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This book considers the principle of ‘sustainable development’ which is currently facing a growing environmental crisis. A new mode of thinking and positioning the ecological imperative is the major input of this volume. The prism of co-viability is not the economics of political agencies that carry the ideology of the dominant/conventional economic schools, but rather an opening of innovation perspectives through science. This volume, through its four parts, more than 40 chapters and a hundred authors, gives birth to a paradigm which crystallizes within a concept that will support in overcoming the ecological emergency deadlock.



Chapter 1. Introductory Chapter: An Interweaving to Be Formalized, the Biosphere Faced with the Relationship Between the Human and the Non-human

This introductory chapter delineates the challenge of formalizing a concept-paradigm and provides specific examples that could be considered as models of socio-ecological viability. We investigate the benefits that the concept of coviability brings to the concept of “sustainable development”. Contributions will be given throughout the book and will be summarized in a final chapter, which will define the concept-paradigm through a transdisciplinary approach.
Olivier Barrière, Catherine Prost, Voyner Ravena-Cañete, Vincent Douzal, Mireille Fargette, Jean-Pierre Aubin

Towards the Theoretical Foundation of Coviability


Chapter 2. Coviability and Biodiversity Conservation Within Anthroposystems

Is there a sense, or a legitimacy, to viewing biodiversity conservation within the terms of coviability? And in this case, what are the long-term objectives that we could establish, and what are the obstacles that face us? Some researchers believe that nature must be “free from any human activity”. Such an objective requires getting rid of facilities in order to return to naturalness, which implies drastic changes on an economic level. However, this scenario excludes man as an environmental player making it very difficult to consider coviability in these conditions….
Conversely, others believe that biodiversity, in Europe at least, is the product of interactions between spontaneous ecological processes and human activities through the use of natural resources. Most of our supposedly natural systems are actually manmade systems, systems that are managed for particular services. Therefore, one wonders what will become these systems when we abandon certain usages or when the climate changes. Past landscapes may stir a feeling of nostalgia in us, but in this context the real question is what kind of nature do we desire? Which goals do we set for ourselves? We could think of a sustained and landscaped nature in which no nuisances would be allowed! Preserving biodiversity manifests itself through the demonstration that it is useful to humankind, and not through exclusive gestures.
Coviability paths are therefore vague when it comes to biodiversity protection, so they require compromises and permanent adjustments between ecological and social systems. In reality, it is neither about imposing one’s law on nature nor about liberating it from humankind. Rather, coviability aims at assisting and guiding the trajectory of ecological systems in the direction desired by society without excess and without complacency.
Christian Lévêque

Chapter 3. Coviability, Through the Lens of the Mathematical Theory of Viability

Viability and coviability are polysemous terms for which nobody can claim ownership. The (mathematical) co-evolution is defined here as “the joint evolution of a state and a given environment”. The first is described as a vector of a vector space, the second as a subset of this space, termed “environment”. Coviability means that whenever both state and environment evolve, the vector’s state always remains in the environment. The (mathematical) theory of viability studies both these evolutions on temporal windows, and proves whether or not evolutionary ‘engines’ provide coviable evolutions of both states and environments.
Mathematics is a logical process used to demonstrate that a set of hypotheses implies a set of conclusions. A theorem explains ‘how’ a conclusion answers the ‘why’ described by these hypotheses. At this stage, demonstrating a theorem is an intellectual activity and not a scientific one. It only becomes so when a mathematical metaphor of an assertion in a different field of knowledge is “validated”. This requires validation processes specific to these fields; physics requires experiments, other domains resort to historical validations or more laborious exercises of reflection.
This article describes concepts ‘motivated’ by different fields of life sciences and the ‘theorems’ that relate them. The article is concerned with “mathematical metaphors”, rather than their confirmation which is sometimes hard to justify. The mathematical results are mainly qualitative and different from those obtained with more usual tools motivated by inert matter’s sciences.
Since scientific concepts only make full sense within the confines of their origins, the history of this concept, motivated by environmental sciences since the 1970s, is broadly outlined,
Jean-Pierre Aubin, Marie-Hélène Durand

