“Well done young people! Thank you for having said so loudly, another way is possible. » This is one of the emails that Théophile Duchâteau remembers best, moved by “this grandpa who worked for AgroParisTech in the 1980s and became a breeder in the process”, wishing to congratulate them after the immense media noise aroused by their speech. He is one of the eight “bifurcating” students on stage, on April 30, 2022, during the annual graduation ceremony of the prestigious AgroParisTech engineering school, training mainly executives and engineers from the agri-food sector. The eight comrades gave a speech of rupture, critical of their training and its outlets which push, according to them, “to participate in the ongoing environmental and social devastation” while maintaining “an agro-industry that waged war on the living”.
That day, they invited their class and “all who doubt” to turn away from it, just like concepts such as “green energy or growth”For “fork, desert, before being stuck by financial obligations”, and join fields of ecological and peasant struggles. A journey that they themselves undertook, citing their experiences within the zone to defend (ZAD) of Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique), with the movement of the Uprisings of the Earth, or even in beekeeping training. Filmed, the seven-minute sequence had landed on social networks and generated, in a few days, more than ten million views, tweets from political figures, soon platforms full of empathy or severity towards them.
If other speeches by engineers critical of their training had already been delivered, “This has a historical dimension, both in terms of its media coverage and its explicitly political rhetoric. It has forced a number of engineers to position themselves on ecological issues, that is to say, to designate those responsible and to identify the relevant action strategies.analyzes Antoine Bouzin, engineer and doctoral student in sociology working on ecological activism within this profession.
“The graduates of AgroParisTech clearly denounce the harmful effects of the technique, they claim the bifurcation as a militant act, distinct from an individual approach to professional retraininghe continues. This posture is not necessarily pleasant to hear for engineers who are generally not very politicized, not subject to reflexivity, whose professions linked to the dissemination of innovation guarantee them an often comfortable career and good levels of remuneration. »
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