Testimony Laudato Si - Lucie Tailhades

Lucie Tailhades in Asia

Meeting Lucie Tailhades to speak of her Laudato Si path !

Who am I?

25 years old entrepreneur, I am developing TrendEthics, a social and ecological incubator for South East Asian ethnic groups. My objective is to help these ethnic groups to live from their know-how & culture to get out of precariousness and maintain their way of life respectful of the environment.

My triggers ?

I had 3 triggers in my conversion of integral ecology:
- As an engineer by training, I specialised in the environment and was thus able to take a scientific approach to environmental and social issues. On the one hand, through figures 1 death out of 6 in the world is due to pollution, but also by studying waste treatment solutions, I realised that it was a question of compromises rather than good or bad ways of doing things.
- An internship in energy transition, a green business exists and is not necessarily the best solution.
- In 2017, the reading of the Encyclical 'Laudato Si', "everything is connected" and we have so much to learn from the poorest.

Thus I understood that beyond technical solutions, it was the behaviours that needed to be changed: to consume less, to be more sober, to have more moments of spirituality. 

What change in life?

After volunteering in Vietnam with Les Missions Etrangères Paris, I worked in a large company and then I decided to rediscover a unity of life! Indeed, for several years I felt a very strong call to take the example of the poorest and to put them at the heart of the construction of a new ecological and solidarity model. In July 2019, I therefore decided to go for a year to meet ethnic groups in South East Asia thanks to the Asia Prize of the Bourse de l'Aventure Chrétienne to:
- discover the link between their beliefs and their ecology
- take their example: ethnic groups represent 5% of the population, but preserve 80% of biodiversity (according to the WorldBank)
- help them to maintain this way of life by supporting local initiatives and structuring weaving programs in the villages (in connection with TrendEthics)

What did I learn about ethnicity?

I have met about ten ethnic groups (Laos, Cambodia, Burma and Vietnam) and each time I have been able to see a different relationship to money: it is not at the centre of their lives. Money is simply seen as a means and when we have it, we lend it to those in need and vice versa. They live in the present moment, which can be problematic (little savings) but also allows them to be self-sufficient with what they have. A sister told me that when she brought sweets to children, they never asked for a second one!

On the other hand, it is because they live in and with nature that they know it and know that they need it to live and protect it. The animist culture is sometimes still present, a young man of the K'Ho ethnic group told me "if I cut down a tree when I don't need it, the spirit of the forest will not be happy". Of course, the arrival of other peoples who come to help themselves in the forest or present them with plastic without explaining that it is not biodegradable disrupts this way of life.

Finally, this knowledge of the forest allows them to feed themselves with a variety of plants according to the seasons, but also to have ecological farming methods without knowing it: fallow land, compost, few pesticides because they do not want to kill insects etc. The next step is often technical training in new ecological farming techniques.

What is the reaction of those around me when I left for Asia?

When I decided to leave my job to develop TrendEthics full time and to go and meet these ethnic groups I had mainly positive reactions, even envy. Many young and old dream of an activity with more meaning! The main worries were about the security of such a trip and financial concerns! So I prepared this trip well to reassure my family and friends.

My vision of integral ecology?

In his Encyclical, the Pope describes this concept perfectly: 
"The poorer regions and countries have less opportunity to adopt new models for reducing the impact of human activities on the environment, because they lack the training to develop the necessary processes, and they cannot afford the costs. For this reason, it is necessary to maintain a clear awareness that in climate change there are diverse responsibilities and, as the Bishops of the United States have expressed it, there is a need to focus "especially on the needs of the poor, the weak and the vulnerable, in a debate often dominated by the interests of the most powerful".31 [31]

We need to strengthen the awareness that we are one human family. There are no borders or political or social barriers that allow us to isolate ourselves, and for this very reason there is no room for the globalization of indifference". (52)
I believe that we must offer the poorest people alternative models of development while allowing the richest to support this new ecological and solidarity model.
How can we embark on a 'Laudato Si' way of life?
Let's take the example of those ethnic groups who are self-sufficient in what they have, show creativity in using the resources around them while respecting them, don't run out of time! In France too, our grandparents, the monasteries (a typical example of integral ecology), young and not so young people develop beautiful initiatives and share them.
Perhaps the first step is to contemplate, contemplate creation, listen to it and breathe in order to put oneself at its rhythm and be inspired by it.

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