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25 - De la nature à l’écologie

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Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, Fabien Locher

Regenerate nature, restore the climate: François-Antoine Rauch and the Annales Européennes de physique végétale et d’économie publique, 1815-1830

Le Temps des médias n° 25, Automne 2015, p. 52-69.

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This article studies the campaign launched under the Restoration, by the state engineer Francois-Antoine Rauch, to denounce the dangers of deforestation. It analyses Rauch’s political and intellectual career, so as to characterize his posture as a « whistle-blower ». It focuses in particular on the content and reception of his journal, Les Annales Européennes de physique végétale et d’économie publique, whose circulation was up to several thousands of copies in the 1820s. This journal participated in the politicization of deforestation and its climatic consequences in France and proposed a powerful prophetic discourse, both visual and rhetorical, on ecological decline and improvement, casting oriental societies as an environmental foil. In this respect, Rauch made a lasting contribution to the history of European environmental discourse and reflexivity that we seek to characterize.

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