• Research,
  • Life of the Institution,

Julien Bétaille joins the scientific council of the NGO "Fondation pour la Nature et l'Homme"

on the March 8, 2024

His mission? Julien Bétaille looks beyond the texts to analyse their application in the field, to promote a humanist vision of ecology. Discover the interview.

Climate change, loss of biodiversity... Environmental law is a key instrument in the fight against climate and ecological crises. Beyond the texts, its application is a crucial issue. On 7 March 2024, Julien Bétaille, a specialist in environmental law at the IEJUC, Faculty of Law of Toulouse Capitole University and a junior member of the Institut universitaire de France (IUF), joined the Scientific Council of the Fondation pour la Nature et l’homme (FNH), an independent NGO working to make ecological solutions the norm.
  • Why join an NGO as a researcher?

I have always been interested in contributing to social debates on the environment. Legal research leads to the accumulation of knowledge about the law and its application: this is useful to civil society players such as the Fondation pour la Nature et l'Homme.
At a time when environmental issues are becoming increasingly divisive, sometimes bordering on caricature, I think it's very important to encourage democratic debate.

As researchers, we cannot be content with incantatory speeches.

  • How is your commitment different from a personal commitment?

This is not an activist role: the Scientific Council is there to provide rationality and help the Foundation base its actions on solid knowledge. The Foundation has been strongly committed to this for a long time, and it's also what makes it unique among environmental NGOs. On a more personal level, it's a great opportunity because the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board is a unique forum for interdisciplinary exchange, with most scientific disciplines represented. I know I'm going to learn a lot and that these exchanges will also feed into my research.

It's very important to fuel democratic deliberation.

  • What aspects of environmental law require urgent action?

Since the 1970s, environmental law has developed considerably and spread to all fields of law. Today, in the face of worsening ecological crises, we probably need to go beyond symbolic advances and work more seriously on improving the application of this law. Even if this is not the dominant culture in France, there is an urgent need for a better assessment of existing systems. It is on this evidence that we will be able to identify the real needs, either in terms of improving what already exists, or in terms of creating new rules. As researchers, we cannot be content with incantatory speeches.

  • What is the focus of your research at Toulouse Capitole University?

I'm working on a research project as part of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF), which focuses on these issues of evaluating the application of the law. I am nearing the end of the first phase, which is devoted to the epistemological foundations of this type of approach: the contributions from an international conference organised in Toulouse in June 2023 will soon be published in an international journal, and several other personal works will follow.

I am also preparing the second, more operational phase of this project. This will involve collective and interdisciplinary work (with conservation biologists, economists, computer scientists, etc.), the aim of which will be to assess the impact of environmental law on reality and to try to clarify, using 'proof', the reasons why it does or does not work.

+ Find out more about Julien Bétaille's research (video) :

Measuring the impact of laws on reality - Julien Bétaille's IUF project

Updated on March 13, 2024