top of page


1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10



Double-page format
for reading

DinA4 single-page format
for printing


DinA4 single-page format
for printing

In the documentary Ecocide, Monica Gagliano’s message is one of strong hope. She compares our civilisation's relationship with Earth to the different stages of development of a human being. For her, in human life, just like in our relationship with Earth, we go through different stages, going from being dependent children, to frantically searching for independence, which teenagers dream about, and then, finally reaching an awareness of interdependence, which is what adults should experience.


It sounds like an attractive proposal! Let’s try to understand how our culture was able to perceive its relationship with the rest of Nature and compare it to the three stages of development that she suggested. The childhood period coincides with the appearance of the Homo sapiens species. Prevailing history tells us that at that moment, we were totally dependent on Nature and had no form of defence or protection. The human race struggled desperately with its environment. It gradually built the necessary foundations in its quest for independence, by developing tools and protections and by learning how to produce food itself. The evolution of science and thought, which has significantly accelerated since the 17th century, represents the beginning of our adolescence and of our spirited race towards independence. Western societies have tried to unlock Nature’s mysteries and master its laws, in order to become more independent. The Cartesian mindset creates a deeply anthropocentric culture by establishing a fundamental separation between the human species and the rest of Nature (this concept is explored further in Topics 4 and 6). As Sofi a Stril-Rever points out, this intellectual separation leads humans, on the one hand, to have a thirst for dominating Nature over time, but on the other hand, it pushes humans into a spiral of domination and exploitation of themselves. It is no coincidence that most societies and traditions that have cherished and preserved this culture of Nature have been wiped out or culturally disrupted over the course of the past millennia. Western societies, blinded by values solely focused on their own interests and obsessed with the conviction of their “civilising” missions, have fought or transformed them, by hook or by crook, because they also presented a threat. As noted by Sofi a Stril-Rever, Western societies have progressively westernised other cultures and imposed their own values that are deeply disconnected from Nature, dragging us, in spite of ourselves, down a deep dark hole...


Today, the entire human race is in turmoil. In the face of shifts in the Earth system (a concept explored further in Topic 3), we are confronted with the reality: It is totally impossible to be independent from the system in which we live, whether from the rest of society or from the whole biosphere.

So, are we changing?

Isn’t our quest for independence really just a pipe dream that’s forcing us to stay, like sleepwalkers, in this pathological state of adolescence?


In any case, Monica Gagliano is detecting a positive sign in the critical and liminal phase we’re going through: What if this period was our passage from adolescence into adulthood, which has now become quite simply morbid? The rite of passage is about re-learning how to take care: Take care of our environment, take care of others and, of course, of ourselves. To do this, Monica Gagliano 3 first invites us to “observe what bothers us rather than to bother what we’re observing”. Take the time to stop, listen and observe... Without a doubt, this approach confronts the society we currently live in. This fundamentally calls into question our relationship with time and the culture of immediacy which is being felt at global and digital level. Our digital relationship is further explored in Topic 9. To observe the living is to observe its entire cycle... this will also give rise to another characteristic of our adolescence: our fear of death, a taboo subject. For the moment we would rather take refuge in our quest for immortality by naively diving into transhumanism.


Let’s move on to the next phase, to the “materialistic civilisation” of adulthood. For Sofi a Stril-Rever, Nature should no longer be seen as this common resource deposit to be exploited but as a unique oasis of life where a sacred process (which deserves some sacrifice) is at work. Throughout this rite of passage, we gradually regain awareness of that which binds us, rather than seeing what divides us. Fritjof Capra, a physicist specialising in the theory of systems, demonstrates that “the major issues of our time (overpopulation, poverty, pollution, decreasing biodiversity, conflict, etc.) cannot be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems which means that they are all interdependent. This common ground of hardship seems to stem from our fragmented perception of ourselves and the world. Ultimately, all of these problems should be viewed as different facets of the same crisis – which is, primarily, a crisis of perception.” In the documentary, Toni Frohoff explains that it is also becoming just as important to learn to coexist within our very own species as it is to learn to coexist with other species. Our survival partially depends on this learning process. This requires us to reinvent our democracies, rebuild our institutions for them to be partners with the Earth system, educate our children and teenagers about harmony with Nature, strengthen their sense of wonder and collaborative spirit. In fact, there’s nothing dramatic about being interdependent. Perhaps this is the right time to move away from the question “what type of planet will we leave for our children?” and move towards “what type of children will we leave for our planet?”