Chapter 4. Mathematical Approach of Coviability: Concept, Modelling and Control

Abdelhaq El Jai, Samira El Yacoubi, Marie Claude Simon El Jai, Morgan Mangeas, Vincent Douzal, Abdel Samed Bernoussi

Chapter 5. The Relationship Between Man and His Environment: A Systemic Approach of the Viability of “System Earth”

Our main objective is to elicit (The act of helping experts in constructing their knowledge to allow them to saved/shared) the notions of coviability, viability and perenniality, as they address man’s relationship with his environment. The analysis focuses on the Society-Environment relationship, and is based on a systemic approach. This leads us to consider “System Earth” as a whole when the following crucial question is asked: how can we ensure the perenniality of this relationship while also respecting equity for and between peoples? As is the case for knowledge representation and reasoning, we use the notion of “angle” (semantic relativism) in order to better perceive and describe the main concepts and relationships that reside in this complex system. By adopting an angle on a system, a compartment is extracted, which is easier to analyze. It is through this compartmentalization that we base the reasoning about the perenniality of the Society-Environment relationship and the viability of “System Earth.” We demonstrate that the term coviability used to relate the Society-Environment relationship, and deriving from a vision of Man vs Nature, is neither a systemic (nor holistic) vision. Other than at the global level, we believe that it is a mistake to take this term as a marker for decision-making and action. The compartmentalization protocol and its accompanying tools are commented upon and illustrated in two cases: the “Ecosystemic Service” angle and the “Territorial” angle. In the course of our study, we put forward a coherent set of concepts and relationships by adopting a systemic approach, which enriches our understanding of “System Earth” and of its viability. We also adopt an approach by compartmentalization that focuses on the “Organizational Function” that Society endows itself with, including that of managing the Society-Environment relationship.
Mireille Fargette, Maud Loireau, Thérèse Libourel

Chapter 6. Socio-ecological Viability and Legal Regulation: Pluralism and Endogeneity – For an Anthropological Dimension of Environmental Law

National (State) and international environmental law is based on a scientific dimension that places man at the heart of a normative system founded on a naturalist rationale. However, the dichotomy enacted between societies and ecosystems is questioned by the idea that humankind is part of nature (Stockholm Declaration, 1972; World Charter for Nature 1982), and by the fact that nature is part of a cultural construction (Descola P, Par delà nature et culture. Gallimard, Paris, 2005) leading to the concept of an anthroposystem (Lévêque C, Muxart T, Abbadie L, Weil A, Van der Leeuw S, L’anthroposystème: entité structurelle et fonctionnelle des interactions sociétés-milieux. In: Lévêque C, Van der Leeuw (dir) Quelles natures voulons-nous? pour une approche socio-écologique du champ de l’environnement. Elsevier, Paris, pp 110–129, 2003). The ecological imperative (pressing ecological needs), defined by climate change and biodiversity degradation, raises questions about the desirability of an anthropocentric environmental law, subjected to a neoliberal economic paradigm (we take here the example of French law). Furthermore, this law the vocation of which is to provide a response to the urgent ecological situation, is based on a technical dimension, obliterating the anthropological dimension of human diversity. The ensuing challenge consists of integrating an anthropological dimension to environmental law which is based essentially only on an ecological dimension in an anthropocentric manner, by being open to legal pluralism through accepting a “legal endogeneity” (i.e. law developed by the social body).
Olivier Barrière, Mohamed Behnassi

Chapter 7. Legal Challenge of the Socio-ecological Connection: The Paradigm of Coviability Defined by the Adequacy Between Social Usefulness and the Ecological Function

Environmental law, whose purpose is to respond to the ecological urgency, is based on technical aspects, i.e. legal; obliterating the anthropological aspects of human diversity. It is from the assumption of an interweaved society-environment viability within the biosphere, that the legal approach can be revisited and re-established based on the adequacy of (social) usefulness to an (ecological) function, based on field studies. The adoption of a paradigm based on an approach of social viability within the Earth system, i.e. coviability, has resulted in a socio-ecological link being highlight and which needs to be formalized in legal regulation by though an adequacy between human needs and the ecological function.
Olivier Barrière, Thérèse Libourel

Chapter 8. Local Ecological Knowledge and the Viability of the Relationships with the Environment

