Billebaude n ° 13



How is the red list of threatened species, which assesses the degree of threat to species in mainland France and overseas, drawn up by scientists? How, in a time of biodiversity crisis, can it serve as a compass for carrying out conservation programs for endangered species? What does the disappearance of species do to our sensitivity? How to deal with this feeling of loss while retaining the capacity to act? Based on this increasingly alarming scientific observation, this issue of Billebaude will seek to explore forms of cohabitation in order to live in harmony with other living beings.

An issue produced in partnership with IUCN France (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).


Billebaude Collection

96 pages, 230 x 300 mm
Public price TTC France:

François Sommer Foundation

Anne de Malleray
Director of collection
Tel: 01 53 01 92 40

Facebook page Billebaude




"That one species mourns another, this is a novelty under the sun1 », noted Aldo Leopold about the monument dedicated to the extinct American migratory pigeon, inaugurated in 1947 in Wyalusing National Park (Wisconsin). The crisis of mass extinction of species that we are going through today is not the first in Earth's history. But it is unique in that it is caused by a species, Homo sapienswhose way of life impacts that of other living beings.

With its network of scientists, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is at the forefront. The organization updates and develops in particular the global red list of threatened species, a barometer of the state of conservation of biodiversity, and draws up recommendations to try to stop its loss.
The project of a joint issue with the French Committee of IUCN was born from a desire to create an exploration space at the crossroads of conservation sciences, human sciences and the arts to think about this crisis.

To "Compose a new pact with the living", as its director calls it, we need the knowledge produced by natural history, evolutionary sciences, scientific ecology and conservation programs deployed in the field, but also to question this crisis in terms of affects and sensitivity. This issue was thus fueled by common questions about what the study of living things could mean in times of extinction and the sharing of alarming scientific findings that do not reduce to despair, but give the ability to act.

There is a double meaning in the idea of ​​confronting. First, to face up, to find out how to respond to the crisis, with what ideas, what practices, what strategies. And face up, in the sense of taking the measure, living with this crisis and the disappearances that it brings about. The articulation between these two nuances of the word runs through the whole issue.

We wanted to publish stories and works of art that draw on the tradition of storytelling and naturalistic representations. They question our modern scientific history and reinvest the aesthetic power of these formats. Using hollowed-out naturalist boards, the artist Brandon Ballangée explores the questions of mourning, ritual and absence, without this amounting to giving in to despair or tipping into the aestheticization of loss. On the contrary, because the challenge for us is to revive and make communicative the joy that there is "Explore life" around you, this biophilia, about which the entomologist Edward Wilson, inventor of the word biodiversity, speaks. "It is as far as we come to understand other organizations that we will give them more value, as to ourselves", he writes in the preface to Biophilia2 as an optimistic observation about the power contained in the life sciences to recreate links. In this issue, you will be able to follow entomologists, leaning on the butterflies of the fields, who bring out a living world behind the banal prairie, discover the evolutionary saga of the Hawaiian snails, explore the animal ancestralities of humans who reaffirm us to other living. Collectively reinvesting naturalistic practices and knowledge, experimenting with modes of cohabitation, telling other stories… These are all paths explored here to face the sixth extinction.

1. The Almanac of a County of Sands, Aldo Leopold, Flammarion, 2000, original edition 1948 2. Biophilia, Edward Wilson, Corti editions, 2012.





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