“You can’t cheat with nature : sooner or later, a degraded environment - the “collateral damage” of progress - willhamper growth,” warned Veolia Chairman & CEO, Antoine Frérot, on May 29th at this international conference.
Entitled Ecosystems, economy and society : how large-scale restoration can stimulate sustainable development?, the 2-day conference in Washington DC brought together scientists, policy-makers, business leaders and members of the United Nations.
Antoine Frérot started his talk with a warning then proposed three major approaches to preventing many regions across the globe from “exhausting their environmental capital.”
TREAT THE ENVIRONMENT LIKE A FRIEND
According to the Veolia Chairman & CEO, the first solution is “not doing harm or stop doing harm” by collecting and treating all household and toxic waste or establishing a circular economy, that is “one that imitate the way nature works.”
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According to Antoine Frérot, “an approach that restores the environment when it has been damaged must be added to the ‘magic’ of recycling.” Reintroducing nature into urban environments where half the planet’s population
lives is one example.
“However, none of these approaches will result in behavioural change and a less consumerist relationship with nature, without any innovative change in the way we achieve them,” he cautioned once again.
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Before concluding, he made this statement: “The state of biodiversity holds up a mirror to our relationship with environment (...). Will 21st century men and women be friends or enemies of the environment ? We have everything it takes to be its friends.”