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Real “innovation” starts with holistic political thinking

#7 - Un entretien de la bienveillance avec Anthony Nahas par Henri Lastenouse & Karine Lazimi Chouraqui de l'Académie The Alchemists

Crédit photo : USGS -

Henri Lastenouse : dans votre domaine de compétence et d’intervention, quels sont les mots devenus clés au fur et à mesure de l'ère Covid ?

“Climate Change” are the two key words driving the nascent industry of sustainable urban systems (“Smart Cities”) in which I work, and they have important relevance to the Covid era.

On a very basic level, Climate Change and Covid are related because they represent examples of avoidable, self-inflicted crises resulting from non-action by political leaders.

For decades climatologists warned of the dangers of fossil-fuels; for decades epidemiologists warned of pandemics from zoonotic pathogens. In both cases no action was taken until it was too late.

Karine Lazimi Chouraqui : Parmi les players de votre écosystème, comment définir ceux qui seront les gagnants et les perdants de l’après Covid ? quelles sont justement vos clefs en matière de résilience ?

Facing the existential threat of Climate Change, there are no winners – only losers. The concept of “winners and losers” is a sad anachronism of an economic model that is responsible for climate change in the first place.

An economic ecosystem built on the artificial winner-loser dichotomy is by definition non-resilient, because it is designed to serve only a fraction of the system – the winners. Resilience shapes a universal solidity that protects the system in its entirety.

The winner-loser polarity is justified as a necessary driver of progress. But in my opinion it’s a myopic, “winner take all” model that too often privatizes profits and socializes costs – especially environmental costs.

Henri Lastenouse : Quels sont vos bienveillants conseils pour s'en sortir et collectivement entre Européens pour ne pas vivre le Covid comme une nouvelle étape de notre déclin relatif ?

Europe should apply the lessons of our lack of virus vigilance to our lack of preparedness to Climate Change and implement, as an absolute emergency, a massive, continental-scale decarbonization program within 15 years.

Europe can successfully build zero-carbon resilience into its cities, industries, mobility, and agriculture but it must act with the same speed and urgency that it deployed against Covid. It would be a huge regeneration for Europe.

It’s a win-win in every respect: for jobs, social justice and long-term economic security, while mitigating against the worst effects of Climate Change. Without it, Europe will experience not a relative, but an absolute decline.

Quid du mot innovation ?

Yes to the principle of innovation but without falling into the illusion of techno-solutionism: too often people apply “innovation” only to technology - as if it were a panacea - and not to our larger understanding of the world. All the innovations of the last 100 years didn’t prevent Climate Change and Covid. In fact they created them.

Real “innovation” starts with holistic political thinking – beginning with the question: “what policies guarantee long-term zero-carbon energy systems, environmental protection, social health, and greater economic equity ?”

Equipe de publication : Henri Lastenouse et Karine Lazimi Chouraqui

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