INTERVIEW

Allain Bougrain-Dubourg

Journalist, producer and director, president of La Ligue pour la protection des oiseaux (League for the Protection of Birds)

1. Very early on, you were committed to nature and more specifically to wildlife, where does this singular relationship with nature come from and how do you cultivate it?

When I was only ten years old, the Natural History Museum in La Rochelle agreed to open its doors. How could I not become curious about nature when faced with such a privilege? The biologists then decided to introduce me to snakes, bird ringing, taxidermy and museology. It didn't take much for a vocation to be born. Later on, I had the pleasure of turning my passion into a profession, thanks to numerous reports made for television. At the same time, I was inevitably involved in the urgent need to preserve living things.

2. We can see that sensory experiences such as watching animals have a strong impact on the level of connection to nature, even more than nature-related practices, do you think that listening to birdsong in the city is more beneficial than picking fruit or vegetables?

I am not competent to establish a scale of value for sensory experiences, but all the surveys show how much they can contribute to our balance, and even to the harmony of a society. The containment generated by Covid 19 has revealed the benefits of observation and listening. Faced with this craze, which was echoed in the media, I was delighted to note that the French, finally children of Cuvier, Lamarck, Buffon and so many other naturalists, are gradually developing the vocation of participatory science.

3. In your opinion, what should we do today to reconnect with nature? What advice would you give to citizens?

Scientists have come out of their laboratories to enlighten society and even act as whistleblowers, often with great courage. I pay tribute to them all the more because they create a link that is favorable to the creation of vocations. At the same time, nature protection associations have become so professional that they offer citizens the opportunity to learn. It is now necessary to promote knowledge by including protection. To take the first step in this commitment, I recommend joining, or even investing in an association. Many joys can be expected in return.

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