Veolia Foundation 18th Environmental Book Prize

The Veolia Foundation awards “La condition terrestre, habiter la Terre en communs” by Sophie Gosselin and David gé Bartoli.

For its 18th edition, the Veolia Foundation Environmental Book Prize is awarded to Sophie Gosselin and David gé Bartoli for "La condition terrestre, habiter la Terre en communs" (Seuil), and the Mention Jeunesse to Pierre Grosz and Rémi Saillard for "La bonne idée de Monsieur Johnson" (La Cabane Bleue). This 18th edition highlights the importance, indeed the necessity today, of questioning and opening up our collective imaginations in the service of inventing a world in common.

The two 2023 winners of the Environmental Book Prize
From left to right : Rémi Saillard, Thierry Vandevelde, Pierre Grosz, Romain Prudent, David gé Bartoli.


We believe in the power of books, in their ability to raise awareness and inform. We believe that publishers, by committing themselves to texts devoted to this theme, are making a significant contribution to raising awareness of environmental issues and the need to protect our resources.
Thierry Vandevelde

Dominique Bourg: From the moment we understand that nature and culture can no longer be separated, that a heatwave is no longer a purely natural phenomenon, how can we then inhabit the earth in common? That's the question this book seeks to answer.

The two 2023 winners

This book is a genuine political essay in which we try to think the world by inventing other relationships to the environment. New habitats have been invented since the 2000s, and the condition of modern man is shifting towards that of the earth. [...] Instead of an anthropocentric relationship, living environments are used as a driving force to rethink politics, in what we call eco-centricity, based on natural rather than enclosed places. Living environments are redesigned with human and non-human inhabitants and natural enclosures. [...] This is our attempt to rethink the way we inhabit the earth. David gé Bartoli

La condition terrestre, habiter la Terre en communs by Sophie Gosselin and David gé Bartoli, published by Seuil : a vast survey of communities around the world that questions our relationship with modernity and invites us to re-inhabit our relationships, our affects, our imaginations in order to live on an Earth in common.The space-time of politics is changing, and the modern condition, driven in particular by anthropocentric rights and the systematic exploitation of natural resources, is collapsing. 

By conducting a vast survey around the world, this book opens up another path: thinking and inhabiting our earthly condition. From the Andes mountains of Bolivia to the Whanganui River in New Zealand, from the Notre-Dame-des-Landes ZAD in France to the archipelago of islands in Kanaky-New Caledonia, from the Elwha River in the USA to the Zapatista rebellion in Mexico's Chiapas, the authors explore the cosmopolitan processes and institutional inventions that are giving communities back the means to inhabit the Earth. The reinventions of modernity's political landscape call on us to re-inhabit our relationships, our affects and our imaginations, in order to live an Earth in common: an Earth made up of many worlds.

Sophie Gosselin, aggregated and doctor of philosophy, and David gé Bartoli, philosopher and writer, have co-written "Le Toucher du monde, techniques du naturel" (éditions Dehors, 2019). They are founding members of the journal, Revue des livres, des idées et des écologies, and of the Université Pour la Terre de Tours.


La condition terrestre, habiter la Terre en communs, from Sophie Gosselin and David gé Bartoli, Editions Seuil, October 2022 – 432 pages – 22,50€

The Youth Award goes to "La bonne idée de Monsieur Johnson" by Pierre Grosz and Rémi Saillard, published by La Cabane Bleue.

I was inspired to write this book in India. On a trip to Kathmandu, I discovered that the air there was abominably polluted, and I was shocked. When I returned to Paris, my mind was opened to ecology. [...] Through my readings, including the book "Les dieux de l'écologie", by René Dubos, what appealed to me was that a man confronted with an ecological problem had found by himself the means to change things and find solutions. That's what inspired me to write the story along those lines.

Rusty nails, rotting fruit, punctured mattresses, worn tires... These are all that remain of the salt marshes that once bordered New York and which the city has turned into a landfill. Until a man named Herbert Johnson decided it was time to restore nature to its rightful place. Inspired by the true story of a pioneer of ecology, this poetic album reminds us how each and every one of us, on our own scale, can accomplish great things for the planet.

After a musical career in France, Pierre Grosz turned to children's literature, first writing the musical "Toni et Vagabond", with Henri Dès, then numerous albums published by Mango, RMN and Nathan, most of them illustrated by his accomplice Rémi Saillard.


La bonne idée de Monsieur Johnson, from Pierre Grosz and Rémi Saillard, Editions La Cabane Bleue, April 2022 – 32 pages – 17€.

The Veolia Foundation's Environment Book Prize, the first national literary award linked to major environmental issues, was created in 2006 to encourage and promote writers and publishers working to raise public awareness of the planet's major challenges. This year, the jury is chaired by philosopher and professor Dominique Bourg, and includes writers, specialists and personalities committed to the environment: Françoise Gaill, Patricia Ricard, Marie-Odile Monchicourt, Stéphanie Bellin, Thierry Vandevelde, Carine Kraus, Gilles Degois, Romain Prudent, Fanny Demulier, Yannick Poirier.