The writer and philosopher Pierre Rabhi, figure of agroecology in France, co-founder of the Colibris movement, died at the age of 83, AFP learned from his family on Saturday.

Author in particular of

Towards happy sobriety

, sold more than 460,000 copies, this activist of the environmental cause, adored by personalities like Cyril Dion and Marion Cotillard, died on Saturday following a cerebral hemorrhage, told AFP his son, Vianney.

A charismatic autodidact

Pierre Rabhi was an activist who tirelessly preached all his life for a sober existence and for agroecology.

Sandals on the feet, velvet pants and suspenders, well-cut goat, Pierre Rabhi was "52 kilos all wet" but a real charisma and formulas that hit the mark to call for an "insurrection of conscience".

Born in 1938 at the gates of the Sahara, he was very early torn between "modernity and tradition", when his father entrusted him to a family of French settlers, in order to provide him with better education.

Rabah will then become Peter.

"Heartbreaks, ruptures, sufferings, there was a lot of it", confided this autodidact, rooted in Ardèche since 1961, after having left Algeria at the beginning of the "events" and known "the imprisonment" of 'a Parisian life.

A craftsman of his own life

At the factory, he will meet Michèle, executive secretary and future mother of his five children, with whom he is working on this return to the land, in a desire to “disalienate” because “we were not born to produce”.

To buy what will become their farm, the frail Pierre Rabhi, moved by "the tenacious energy of the people of the desert", will become a mason, carpenter, ironworker, truffle picker, farm worker ...

He will remain as one of the pioneers of agroecology - an agricultural practice aimed at regenerating the natural environment by excluding pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

A method applied from the 1980s in sub-Saharan Africa, where he made many trips.

A political parenthesis

Reference in the ecologist and alter-globalist seraglio, the one who was the friend of Thomas Sankara or the legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin, experienced some media exposure in 2002, during an ephemeral presidential candidacy, for, already, "to introduce in the debate the ecological and human emergency ”.

He will then divide his time between interviews, animation of his foundations, conferences and writing of books… Even if in this rich program, the gardening time was "not negotiable".

The energy of the hummingbird

Pierre Rabhi often told the Amerindian legend of hummingbirds: “History says that one day there was a big forest fire.

All the animals were discouraged.

On the other hand, the hummingbird does not give up, it will take a drop of water in its beak and will throw it on the fire.

For a moment the armadillo said to him: "hummingbird, are you not going to believe that it is with these drops of water that you are going to put out the fire?"

He replies: "I know it but I am doing my part" ".

He will make a maxim - "everyone must do their part" - and co-found the Hummingbird movement with the militant writer Cyril Dion.

In him, the Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard saw a “brother of conscience”.

And he will be adored by actress Marion Cotillard.

“I don't want to be a guru,” he said, however.

A posterity

The countless works of Pierre Rabhi meet each time an undeniable success.

Starting with his advocacy book,

Towards happy sobriety

, sold more than 460,000 copies since its publication in 2010, according to its publisher Actes Sud.

"Agroecology is recognized now, even by the United Nations, as being the right solution to solve the problems of food in the world", he rejoiced.

It "has benefited greatly from scientific advances in the understanding of soils and biological life".

Without a party, militant of "joy" rather than "degrowth", Pierre Rabhi categorically rejected the notion of "sustainable development", "a stupidity adjusted to economic growth".


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