“Man has changed nature and must now correct certain things”

Interview by

Melanie LESOIF

During the January 2022 plenary session, around the Ministry’s budget, you mentioned a break in environmental policy. Why ?

Philippe Pichery
: Everyone today is well aware of environmental issues. This is one of society’s biggest concerns, which has changed completely in a few years. The environment, the climate, the protection of water resources, energy conversion and biodiversity have been prioritized. As summer approaches, many people are concerned about the risk of drought and global warming. We need to respond.

But what can a department do to act on these issues that involve the entire planet?

The term sustainable development includes health, education, decent work, the fight against poverty, in addition to ecological considerations. It is actually an ideal societal goal in a way. From that, we have to ask ourselves why we act, how do we structure a policy? The department’s actions revolve around three themes: climate change and control of carbon emissions, energy conversion and biodiversity. These actions will be developed.

Specifically, what does society do?

In terms of carbon emissions, we trade on mobility with the development of carpooling areas, the development of soft routes and the repair of capillary freight lines to avoid the proliferation of trucks on the roads, which is unprecedented. . At the same time, we are relaunching a policy of creating forest areas, in

Seine Valley, where a land amalgamation will be initiated to allow the planting of poplar. We also support the forestry sector, which is investigating the fragmented fragmentation of forests.

And how can we contribute to the big and complex topic of energy conversion?

The goal is twofold: to achieve energy dependence and get out of fossil fuels. This is a big and difficult topic, because when you ask people, they are most in favor of renewable energy, but when wind turbine or methanation projects are launched, it often encounters local strife. The state and the municipalities give the authorizations, it is difficult for us to play a role, but we know our area and its challenges well and we want to bring all the actors involved around the table to decide which sectors where actions can be considered. . It’s a shame that projects that create excitement never turn into anything.

What should be done to protect biodiversity?

Existing species must be preserved. We participate by carrying out four actions: the passage to the wildlife of the cadet route on the way to the PNRFO (Orient Forest Regional Nature Park, editor’s note), to which I was very attached and which was greatly supported by the ‘water. We then lead or support projects for the protection of protected species. For example, in the logistics park Aube, there was a small bird called Petit Plover, which had to find a habitat nearby. In Prunay-Belleville we had to find a living space for a protected butterfly, so we launched the appropriate plantations. These are actions that sometimes do not cost very much and that would have seemed unlikely a few years ago, but which today, overall, are of real importance. We also take action against the justified mowing along the roads, in order to maintain visibility and safety for motorists and at the same time preserve the habitat for nests and biodiversity. Finally, we protect bats through an agreement with a specialized association, which obliges us, before any intervention is made on the bridges, to take the necessary readings to protect nesting sites. Again, these are topics that we did not deal with a few years ago.

What is your view on the actions taken in France and around the world on these issues? Are you optimistic?

I’m pretty optimistic, although it’s certainly not going fast enough, all the experts say. But I really believe that we are facing a general awareness of the seriousness of the situation. At the same time, I’m very cautious because I’m wondering if it’s not already a bit late. Above all, let us not give up. Ecology is advertised as a priority for the government, we will see how it is treated. I have faith in people and I think we need to convince instead of choosing punitive ecology. If it can be done in another way, it is better. At our level, we will continue to act, to identify priorities for action, to perform work in buildings to save energy. We want to make progress little by little, because man has greatly changed nature, and it must now correct certain things.

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