Ethnoecology attempts to understand how societies interact with their environment by focusing in particular on the processes of ecological knowledge constructions. These processes are part of a particular socio-cultural context, and they are the result of numerous interactions with non-human elements of the environment such as animals, plants, landscapes, artifacts, and so on. Local knowledge, as it is often called, is constantly renewed through daily relations. It constitutes a privileged indicator of environmental changes, and it allows societies to adjust their behavior within ecological and socio-cultural frameworks, which are more or less restrictive but relatively dynamic. Studying ecological knowledge, its dynamism, and the dynamism and implementation of the ecological and socio-cultural frameworks assist in sketching coviability models. The latter are considered as temporary and renewed adjustments of societies and their environment, adjustments that do not compromise the sustainability of their relationship and which emanate essentially from negotiation processes.
Catherine Sabinot, Nicolas Lescureux

Chapter 9. Biotic Interactions, Coviability and Dynamic of Biodiversity

In the theoretical debate on the evolution of species which structures the “neutralist theory” and the “niche theory”, the study of biodiversity has provided numerous examples supporting the niche theory, with a distribution of similar species between Habitats which are differentiated by their abiotic characteristics which define the environment within its wider context. The environment is understood to be the living space of species, whether distributed according to terrestrial biomes or smaller systems such as the gastrointestinal tract of a vertebrate and its associated microorganisms. The heterogeneity of abiotic parameters constituting a mosaic of niches has been integrated as an important factor of evolution and speciation. In this analysis of biodiversity, the various abiotic factors constituted essential determinants regarding the diversity to which species must adapt. This vision can lead to undervalue the importance of interactions between organisms which themselves do not only live in the richness of the ecosystem, but also according to adaptive responses to its components. Research conducted on these biotic interactions, which initially focused on understanding speciation phenomena and their role in the evolutionary dynamics that led to current diversity remains relatively unknown. It is important to decipher the effects of complex relationships between species to understand the dynamic structuring of their communities according to physical environments, whilst studying networks of functional associations in relation to the environment.
Associations between species, on a multi-scale level and at the level of interactions, including those discussed here, are, for a plant, associated with a cohort of partners (pollinators, dispersers, herbivores, symbionts or even a vertebrate such as man, along with microorganisms and parasites), determine the capacity of the ‘host’ partner to persist in its environment thanks to the benefits provided by the association, or rather to its resistance to exploitation attempts by symbionts (competition, predation, parasitism). However, the symbiosis between species, “living together”, is not an exclusive game between partners in a closet space, it comes within a wider environmental context to which each of the partners involved in the association must adapt, consequently modifying its environment and therefore that of other organisms living in it. This adaptive game, a permanent maintaining or breaking up of associations, gives an image of the resulting biodiversity dynamics. Within this conceptual framework, coviability between species, regardless of the level at which we study it, should be perceived according to a range of interactions between species, also encompassing the environment and the changes it undergoes. In the current Anthropocene era, the action of man on his environment may directly or indirectly affect such biotic associations and sometimes result in a cascade of ecological disturbances which are not predictable in terms of their outcome or magnitude.
Biodiversity should not be seen as an assembly of species which are decreasing in alarming numbers but should instead be included in the evolutionary dynamic mechanism in motion, linking past events, genetic diversity and coadaptation within a context of global change.
Laurence Pascal, Catherine Moulia, Laurent Gavotte

Chapter 10. A Geographical Approach to Socio-ecological Coviability

The scientific debate on global ecological change which originates in human activity is dominated by concepts belonging to biological and physical sciences. When these concepts are applied to the social sphere, they distort its analysis. Moreover, a growing number of researchers in social sciences are naturalizing the societies/environments relationships by using these concepts without investigating them. As these approaches seem to me scientifically distorted by a naturalizing ideology, I suggest a geographical approach to socio-ecological coviability, which requires a brief preliminary description of some concepts of the discipline. A geographical analysis supported by other social sciences unveils the naturalizing ideology of social-ecological systems (SES); this concept forms the basis of socio-ecological coviability. The naturalization of social events manifests itself in three common ideas concerned with SES: first, societies may be analyzed as ecosystems; second, SES have a cyclical history; third, their extension and geographic location have scarce importance. Easter Island is a valid example of an ecological and social “collapse,’ so investigating it may help us test the socio-ecological coviability vis-à-vis geo-historical facts. The causes of this collapse do not emanate from the Rapanui SES but from the geographical openings of Easter Island in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Thus, this investigation examines the appropriate geographical conditions of socio-ecological coviability in an “era of globalization.”
Christophe Grenier

