No global organisation of political or economic governance has demonstrated its ability to meet the challenges posed by planet-wide environmental upheaval. As soon as an electoral deadline approaches, amendments and sectoral exemptions weaken the provisions aimed at reducing pollution. In addition, national and continental legislation targeting decarbonisation is being postponed. Denial of the realities; expectations dashed…
The difficulty of the major national and international economic and political players in moving beyond the past in order to manage the present properly is undermining the orderly organisation of the future that concerns us all. This lack of competence (inability) on the part of those in power casts a shadow over the future and automatically impairs the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms. The exercise of democracy is impaired at the very time when everyone must take part in the transition and contribute to the resilience of our territories.
In his inaugural lecture at the Collège de France, Didier Fassin1 substitutes “critical situation” for “crisis situation” to describe the convergence of worrying conjunctures. Back in 2017, Jean Vioulac wrote: “Our era is that of a critical phase reached by humanity in its History. Thinking about this criticality is a task”. 2 Once that is established, how do we go about it?
Our escape route from the incompetences criticised above is called transversality. Since its inception, Comb Lab has been linking field experience, life sciences and social sciences with different geographical and administrative levels, thereby activating the systemic approach: climate, food, biodiversity, health, energy, mobility, ….. This dynamic brings everyone into immediate contact with current issues and sets them in motion.
To weave together cross-functionality, systemic pragmatism and partnerships between civil society and local authorities even more effectively, we are creating a new entity: Comb Lab Résilience. Corporate purpose: to develop and support local resilience engineering in all its forms, particularly by :
- integrating the social and solidarity economy (SSE),
- becoming a training organisation,
- delivering degree courses,
- obtaining the Social and Solidarity Economy (ESUS) label after three financial years.
Open to legal entities, individuals and public bodies, Comb Lab Résilience is preparing three major projects for 2024, in addition to various initiatives to support change:
- A permanent food forum in Combrailles. This initiative gives rise to a major partnership with the public body Syndicat Mixte d’Aménagement de Développement des Combrailles (SMADC), which is piloting one of the department’s three territorial food programmes (PAT).
- An experimental agro-ecology centre, with research into farming methods adapted to changes in climate, biodiversity and soil, market garden production and, finally, the exploration of a new economic balance for farms to take account of a return to labour requirements. Indeed, the continuing increase in the relative share of carbon-based energy in operating costs means that, in the relatively short term, the number of people working on farms is set to rise. We’ll be coming back to this issue in a future newsletter.
- The reinforcement of the bocage programme launched in March 2023. Although this programme will slow down at the end of 2023, it will be relaunched in 2024.
By extending our partnerships to civil society organisations and local authorities, we are continuing to work across the board to support a pragmatic, systemic approach. In our view, this remains the best way to develop critical thinking, and thus to maintain everyone’s ability to deliberate and, ultimately, to contribute to the maintenance of local democracy in critical situations.
2 For information : Jean Vioulac Approche de la criticité, Philosophie, capitalisme, technologie Puf 2017.