The collection "Essais" welcomes committed texts which express personal, well-argued opinions from authors on topical scientific subjects. The works published and written by specialists in the areas addressed are intended to enrich the thinking of the man on the street and encourage exchanges between the world of research and society.
More and more frequently, in politics and in science and technology, we no longer take decisions or there are no decisions to take. Nuclear energy, climate change, GMOs... all areas where we fail to take decisions and where sometimes they can no longer be taken.
Several types of non-decisions are presented in this small book. In some cases they are a way (often trivial) of actually taking a decision. In others they are the result of mechanisms in which new globalised technologies play an essential role and ensure their deployment at all levels of society.
What happens when a plant that has been cultivated for centuries far from the preoccupations of international trade crosses the oceans, appears on market stalls and fills our diversity-seeking plates? In a few decades, the extremely high nutritional value of quinoa has placed this plant among the major global food crops. This happened with the potato 250 years ago and rice a little less than a century. The author gives us a chance to wonder about what is taking place on our plates, on the agricultural models induced by our food consumption and on the biodiversity that can thus be maintained for the years to come.
Why are French farmers so afraid of the future? Why is our agriculture that was so brilliant and remains a jewel in our exports seeing its performances receding in relation to several of its competitors. What are the paths towards regaining ground? Observer and enthusiastic player in agriculture, the author offers us a resolutely optimistic view of the future of French farming.
The author offers here a compendium of opinions, both frivolous and serious, on science and sometimes scientific activity as currently performed. It has three complementary sections. The first texts give a critical, yet frivolous vision of the study of the nature surrounding us. Several disciplines belonging to the broad environmental area are addressed. The second section places man in this nature; the discussions centre on thoughts linked to our relationship with nature. The third and final section scrutinises in more detail this special interface between nature and culture which is the remit of scientific research. Some aspects of the activity of researcher, usually less commented on in the literature, are recounted.
This small book returns to a topic that we all believe we know too well: incompetence. The author addresses firstly the incompetence generated by our technical-scientific society, meaning that a growing number of our decisions are taken "in the dark". He then presents new skills to be defined to face up to our globalised society better.
This work describes the entire palm oil production and processing sector, from the oil palm crop to the use of palm or palm kernel oil in common products. The book intends to provide global, balanced information on a highly-controversial topic in the media and the perception of the general public.
Partly instrumentalised by the policies, the nature conservation movements and the economists, ecology is the vector for many perceived ideas. The ecologists themselves fuel the debate dramatising the future of the planet, in the belief that they are giving legitimacy to their discipline. But are the resources used for ecological research in line with the anxieties and appeals from society and managers? This work is the testimony of an ecologist at the heart of this multi-discipline research.
Africais in deep crisis today. And yet it has an asset - its millions of farmers. Agriculture could save Africa, provided that land is given priority and that agricultural policies are long term with a regional focus.
A hot media topic for twenty years, sustainable development has at last been included in school curriculums. This compulsory subject, with topics which do not really sit well with the disciplines as the school knows them, is struggling to take shape.
The "always more modern" in the agricultural sector has affected the natural resources and the threat today is to sacrifice these technical innovations on the altar of sustainable development. What can be done? Let's start by looking elsewhere.