Great penguins, rabbits… These animals who come to the Brive Book Fair to defend the environment

One writes a great ecological novel without really wanting to, the other tries to reach as many people as possible with facts. However, when we close His last by Sibylle Grimbert (Editions Anne Carrière) or Rabbits do not eat carrots of Hugo Clément (Fayard), we felt the same: an intense lethargy.

The great auk, a species that became extinct in 1844

“I did not say to myself: ‘I will make a big book on the planet, on ecology, on the sixth extinction… Of course, all these concerns are in the air. Perhaps I was influenced,” said Sibylle Grimbert, who chose the great auk, a species officially extinct since 1844, to recount the strange feeling of being late herself.

Great human butchered penguins. “I did a lot of research. I read that the massacre at the beginning, the only one in the book, really happened like that”, the author explains that “there is no message to convey”, but acknowledges that animal suffering is a subject of the book.

Rabbits are “not to be feared”

Animal suffering dissected by journalist Hugo Clément in his latest book with an almost childish title. Why don’t rabbits eat carrots? “To not be afraid,” answered the journalist in a joking tone. A quip that speaks volumes.

Finally, are books that talk about ecology scary? “Raw analysis and analysis only creates awe, it creates fear, rejection, withdrawal,” said Thomas Bout, founder of the publishing house specializing in ecological issues, the Rue of the Exchequer.

“Truthfulness is the most effective”

However, for Hugo Clément, “realism is the most effective thing about these subjects. Not to be an injunction, not to tell people what to do, but to explain what each person’s choices indicate”. What does it mean to eat meat from intensive farming, to watch a dolphin show in a water park, to go to a circus that still exploits animals… The passing of the animal, and the evil that is done to him, Is it a strategy to draw attention to ecological issues? “It’s not a strategy at all,” defends Hugo Clément.

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If we cannot be sensitive to the fate of other animals who, like us, feel pain, emotions, fear… how can we say we are sensitive to more abstract things like the climate, the ecosystem?

“Respect for the living is what is needed for the fight for the environment. »

“Intellectual vertigo”

It is also to avoid this surprise that Thomas Bout wants to bet on fiction. Sibylle Grimbert wanted to explore this “intellectual vertigo” she felt at the thought of being the last of a species. “I thought of the dodo first. But I want an animal that can still relate to our modern times. The great penguin came quickly. Then he weaves through the pages this link between a man and this last penguin.

“If I thought more broadly, about the planet, about ecology, I was crushed by the subject”

A topic that ranges from animal protection to the climate emergency through “zero waste” or collapsology and an offer that, in just ten years, has become bloated.

Emilie Auffret

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