Chapter 11. A Rupture Between Human Beings and Earth: A Philosophical Critical Approach to Coviability

This chapter tackles the paradigm of coviability with the philosophical tools of critical theory. Some of the main features of this paradigm, i.e. systematic description of the social and natural sets, opposition of social determinations to the natural ones and attempt to overcome this opposition by the notion of ‘life’, enter directly in consonance with the tradition of thought whose political purpose is to denounce the deep contradictions – and therefore the non- viability – of our social system. The ‘coviability’ of the social ‘system’ with natural ‘systems’ was an early concern for Marx. His assessment is severe: he claims that capitalism has irreparably broken the ‘metabolic interaction’ between human beings and Earth in the modern era. Through the archetypal example of the dual destruction of peasant societies and natural soil fertility developed by Marx, this first concerns exposing the rupture caused by the dynamics of modernity with the historical conditions of coviability in the West. Afterward, this thinking will be put into perspective with the recent research in the anthropology of Nature, revealing a subtle paradox: even the methodical principle of an opposition of ‘social systems’ and ‘natural systems’ indeed reactivates the anthropological framework of capitalism itself. Philippe Descola showed that the opposition of nature and society made sense only within an ontological regime described as “naturalist”. Relying on this opposition, the paradigm of the “coviability” could thus risk renewing the obstructions it sought to overcome. The critical philosophical approach we outline here identifies the pitfalls and difficulties that must be avoided so that this coviability has a chance for an effective beginning.
Aliénor Bertrand

Chapter 12. When Coviability Meets Ecosystem Services: The Case of Reunion Island’s Coral Reefs

This chapter is part of a critical debate on the concept of ecosystem service. Since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, ecosystem services are seen as the key component of the relationship between nature (ecosystems) and human beings (sociosystems). We assume that this perspective is partly wrong. Ecosystems services are not always provided in a sustainable way. In order to bridge nature and human beings and to reach comprehensive coviability, a feedback loop is required between ecosystem and sociosystem services. The first part is dedicated to a critical presentation of ecosystem services definitions and their input to the viability of human societies. The second part focuses on the identification and the classification of ecosystem services attached to the reef environment of the Reunion Island. The third part focuses on the concept of sociosystem services whose four main types are: the ‘sanctuary of habitats’ service, the ecological engineering service, the service of ‘reduction of the anthropogenic pressure on ecosystems’, and the reduction of pollution service.
Espérance Cillaurren, Gilbert David

Governance of the Coviability: Norms, Policy and Actors


Chapter 13. The Governance of Protected Areas as a Coviability Tool

Protected areas (PA) are a central element of Human/Nature coviability. During the last twenty years, their number has increased dramatically and new, diverse objectives have been set. This diversification is accompanied by an increase in the lack of effectiveness on the conservation of biodiversity and endangered species. The financial shortages and the low social acceptability can also heavily impact the functioning of many PAs Faced with the increasing risk of “paper parks”, this chapter shows that governance of PAs is a critical tool for sustaining this aspect of human/nature coviability. Governance of PAs is proper to a decision-making process and deals with the management of information flow and the monitoring of actions. In the first part, the concept of environmental governance applied to PAs is specified. In the second part, governance is taken as a decision-making process, through the management of information flows. This approach is detailed in a third section. The PAs steering and control module and the social acceptance of PAs are introduced as a central element of their governance.
Gilbert David

Chapter 14. Social-ecological Coviability of the Protected Marine Areas in Brazil: Contradictions in the Co-management of Protected Marine Areas of Brazil to Policies for the Coviability of Social and Ecological Systems

