspersed with the analyzes of many speakers, at the head of which Philippe Descola, professor at the College de France, whose erudition should not frighten – holder until 2019 of the Chair in Anthropology of Nature, he is considered the heir of Claude Lévi-Strauss.

“To say that such and such a population is closer to nature is to commit nonsense, he explains. Nature, history, society… all these “eurocentric” concepts designate realities for us, but not for the rest of the world. “

Essential role of religions

For example, in Mongolia, where a young woman explains making offerings in the mountains and not cutting vegetation “So as not to provoke the wrath of the gods”. In France, Sabah Rahmani, also an anthropologist, does not say anything else by recalling that there is no hierarchy between man, nature and animals among animists.

The essential role played by religions is developed by the sociologist Frédéric Lenoir (former director of World of religions from 2004 to 2009). Monotheistic religions have, in essence, estranged their followers from nature, the Bible calling for them to “dominate” it.

Nicolas Vanier, explorer: “We got used to turning on a tap to have water and to press a button to have electricity”

An influence amplified in monotheistic civilizations by the consumer society, denounces Nicolas Vanier, explorer, director and sponsor of the documentary with Yann Arthus-Bertrand. “An exponential portion of humans has [alors] found totally disconnected from nature. (…) We got used to turning on a tap to get water and pushing a button to get electricity. “ Without further questioning.

Atavism? The last quarter of an hour, which precisely questions the decisions to be taken in order to think about tomorrow, appears more unequal. Optimism will ultimately come from France and from Mireille Delmas-Marty, lawyer and professor emeritus at the Collège de France, viscerally convinced that “The collapse of the planet is not inevitable”.

Till Tomorrow, documentary by Aimée Bouchet-Crouvizier (Fr., 2021, 60 min). Available in replay on Ushuaïa TV.