"Nature is the common thread in my life. As a child, my grandfather used to take me along, and I would follow him, listening to his stories about trees, deer, and wood pigeons. Together, we helped him farm work and went on the lookout from a tree at the edge of the plain to see the animals at nightfall. From the forests of my home in Sologne to the Rocky Mountains' snow-capped peaks, the Siberian Taiga and the waters edge of Lake Baikal, I have never stopped being fascinated by nature's wonders. It was there that I felt my most profound emotions and dedicated my entire life to it. After graduating from an agricultural highschool, I organized the rest of my studies and stayed true to Antoine de Saint-Exupery's quote "Make your life a vision, and a dream."
This is a precept I have held dear for 40 years and strive to live up to my dreams. For eighteen months, I climbed all the Rocky Mountains, from south to north, and then crossed Alaska by canoe to reach the Bering Strait. Then, I embarked on a two-year-long expedition to Siberia. Lapland, Carpathians and Kola Peninsula, Manchuria and Canada from west to north... I traveled approximately 60,000 km on snow or on frozen river with my sled dogs in all these highlands. Summer was spent on horseback, reindeer and canoe, crossing the vast wilderness. This slowness is only possible because of natural transport. I was able to share my experiences with Inuits, Indians, and nomadic reindeerherders. They helped me to understand what was most important to them: the ability to live in harmony with the natural world. A close-knit relationship that is based on mutual exchange. Everyone takes and returns their part, helping to keep the balance. This life in harmony and nature is what I wanted to portray in films such as Wolf or The Last Trapper. To demonstrate that men can still live in happy sobriety today - to quote Pierre Rabhi's title to a book - men who are able to teach us how to conjugate the verb to have a little more than the verb to have. We have lost our way in this desperate flight to growth and caused too much misery and damage, some irreversible, such as the disappearances of many species and the dramatic decline of the biodiversity mass.
The illusion of infinite growth is no longer a way to thrive. This social project is no longer viable. This is what the IPCC report, as the others, reminds us of the urgent need to act to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change.
It is impossible to ignore the fact that all the lights are on. The rope is getting tighter: With war on our doorsteps, the risk for a pandemic and climatic events, and the collapse in biodiversity, our vulnerability, and our dependence upon energy, metals and foodstuffs, force us to reduce our requirements and replace the diktat on endless growth with another idea and concept of progress. This idea of progression does not only include GDP but also includes indicators such as well being, social cohesion, and sharing. These are the very values I learned from these peoples, who live in nature and are now very unfairly impacted by "Western” ways of living.
There are two options: Either we believe we can continue to produce more and more to have more, or we consider a more realistic way of life. One that is compatible with reality, one that requires us to rethink our behaviour in order for the planet to be habitable for our children and grandchildren. This is a huge challenge because we live in a world that is dependent on fossil fuels. However, there are solutions and the adventure promises exciting if we can be reactive and capable of using all our intelligence, creativity, and energy to restore what has been destroyed. This one is not ours, and we must make sure that all living things on Earth have equal access to its resources. This is the only way to prevent conflicts and maintain peace. You can choose to take action now to make our world safer and more peaceful.
What are we waiting for?! Forward!
Nicolas Vanier Champagne's newest movie! In theaters June 8.
The contents of the file
Nicolas Vanier: "All I am"
A "typical" restaurant that is accessible to everyone
Boris Tavernier: I defend the project for a social safety for food!"