He left his mark on ecological thinking and was a reference for many personalities: the writer and philosopher Pierre Rabhi, pioneer of agroecology in France and co-founder of the Colibris movement, passed away this Saturday at the age of 83.
The particular author of “Towards happy sobriety”, an argument about the “joy of living in simplicity”, sold more than 460,000 copies, this activist of the environmental cause died on Saturday after a brain hemorrhage, his son told AFP, Vianney. .
This pioneer of neoruralism, born in 1938 at the gates of the Algerian Sahara, had settled in 1961 on a farm in Ardèche. He will continue to be one of the pioneers of agroecology, an agricultural practice aimed at regenerating the natural environment by excluding chemical pesticides and fertilizers. A method applied since the 1980s in sub-Saharan Africa, where he made numerous trips.
“Hummingbirds and ecology are in mourning,” the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) responded on Twitter. Pierre Rabhi had chosen this little bird to illustrate his philosophy based on an Amerindian legend: in the face of a fire in a forest, the hummingbird “activated, bringing a few drops with its beak to throw into the fire”, provoking sarcasm from other animals. “I know, but I’m doing my part,” he replied in this legend that Rabhi kept telling.
A great admirer of Socrates, he said that “every human being must try to know himself in order to be able to change himself positively.”
“Sometimes presented as a technician, he was interested in the interiority of people,” said his son Vianney. “He touched a lot of people.”
In it, the Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard saw a “brother of conscience.” And he was admired by actress Marion Cotillard as former Minister Nicolas Hulot. His countless works have been undeniably successful each time.
– Presidential candidate –
The announcement of his death provoked many reactions in the political and environmental spheres, starting with that of the green presidential candidate, Yannick Jadot, who praised the memory of “one of the great precursors of agroecology.”
“Dear Pierre Rabhi, we already miss you so much, we are filled with deep sadness. Tiller of the land and tiller of conscience, you have taught us humility in the immensity of the task ”, the former socialist minister Ségolène Royal reacted on Twitter.
More nuanced, the ecofeminist Sandrine Rousseau praised the memory of an “incredible precursor of ecology, happy sobriety and the hummingbird” but a “conservative on social issues, homosexuality and women.”
With Cyril Dion – author of the successful militant documentary “Demain” – Pierre Rabhi had co-founded the Colibríes citizen movement, which advocates for local actions, such as shared gardens, educational farms or even short supply circuits. “Today I lost a friend. An older brother. It breaks my heart. We did not always agree and in recent years we had drifted a bit apart, but Pierre was one of the people who met him. He changed my life.” Cyril Dion wrote on Instagram.
“There is a kind of unconsciousness, we are in a blind modernity, in the sense that we only see the economic gain,” Pierre Rabhi underlined in 2018 in an interview with AFP. “Personally, I earn a good living, I do not deny it … but I am not a millionaire,” he confided at the time, in response to a controversy about his income that had left him with a bitter taste.
Whoever was a friend of Thomas Sankara or the mythical violinist Yehudi Menuhin experienced a certain media exposure in 2002, during a short-lived candidacy for the presidential elections, already “to introduce ecological and human urgency into the debate.”
Father of five children, he later divided his time between interviews, animation of his foundations, conferences and writing books.
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