Life Style

Ecology and family, the planet in heritage

In Paris, within the Saint-Nicolas technical high school, labeled “eco-school” since 2017, the “sustainable development” club, made up of around sixty volunteer eco-delegates, launched a “clean-up” operation, or digital cleaning (1), with teachers and staff. An initiative in which families have been associated.

Many parents participated and recounted their experience on the Direct School site, such as Isabelle, mother of a final year student. “We discussed it as a family, we deleted thousands of emails then I spoke to my colleagues to encourage them to clean their email at least once a week”, relates Isabelle. For this young fiftieth birthday, it is important to be “On the same wavelength as school” for the consistency of the educational message. And the support of the school to learn eco-gestures at home seems to him “Primordial”. “A resonance between the family unit and the school gives meaning to the process”, she emphasizes.

→ INVESTIGATION. The family, the anchor of ecology

This educational resonance between school and home, educators and parents is at the heart of the ecological and social transition which takes place first, according to the philosopher Cécile Renouard, on the cultural level: “Family life is the first place where we can practice this cultural transformation. Changes in lifestyles must be at the service of the quality of links and nourished by conviviality. “

“The baby boom generations are struggling to change”

The family, a place of learning for a possible happy sobriety in all areas of consumption, whether food, digital, leisure: parents can explain, discuss, sometimes impose, by inviting have a different experience. Like this family who gave up a vacation in the United States, for a trip to Europe, by train. The child who had reacted the most badly at the start was in the end the most satisfied of the four.

Certainly, within the family universe, the awareness of each other varies according to the generations, with parents who often consider themselves more environmentally friendly than their children, as indicated by an exclusive BVA-Apel survey.The cross.

→ SURVEY. Parents consider themselves greener than their children

“The baby boom generations are struggling to change. They have experienced a polluting consumerist lifestyle, destructive for the planet, which makes transformations difficult ”, nevertheless considers the philosopher, who is also a religious of the Assumption. “Children are often more receptive and better able to educate their parents, and sometimes they go much further than them. ” These grandchildren also sometimes find themselves closer to their grandparents, who have known other lifestyle habits, less polluting, and are happy to pass on experiences of wisdom to their descendants. Like this grandfather, born in the thirties, who said he took only one bath per week in his youth.

The ecological transition requires a family transition

Among adolescents or young adults, some sometimes take a more radical, even militant, approach. They don’t want to reproduce what their parents went through. “ After a phase of reproach, anger or aggression towards their loved ones, these young people mature their thinking, show themselves to be more understanding, less givers of lessons. They understand that confrontation is not the best way to change behavior ”, observes Cécile Renouard, also president of the Campus de la transition (2).

Basically, considers the philosopher, in terms of ecological conversion, “Each generation has to learn from the other”. In a family, as in any community, each member is more or less attentive, according to his age, his sensitivity, to one or another aspect of daily life. One may be concerned about not printing too much, the other, to reduce the energy bill, the last is careful to recycle waste. “You can’t do everything alone, so it’s better to help each other, to stimulate each other. Thus, the bar is lower to reach ”, recommends Cécile Renouard.

In fact, the ecological transition requires a family transition. Let us therefore strive to maintain the dialogue, to accept different ways of doing things and to move forward, step by step, and to rejoice in the path accomplished. Everyone can of course give the example of environmentally friendly gestures. Lower the heating, turn off the light, sort your waste, do your shopping by buying seasonal, local products …

Reconnection to nature

Rigorous behavior, of course, but that we must link, according to the pedagogue Philippe Meirieu, to an awareness of the common good. “Thinking ecologically means thinking about the interactions between things: each gesture has an impact on the family, the neighborhood, the planet. In other words, we are all united ”, he insists. The child is born self-centered, which is quite normal. It is up to the adults, thereafter, to teach him that he is not the center of the world but that he has a place in the world. For Philippe Meirieu, parents have a fundamental responsibility in supporting their children to overcome this original narcissism, to learn solidarity, which has now become a condition for survival.

Finally, the success of this transition depends on reconnecting everyone to nature. The “Missing link”, according to Éric de Kermel, editorial director of Wilderness (monthly published by Bayard), which deplores that so many children grow up “above ground”. While a direct and sensitive relationship with nature promotes wonder and a sense of responsibility. For Frédéric Plénard, author and SVT teacher, “Walking in the forest or in a garden unites the family, develops autonomy, self-confidence, strengthens ties”. Nature, the founding and central place of the family unit, and a major ally in building the world after.


“My son” reboosted me “in my attention to the environment”

Rachel, 47 years

“Five years ago, my son Louis, then in the fourth preparatory class at the Saint-Nicolas technical high school in Paris, returned from a course in sustainable development on the technique of compost. What he told us awakened childhood memories in me. I grew up in the countryside on a “zero waste” farm ahead of time. Leftover food was given to chickens and pigs, and even dishwater! Although living in an apartment, I decided to go there. I installed a vermicomposter on my balcony. Even today, I continue to pour in peelings, coffee grounds, little pieces of cardboard… Cutting egg cartons has even become an anti-stress activity. “Boosted” in my attention to the environment, I then subscribed to baskets of local and anti-waste fruits and vegetables. “


For further

ABC of joyful ecology, by Eric de Kermel. 2020. Ed. Bayard, € 17.90

Fear of the future. How to stop worrying, by Alain Braconnier. 2019. Ed. Odile Jacob, € 21.90

The child and nature. What if connection to nature was the secret of an education in happiness?, by Frédéric Plénard. 2020. Ed du Rocher, € 18.90

What school can still do for democracy, by Philippe Meirieu. 2020. Ed. Otherwise € 19.90

The Christian Parents Guide, by Olivia de Fournas. 2020. Ed. Mame € 21.90


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