, Atelier Luma

Acting in ecological solidarity

Although Atelier Luma is guided explicitly by practices of making, meeting people and exchanging ideas, we are also guided implicitly by more abstract concepts and theoretical frameworks. One of these is “ecological solidarity,” a novel concept with a local origin and widespread applicability.

Ecological solidarity is a multidimensional principle that was introduced to French law in a 2006 policy reform for national parks throughout the country. While it is legally undefined, a group of scientists, a legal expert and an environmental consultancy worked together to develop a working understanding of what ecological solidarity is and does.

In general terms, this concept helps us understand the politics of protected natural areas. The team of researchers explains that this concept requires further integration of three dimensions: ecological science, social/sustainable development, and morality/mutual dependence. “Ecology” refers to the real biophysical functions and interactions that occur in a given territory or landscape. “Solidarity” refers to the sense of community among people tied to the landscape, who have a common goal for the common good, including humans and nonhumans.

Based on the research team’s analysis of what this concept does in practice, we feel that there is a significant parallel with the work of Atelier Luma. Ecological solidarity reveals interdependencies and their implications; recognizes the plurality of values and definitions of nature; encourages cooperative action; promotes institutional and policy entrepreneurship; encourages concrete socioecological governance changes; and invites social learning through experimental adaptation.

As Atelier Luma continues to establish its identity, it’s helpful to consider research developed in other contexts that can provide insights into our work. Creating these kinds of links is crucial as develop a better understanding of how we fit within our network among farmers, salt workers, conservationists, and more. While concepts such as ecological solidarity may at first seem abstract, they come alive through our work and interactions as we enact our goals and realize what motivates us.

For more information on this concept, please refer to the following resources:

Mathevet R, JD Thompson, C Folke and FS Chapin. Protected areas and their surrounding territory: socioecological systems in the context of ecological solidarity. Ecological Applications 26(1), 2016, pp. 5-16.

Mathevet R. La Solidarité écologique: Ce lien qui nous oblige, Actes Sud, 2012.


Words by Elizabeth Lara