Rekindling the Embers of the Living

Original title: Raviver les braises du vivant

Publication Date:

September 2020



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

English (World) (Polity Books)
Taiwan (Acropolis)
Netherlands (Octavo, in a pre-empt)
Romania (Seneca)


Animals & Nature

Rekindling the Embers of the Living

Original title: Raviver les braises du vivant


Despite everything we try, we seem powerless in the face of today’s ecological crisis. As life forms grow more fragile perhaps our problem is that we do not know how to protect them because we still misunderstand them. What if we were actually wrong about the “nature of nature”?

How therefore might we kindle its embers? The author shows how the case study of a defense initiative for free-growing forests can be an important lever for ecological action on which thousands more could be based. We are not human beings confronted by nature; we are living entities among other living entities, fashioned  each day by the dynamics of living processes and irrigated with life. As our shared world is eroded, we stand not face-to-face with the vital synergies of nature; we should instead be working side-by-side with it.

This is the crucial issue at stake: how can we “protect” nature when this sets us in opposition to nature and, in so doing, reveals that the protection we are trying to provide is a paternalist conception of our relationship to the environment. If we switch our approach and instead focus on kindling the embers of life, if we concentrate our efforts on revitalizing nature’s eco-evolutionary dynamics, we will allow living forms the chance to express themselves while defending our own specific ecosystems and their multifarious life forms. The protection of nature has been hijacked by experts and States.

This works looks instead at initiatives behind a powerful movement deserving of widespread support: “reclaim the world”, where citizens themselves undertake the defense of living processes and take responsibility for them. We too are living entities who need to defend ourselves.

Marketing Information

  • Under option in Spain and Argentina
  • Over 15 000 copies sold
  • Selected for the Prix Médicis Essai