Let's not forget that a passage represents a phase in itself. That’s why, for Monica Gagliano, we are simultaneously witnessing “the outburst of the teenager’s destructive behaviour” and new creative forces emerging. This passage takes us towards adulthood, the age of wisdom, in other words, an awareness of interdependence. As for defining the change needed to reach adulthood, we could borrow the term “holistic revolution” used by the Dalai Lama in the documentary. But most striking thing is the fact that all of the speakers have put their own spin on it: for our civilisation, becoming an adult and becoming aware of interdependence marks a great leap forward. As Gus Speth says, “I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy. and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.” This transformation is our biggest, most immediate challenge...

• Pathological adolescence
• Westernisation
• Interdependence
• Our relationship with time
• Transhumanism
• Coexistence
• Developing consciousness
• Holistic revolution



Tous reliés, interdépendants / Symbiose 133, Réseau IDée

Magazine for teachers and educators, special issue containing a wealth of information and tools to have a better understanding of interdependence. Living beings are never alone, it's all about relationships. Available as a free download on 


Petite histoire commentée du rapport de l’Homme à la nature / FIEW (Inter-environmental
Wallonia Federation)

Document looking into the ways in which we interact with the rest of the living world. The “dynamic spiral” reviews the different stages of evolution of the world and human beings throughout civilisations. Available as a free download on



Several environmental initiation centres offer great quality events, training courses and workshops. Have a look to find one near you! 

Réseau IDÉE (Beglium) 

Réseau FRENE (FRENE Network) 

GRAINES local networks (France)

are key players that focus on environmental education and gather educational tools and offers.


Ways of Being Alive / Baptiste Morizot

A great read. This book is about getting reacquainted by approaching the Earth's inhabitants, including humans, as ten million different ways of being alive. In this ode to interdependence, he comes up with solutions...

La fabrique des pandémies / M-M Robin

An essay about the many links between biodiversity and our health. The long list of emerging diseases ranging from Ebola to COVID-19 points to overwhelming evidence: the primary cause of these epidemics is the destruction of ecosystems. And the clear conclusion? The only antidote is to address our relationship with living things.

Nature and the Human Soul / Bill Plotkin

Superb book which describes in wonderful detail the different stages of human development from the perspective of an ecocentric society.

The Web of Life: A New Scientific
Understanding of Living Systems
/ Fritjof Capra

Taking an eminently systemic approach to our problems, he connects the dots between interdependence and the coexisting living being.

Mutual Aid: the Other Law of the Jungle / Gauthier Chapelle and Pablo Servigne

The authors show how rich collaborative relationships can be and demonstrate how mutual aid is an integral pillar of evolution.


Le droit du sol / Étienne Davodeau

This graphic novel is a wonderful examination of our relationship with soil, all along a hiking path that takes in everything from cave paintings to radioactive waste.



Regularly updated, operating in a similar way to the IPCC, this expert platform analyses biodiversity and ecosystem services. This report also has a “Summary for Policymakers” which is a reader-friendly, illustrated version. Much like the IPCC report, the 2022 edition containing observations and solutions is every bit as informative as it is overwhelming. 


The Living Planet Report / WWF

Updated annually, it provides an accurate overview of the state and evolution of the world’s biodiversity. A must-read to stay up-to-date with the latest figures and understand future implications.



Depending on your interests and level of commitment, many organisations are looking for volunteers, campaigners and activists. Here are some of them:

‣ Jane Goodall Institute

‣ Roots and Shoots

‣ Natagora


‣ Greenpeace


The following networks post job offers and volunteering positions. Go visit them now!

‣ Réseau IDÉE (Belgique)

‣ Réseau FRENE (France)

‣ Réseaux locaux GRAINES (France)

bottom of page