“Extractive” reserves (artisanal or reasoned industrial-scale extraction of natural resources) were legally created in 1990 in the Amazon to ensure the lifestyle of small rubber tree (hevea) tappers as well as to preserve the forest. They are the fruit of an intense social mobilization and the support of environmental associations, and the creation of this new protected area extends to the rest of the national territory. In 2000, the National system of Conservation units was adopted and furthers the institutionalization of these protected areas of sustainable use. These are distinguished by the deliberative character of the decisions of their respective management councils, which include a majority of representatives of local traditional communities. This innovation reflects the recognition of traditional environmental knowledge and their role in nature conservation. However, what might seem a step forward in environmental legislation is actually more mixed due to management and territorial conflicts. Despite the challenges, very promising experiments exist and partly reveal necessary factors to ensure stability for traditional peoples, whose relationships with nature still have much to teach to (post) modern societies which are forced to admit the limits of their mode of production and life. This article intends to identify the necessary social organization to guarantee the autonomy of traditional peoples in the management of natural resources, as well as the external conditions which determine the forms of coviability of traditional peoples in modern and globalized society.
Catherine Prost

Chapter 15. Socio-ecological Coviability Confronted with the Neoliberal System: The Peace Parks Experience (Southern Africa)

In southern Africa, peace parks are being developed with the objective of preserving biodiversity, promoting socio-economic development and strengthening a culture of peace. The design of these transfrontier-protected areas offers an ideal configuration to restore the social link. In effect, these spaces tend to reconstruct ecological, cultural and social ties, therefore laying the foundations for a social valorization mechanism for the Human/Society/Nature bond that could create living/working rules able to ensure coviability. Our case study concerns the Kavango-Zambezi transfrontier conservation area, the largest transfrontier protected area in the world (about 287,132 km2). As others peace parks in that zone, the case studied knows a neoliberal drift through international tourism, which leads to a denaturation of the initial scheme. These transformations question both the hold of the capitalist system on all spheres of human activity and its capacity to recover and digest innovations.
Nadia Belaidi

Chapter 16. Coviability in the Governance of Pastoral Systems, Permanence and Change. How Does the Governance of Pastoral Systems Appeal to the Coviability Concept?

Why does the governance of pastoral systems need to be based on coviability?
Below, brief comments are presented about the coviability concept in pastoral systems: a collective approach of viability due to: first, the permanent interactions between farming systems at various scales (household, family, tribe), and secondly the need to establish rules to avoid the tragedy of commons. Based on pastoral systems located in five contrasted contexts from bioclimatic and socio-economic points of view (Tibetan Plateau, Mediterranean, Sahel, Pampa and South Patagonia), the authors describe the strong interactions between the farming systems at different scales in diverse domains: herd management, innovation, strategies to face risks, marketing, lobbying, social and cultural issues, etc. Then, they demonstrate how the local societies progressively have been constrained to established rules to access the rangeland, firstly when resources were not sufficient (tragedy of the commons) and more recently with the new environmental challenge leading to functional integrity which is coviability at the level of the rangeland management. Indeed, functional integrity refers to the collective level in the sustainable management of rangeland resources: coordination, short and long term planning of the use of resources, promoting ecosystem services, control and prevention of conflicts, considering the hopes and the fears of the local people, etc. The authors conclude with three scenarios for pastoral systems according to the level of sustainable rangeland management goals and coviability adopted by breeder societies at a local scale: rapid disappearance in the global market, resistance and protection as heritage, sustainable rangeland management and gold coviability based on functional integrity.
Mohamed Taher Sraïri, Jean François Tourrand, Ruijun Long, Adama Faye, Hermes Morales Grosskopf, Fernando Raúl Coronato, Christian Corniaux, Bernard Hubert

Chapter 17. Enhancing Coviability Through an Eco-Pastoral Approach, the European Project LIFE + MIL’OUV

Assuming that the continuation of pastoralism (Pastoralism includes all livestock breeding activities which extensively graze, the sources of fodder spontaneously supplied by natural areas, in order to provide all or part of animal feed. [Association française de pastoralisme, @: pastoralisme.​net]) goes together with the conservation of open environments, one of the objectives of the program LIFE + MIL’OUV (www.​lifemilouv.​org) combines naturalist and zootechnical skills. For this aim, the specialists in animal husbandry and field ecology involved in this program, worked with breeders to identify ways and means for an optimized management of these environments. The method is succinctly discussed here to illustrate a cross-analysis of the viability of animal husbandry and that of the natural environment. This construction process seems also useful to create and maintain a common culture between domains too often evolving, separately, whereas reciprocal benefits could be obtained. Indeed, better management means both an optimal use of the resources available for herds, and the maintenance by the pastoral practices in these areas of high heritage value. The presentation of four systems of animal husbandry met during the project and their trajectories, highlights these reciprocal benefits: a rangeland can be considered as a reserve of grass for the herds or as an environment with challenging conservation stakes but the viability of one cannot be achieved without the other.
Jacques Lepart, Jessica Huron, Sébastien Girardin

