The notion of sobriety is an old notion. Which, in the current context, seems to want to be brought up to date. In different areas, but always with the idea of moderation in mind.
According to the responsible consumption barometer published in May 2021 (GreenFlex, Ademe), 93% of French people believe that all or part of our economic model. And 61% consider that consuming responsibly today means above all removing the superfluous (+ 3% compared to the 2019 barometer). Sobriety, summed up in two words, is a bit like that. But the subject is vast and complex. It has also been passionately debated for several weeks now on the EDF Pulse & You platform. You may also have your say …
In the meantime, if we come back to the definition given by the Larousse, sobriety is the quality of someone who behaves with restraint. Who opts for simplicity and avoids the accessory. It is in this sense that sobriety could provide answers to our current difficulties: global warming, decline in biodiversity or even increasing inequalities.
Let us first remember that this is a notion that we have inherited from ancient philosophical and religious traditions. But a questioning about our modern lifestyles made it reappear. Since the idea of ” volontary simplicity “ mentioned in the 1930s to that of ” Stop at the crossing “ proposed by the Club of Rome in 1972 through the critics of the ” consumer society“ developed in the 1960s and 1970s.
The #sobriety poses a problem of social acceptability?
Not necessarily !
Energy sobriety is at the top of the proposals resulting from the citizens’ consultation on the future of Europe, in response to the climate and environmental challenge.
So, do we get started? pic.twitter.com/jVYVGpkh8n
– Anne Bringault (@AnneBringault) October 18, 2021
Shake up our lifestyles
Today, in France, the term mainly refers to the idea of energy sobriety. The notion is very different from that of efficiency. But it appears to be completely complementary. Because, if both allow us to limit ourenergy consumption, the second proposes to fix them at a level ” sufficient “. By organizing ourselves to promote moderation, by dimensioning our equipment perfectly, by using it better or by sharing it, for example. One way not to lose the benefit of energy efficiency gained through thermal regulations by expanding our homes excessively or aiming for an unnecessarily high heating temperature.
And if, in a broader sense, some simply associate the term sobriety with that of degrowth – with the reluctance that goes with it -, most researchers, economic actors, politicians or even citizens consider it rather as a way of consuming less while living better. A way of hanging up a certain limit in our consumption of goods and even of services to an increase in our quality of life and our well-being.
So the idea of sobriety she calls into question our very way of approaching life. It questions our representations. Our way of considering mass consumption as a vector of social inclusion. It comes in total opposition to the omnipresence of advertising messages. And calls for reorienting our economy towards uses that would adapt to our real needs. Sobriety, it must be admitted, could be difficult for some to adopt, depending on where they live or their social situation. But, in the end, it would aim to generate both environmental and social value and a better life for all. Perhaps you have experiences to share in this area? So, do not hesitate to join the Pulseurs already engaged in the debate on the EDF Pulse & You platform.
Subject carried out in partnership with EDF teams.
Interested in what you just read?