Véronique Servais / Professor

University of Liège / Anthropology of nature and animals

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding.

As a social scientist working in the field of environmental humanities, my main concern is the pervasive disconnection from the natural world. I think it has a deep impact on our lives, at every level, from the individual to the social. Disconnection makes us blind to the relationships and the systemic nature of socio-ecosystems. It can take many forms, but
they all converge to making our living environment devoid of meaning, where life itself is barely perceived. There is a need for rebuilding relationships with the planet and other life forms that would unfold in scientific knowledge and affectivity. I try to work on it as a teacher and researcher.
Going out of helplessness
When it comes to planet earth, bad news is everywhere. For long I have tried to find ways to escape form a deep feeling of helplessness. Then I realized that the first step was to change my own way of life. And it turned out to be a change of my value system in the end. First, I decided to stop travelling by plane. Because I am a scholar, this was a difficult decision but it changed the way I see my work. Besides, I changed many small things in order to diminish my energy consumption and ecological footprint. I became, like many people, a conscious consumer. I don’t deserve any merit for it. Next step, and much more difficult, will be to find a way to stop going to work alone in my car. This will not be easy, for practical reasons. It supposes to accept some constrains on my time schedule.
For my parents, who grew up in poor families, self-restrain was bad because it was a sign of poverty. But it is just a fact that my freedom to “go anywhere wherever I want” jeopardizes my grandchildren’s freedom of leading a fulfilling life. So, to me, self-restrain is mostly a gift to them. It comes the most naturally. When my grandchildren will ask me: “what did you do for the climate?”, I don’t want to have to answer them: “nothing”

Originally posted 2018-05-08 09:55:05.