Chapter 18. Reconnecting Man to Man: Socio-cultural Coviability Ties and Interculturality (Practical Research in a Sensitive Neighborhood in Montpellier, France)

An anthropologist working in the associative context conducted a field experience in a sensitive area of Montpellier (France). This area is characterized by the coexistence of many communities including a European community, which settled there in the 1970s with little renewal; and a North African community which arrived massively by a successive vague. We also find in that area Korean, Turkish, and African elements. Even though this multiculturalism is supposed to carry an undeniable cultural enrichment, the inhabitants are actually confronted with a feeling of social heaviness related to the density of the habitat and to ghettoization because of regular influx of migrating populations that erase an atmosphere of diversity. Moreover, social and economic difficulties of many emigrating families along with the massive degree of youth unemployment provoke a certain form of social misery and festers social inequalities. With such circumstances, is it still possible to build bridges to reconnect the people of different communities? What sorts of tools are developed to attempt bringing together common interests? What could be the vectors of a cultural and social coviability? It is through an approach of inter-generational solidarity, and under the guise of benevolence and indispensable support which older people must benefit from in every community, that the “Passeurs de cultures” (links between cultures) association, carrier of image, tries to weave again connections through a digital platform of inter-generational support. With the participation of residents, it was designed with the aim of breaking down barriers and revitalizing social bonds. In order to establish a contact with the neighborhood’s different populations and build relationships that enliven an atmosphere of trust, it founds itself on an associative network and on local institutions. It also ties multiple partnerships with various colleges, retirement homes, senior citizens clubs, and women’s organizations in order to develop cultural actions to instill awareness in order to touch and convince the population to imagine new gestures of solidarity.
Catherine Barrière

Chapter 19. Kinship as an Instrument for Coviability: Study Cases in Pará, Amazonia

This chapter presents three cases of traditional populations (farming, fishing and riverside) that use kinship as a strategy for maintaining and adapting groups against the rationale imposed by public policies, whose paradigms are exogenous to local societies. The chapter adopts kinship studies as a method to understand the strategies used. As a first step, the article reflects on this theme with regards to traditional populations, and investigates the importance of kinship studies in the Amazonian context. Subsequently, three cases are presented as illustrations: the first case describes a typical group of farmers from northeastern Pará, where access to land is gradually being modified in face of pressures to restrict use of such natural resource. A second case presents a fishing community in the Salgado of Pará area, subject to public policy that encourages the formation of fishing cooperatives, and regulated by legislation relevant to this type of organization, one that simply does not adapt to the local rationale. Finally, a small artisanal fishing community is described alongside a river where industrial fishing is being introduced. Final considerations are formulated based on kinship as an important approach to the nature–culture relationship. Such a relationship, when understood, can define a path to consider levels of viability between different social groups.
Voyner Ravena-Cañete

Chapter 20. The Price of Coviability: Pollination at All Costs. Legal Approach to the New Relationship Between Man and Pollinators

