In order to explore the current and ever-worsening ecological crisis through the prism of the COVID-19 health crisis, Veolia partnered with Usbek & Rica, a French foresight publication, to conduct a series of interviews with experts on the theme of “Make or break time for the future of the environment?”
They adopted political, economic, social and environmental approaches to highlight the links between ecological and sanitary crises and thus to better identify the challenges we collectively face.
With the global economy halted by the pandemic, all eyes are already on the post-COVID world, but there is a lack of consensus. Some argue that systems of production and consumption must be boosted to mitigate the economic crisis. Others favor a radical paradigm shift to encourage a more sober economic model. But one thing is certain: scientists believe pandemics will reoccur if we fail to halt our ecocidal practices. Our model of society must change. Economic recovery must not entirely wipe out our efforts to protect the planet, and the environmental crisis must galvanize us every bit as much as the health crisis.
> Find all the interviews in this booklet:
Listen to the podcast interviews
Olivier Fontan, diplomat and Executive Director of the High Climate Council, addresses the challenges of implementing the measures needed to link the end of the crisis, the economic recovery to the climate emergency. What are the difficulties that France is facing to reconcile economic recovery with climate emergency? Are there any international examples of both efficient and inspiring measures enabling this twofold ambition?
Listen to the podcast (06/24/2020)
Serge Morand, health ecologist at the CNRS and based in Thailand, addresses how predictable the current health crisis was, the scientific link between health and the environment and how our relationship with the environment should evolve, particularly considering the prospect of new crises in the future. Was the pandemic predictable? How can it be explained from a scientific point of view? How can we best emerge from this crisis and, above all, prevent future ones?
Listen to the podcast (06/17/2020)
Marion Guillou, agronomist, former President and CEO of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), member of the High Council for Climate and of the Veolia Board of Directors, questions the place of food security in political and economic reflections on the way out of the crisis as well as the future of agriculture in the light of globalization, new technologies and current environmental challenges. How does the crisis guide thinking about our agricultural and food system? How can we ensure the transition of our agricultural models? What will tomorrow's agriculture look like?
Listen to the podcast (06/10/2020)
Céline Ramstein, climate change specialist, especially on carbon taxation issues for the World Bank, analyses the seemingly contradictory injunctions between environmental and economic issues and the consequences of the crisis on our way of thinking development and public policies regarding environmental issues. How can we decarbonize our economies in a sustainable way? What are the conditions for a green recovery in developing countries? How can we respond to the contradictory injunctions to get out of the crisis?
Listen to the podcast (06/03/2020)
Olivier Brousse, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Veolia, highlights the importance of “usefulness” at the heart of the company's strategy, and, during the present transition period, the importance of ecological changes in our socio-economic models and balancing impacts between our stakeholders. How can the "critical friends" committee that advise Veolia on social and environmental issues support you in the ecological transition and in the management of the crisis we are going through?
Listen to the podcast (05/27/2020)
Magali Reghezza, environmental geographer at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and expert on city resilience, sheds light on the links between our urban lifestyles and the spread of coronavirus with regard to social and economic inequalities and the importance of changing our ecological practices. How will our cities and our uses adapt themselves to the crisis in order to be more resilient to this kind of disasters?
Listen to the podcast (05/20/2020)
Pierre Marc Johnson, former Prime Minister of Quebec and Chairman of the Foresight Committee at the Veolia Institute, discusses the impact of the health crisis not only on international trade and tourism across the world, but also on people's environmental awareness and the potential political repercussions. This crisis has underlined the weaknesses of our global and interconnected economy. In your opinion on what scale should our economies be reorganized?
Listen to the podcast (05/13/2020)
Françoise Gaill, former head of the Ecology and Environment Institute at the CNRS, coordinator of the Scientific Board of the Ocean and Climate Platform and Board member of Veolia Foundation, questions the effects of the health crisis and the potential consequences of a return to the "world before" in terms of the preservation of underwater fauna and flora. At the end of the crisis, what do you think are the main challenges we should work on to protect our oceans and thus, our planet?
Listen to the podcast (06/05/2020)
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, former Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and member of Veolia’s Critical Friends committee, highlights the need to reconcile people and nature with regard to the current health crisis and challenges relating to environmental protection for people, business and governments. In your opinion, will this paradigm shift be followed by effects at a political level or will the pursuit of economic recovery eventually prevail? In what way does the current crisis invite us to reconsider our relationship with living things?
Listen to the podcast (04/29/2020)
Dominique Bourg, philosopher and professor emeritus of the Institute of Geography and Sustainability at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), outlines his vision of the "world afterwards" and of the place that should be given to political ecology in a world still in the throws of the Covid-19 crisis. Will the end of the crisis polarize society with a new social crisis?
Listen to the podcast (04/22/2020)
Antoine Frérot signed the call for a Green Recovery launched on 14 April at the initiative of the MEP Pascal Canfin who chairs the European Parliament's Environment and Public Health Committee. This call for a green recovery has already been signed by more than 120 decision-makers:
We are calling for a global alliance of policy makers, business and finance leaders, trade unions, NGOs, think tanks and stakeholders to support and implement green recovery and biodiversity investment packages that will accelerate the transition to climate neutrality and healthy ecosystems. Covid-19 will not drive away the climate crisis. We should not pit these two battles against each other, but win them both together. That is what will make us stronger.
Our “Impact 2023” strategic program
Biodiversity is essential to the survival and wellbeing of humanity
Climate: the time for action is now
Corporate Social Responsibility
Veolia is mobilized in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic
The Conversation: “Covid-19 or the biodiversity abuse pandemic” (25 March 2020)
The magazine Usbek & Rica
Earth Day 2020, 22 April
UN: International Mother Earth Day and the video Coronavirus, a message from nature, from the UN Environment Programme