Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Environnement et éCosociété: Histoire, Acteurs, éConomie, Gestion, Droit, éCologie, Patrimoine, Santé et Sécurité Publique (Environment and Ecosociety: History, Actors, Economy, Managing, Law, Heritage, Health and Public Safety)

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Environnement et éCosociété: Histoire, Acteurs, éConomie, Gestion, Droit, éCologie, Patrimoine, Santé et Sécurité Publique (Environment and Ecosociety: History, Actors, Economy, Managing, Law, Heritage, Health and Public Safety)

Article excerpt

Wackermann, Gabriel (Ed.). Environnement et écosociété : Histoire, acteurs, économie, gestion, droit, écologie, patrimoine, santé et sécurité publique. Paris: Ellipses, 2011. (in French). 764 pp. 978729863036. euro35.50

As an important reference book in French (its title means "Environment and Ecosociety") this is A-Z dictionary of 2000 terms related to the study of nature, ecology, and the environment in a broad sense, although linked with social action and aiming for social change. The editor, Gabriel Wackermann, is professor (emeritus) at La Sorbonne. Countless definitions are provided for hundreds of specialised concepts, expressions and subthemes uncommon to most dictionaries such as "écologie du paysage" ("landscape ecology"), "éco-matériau" ("eco-product") (p. 240), "éco-prêt" ("eco-loan") (p. 250) "éco-réfugié" ("eco-refugee") (p. 252), or "Ecosquare" (p. 256). Entries are usually one page long and sometimes include bibliographical references (mostly in French). There are not just words beginning with the "eco" prefix gathered in this book! Aiming for an interdisciplinary approach and various connections, many concepts and disciplines (e.g. entries on "identity", "ideology", "island", "imaginary", etc.) are defined and discussed as well within the realm of environmental studies and ecocitizenship. One finds as well entries for persons and theoreticians (like Ernst Haeckel, who created the word "ecology", p. 368) and various acronyms such as GAEC ("Groupement agricole d'exploitation en commun", "Agricultural Grouping joint operation ", p. 361).

Beyond the familiar names and inevitable terms linked to the preservation of nature, the most interesting passages are dedicated to the more complex notions in environmental studies. Given its many dimensions and related debates, four separate entries and nine pages are dedicated solely to the definition (and delimitations) of sustainable development (pp. 201-209). This welcome deepening of some core concepts confirms the accuracy and pertinence of such reference books in specialized domains. The first entry on sustainable development begins with a clarification, reminding us that the ultimate goal is the well being of everyone and the advent of an eco-society (p. …

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