Over the centuries, man has been closely dependent on pollinators, whilst barely noticing them. It has taken their decline under man’s influence for us to better understand their benefits and envisage what their disappearance could cost us. It is in economic terms that the issue has been addressed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, as it was addressed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): they have highlighted the importance of “pollination services” and at the same time raised the problem of the payment of such services and the cost of maintaining them. In this case, the service is considered in mutualistic terms, the environmental service that man provides for pollinators, in order to ensure the eco-systemic service of certain pollinators for man. This necessary association with the “labor” of pollinators, once again calls into question the relationships between man and insects and obliges us to develop new legal instruments in order to manage them and ensure the production of these services. These means are mostly conventional: pollination agreements consequently allow bees to be assigned to the pollination of orchards and other crops in exchange for service remuneration. However, these agreements question the legitimacy of payment, just as they question ownership of the service by the beekeepers seeking payment for the service provided by their bees, vital for plant production, while this service remains uncertain and difficult to control. Moreover, a price is omitted from these contracts: the price which is “borne” by the pollinators made available, undermined by transhumance, not to mention the potential risks to biodiversity. “Protection” agreements complement “exploitation” agreements in order to ensure a coexistence between the human occupation of soils and pollinators, in the form of “floral fallow” or “late mowing”, or even “biodiversity” agreements, for the purpose of compensating the crop losses linked to the lack of or reduction in pesticide treatments on plants during the pollination period in order to avoid killing bees. The man-pollinator co-existence consequently organized must not be misleading however: it betrays the fact that the economy is firmly appropriating nature, an ownership which obliges us to place a value on a function which until now, has always been free of charge. It does however permit us to find a pretext to protect it.
Philippe Billet

Chapter 21. Can International and French Environmental Law Accommodate Coviability?

International and French environmental law is still largely marked by an anthropocentric and Western vision of nature that the concept of sustainable development has no doubt exacerbated. Such an approach is now questioned, notably by the emergence of concepts such as ecological solidarity, which is gradually permeating into French positive law. Close to this notion, coviability is still struggling to integrate the legal discourse and sphere. Moreover, we can question the necessary theoretical conditions for environmental law to receive such a paradigm, before analyzing the always unquestioned but still limited integration of coviability by French law.
Aline Treillard, Jessica Makowiak

The Paradigm of Coviability, a Future Challenge


Chapter 22. Climate Change, a Catalyst for a New Utopia Towards Coviability

Climate change, detected in the 1980s, is upsetting the status quo. Its causes, like those of the acidification of the ocean or the loss of biodiversity, are rooted in the way in which humans live and consume since 1950. To safeguard the common future of humanity and ecological systems, the window for taking action is a few decades. Efforts exist, such as those associated with the COP21 in 2015, but their extent remains unambitious given the urgency and stakes. This chapter explores, through a literature review, the brakes and drivers of coviability (respect for others, whether human or non-human, in a relationship of interdependence). The brakes appear rooted in societal references prevalent in the world of today and are the values of sceptics and of those who organize deliberately the doubt. Their roots lie in the interweaved development of capitalism, science and religion in the West and the advent here below of a modernity that would be the expression on earth of a supreme order truth. The identified levers of coviability are multiple: the individual (he develops mainly by exchanging with others); Legislative (climate justice and the legal framing of firms regarding their missions of public interest are under development) or Policy (developing countries are making efforts and have other histories and references). Adding delegations of vital entities, such as atmosphere, land, ocean, biodiversity and coviability, to nation State delegations is a proposition to strengthen the political component.
Anne Coudrain

Chapter 23. Approaching the Human-Environment Nexus Beyond Conflict: A Peace and Coviability Perspective

The perception of the natural environment in terms of resources to meet anthropogenic ‘needs’ may stimulate competition among actors, which could eventually lead to conflict, especially in times of scarcity. Based on this core assumption, a great number of studies have investigated the human-environment nexus from a conflict and security perspective. Later on, many researchers have critically questioned the relevance of this literature and alternatively envisioned the environment as an incentive for cooperation rather than for violence. Accordingly, the concept of ‘environmental peacebuilding’ has been developed to investigate the evolution of environmental cooperation into a conflict transformation tool. Against such a background, this work aims at reviewing and discussing the relevance of both research trends with a focus on their ability to appropriately approach the human-environment nexus and to provide a useful theoretical and policy-making framework. Regarding the literature on environmental conflict, the analysis shows that its core assumptions remain questionable and its empirical and theoretical conclusions are contested. In respect to environmental peacebuilding, despite its attractiveness, more systematic research is still needed to make it a robust framework. Therefore, the analysis suggests the coviability of social-ecological systems as an alternative to properly perceive the human-environment nexus. This is based on the belief that the viability of human societies depends intimately on the living components of natural and managed systems, and that the coviability approach has the potential to adjust our perception with regard to the position of humans in the biosphere. A position which should be mainly oriented towards ensuring solidarity between humans to maintain viable ecosystems instead of conflict or limited, pragmatic cooperation driven schemes. This may raise hopes that future targets can be achievable and that human societies and ecosystems are sufficiently resilient and better prepared for a world of universal ecological change.
Mohamed Behnassi

Chapter 24. Link to the Biosphere: Man, Condemned to Alterity and Coviability

Modern society has provoked the advent of the Anthropocene Epoch, a geological era characterized by the excessive action and domination of man over nature. The risk that ensues is major -a definitive rupture of the link between man and the biosphere.
Consequently, it is becoming urgent to deconstruct the dogma of consumerism and to lay the foundations for a different production and consumption mode. This could be achieved through a new form of alterity, which is both endogenous and exogenous, and which helps us transcend the idea that the social link can suffice for humanity to thrive.
Man can then establish a new ethic, that is a joint obligation of ethical awareness of the risks and dangers, in order to renew the original link with the animal and plant world, and with the biosphere in general. This could be achieved thanks to the coviability link (interdependence between two systems). To that end, the laws of heredity and natural selection represent two factors, which are endogenous and exogenous, or two interdependent systems that flourish simultaneously. This can occur provided that the genetic resources of the individual or of species and the state of the environment mutually influence each other in the form of a joint viability.
Auguste Eyene Essono

Chapter 25. Tracing the Origins of Western Disconnection from Nature, to Envision a Change

I take the reader along for a long and hard-fought journey down the levels of today’s society Inferno, leading to a radical interpretation of the contemporary integral crisis through the dual lens of sciences and humanities. As the concepts are built onto one another in the process, be warned that there is no royal road to the passage to transformation that is aimed at, where this historical rewind sheds light on a possible change.
Vincent Douzal

Chapter 26. Transverse Ontology Analysis:What Coviability Means

This chapter explains the approach leading to a first proposal of a coviability ontology. Various chapters of this volume have helped in the construction of mind maps presented in the previews of Parts I, II, III, and IV. The main concepts resulting from various proposals have been organized according to knowledge engineering principals. This has enabled us to obtain a first domain ontology with corresponding examples.
Thérèse Libourel

Chapter 27. Coviability as a Scientific Paradigm for an Ecological Transition, from an Overview to a Definition

Coviability of Social and Ecological Systems: Reconnecting Mankind to the Biosphere in an Era of Global Change comprises two volumes and forty-three chapters totaling about 900 pages. The book is prefaced by an economist and concluded by an ecologist; its postscript is written by a socio-anthropologist. A hundred researchers, belonging to more than twenty disciplines, contributed to its development; and this under the direction, in full interdisciplinarity, of twelve co-editors. Before closing the book, it is necessary to clarify the main point, rather than offer an inaccessible summary. At this stage, it is important to identify the significance of this scientific paradigm of coviability, especially in an international context confronted with an ecological imperative. The book seeks to draw from the set of works an initial definition of the paradigm of coviability. This goal’s point of departure is the plural definitions and disciplines, the heterogeneous works giving space for reflection.
This new paradigm of socio-ecological coviability offers an ecological transition promoted at the global, national and local scales. An integrative paradigm is suggested to counter the dominant naturalistic paradigm. The goal of this paradigm is “living in harmony with nature,” that is, creating harmony between humans and nonhumans. The challenge consists of breaking free from a reductive anthropocentrism in order to integrate an ontology open to a socio-ecological dimension, with the goal of reconnecting humanity to the biosphere. The diversity of the situations approached by the different research teams makes it possible to test a definition of socio-ecological coviability that may be: a property of interactive dependence between humans and nonhumans joined in a relationship that is contained by regulations and constraints. This relationship establishes a link of viability subjected to an integration threshold of the complex human/nonhuman system determining the limits of coviability’s elasticity, whose realization remains the coevolution in an integrated socio-ecological system.
The legal and political formalization of the coviability paradigm is designed to contribute to the ecological transition by establishing a new general Principle that could reposition the goal of sustainable development in terms of viability.
Olivier Barrière, Thérèse Libourel, Maud Loireau, Voyner Ravena-Cañete, Catherine Prost, Gilbert David, Serge Morand, Laurence Pascal, Vincent Douzal
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