As a doctoral student and assistant to the Master in Environmental Sciences, my research focuses on the human perception of nature and the relationship with animals, especially birds, in contemporary times.

After a bachelor's degree in art history and archaeology, I graduated with a master's degree in ethics, option development, environment and economy, at the Université libre de Bruxelles. My dissertation focused on current issues related to the integration of natural entities in our public policies by proposing a rereading of Charles Darwin's work. More specifically, my research focused on how Darwin managed to reconcile the competitive aspect of evolution by natural selection with the existence of cooperative phenomena and the emergence of morality. By offering a perspective rooted in the philosophy of complexity, I have tried to add nuance to often simplified theses, and to offer a better understanding of the interactions between living beings, whether among themselves or with their environment.

Today, my thesis continues the reflection started in my dissertation by focusing on one of the first socio-ecological transitions that Belgium experienced. The catalyst for this transition was the recognition by 19th century decision-makers of the "usefulness" of birds, which resulted in their protection through a series of legislations. The purpose of this study will be to shed light on the causes and consequences of this transition, notably through an ethical analysis of the situation resulting from the legislation.

Field of activity
    Environmental history, social movements and historical ecology
    Environmental ethics and bioethics
    Political philosophy and international relations

Teaching and activities
As a teaching assistant, I devote half of my time to teaching and the other half to my doctoral research. I am therefore required to intervene in several courses of the Master in Environmental Sciences and Management and to supervise theses.

Research projects
My thesis deals with one of the first documented socio-ecological transitions in Belgium. This transition is based on the recognition of the service provided by birds in the field of agriculture and has led to a change in the consumption patterns of rural populations that used to feed on songbirds. The goal will be to better understand the ins and outs of this policy, to identify the "beneficiaries" as well as the "losers" in a socio-environmental perspective. This study will allow me to shed light on some of the current problems related to transition policies by analyzing the reasons why bird protection did not work in the first place, which will inform on the mistakes that need to be addressed to allow transition policies to reach a high level of sustainability.

Chaidron, Marie, "De l'ornithologie économique aux services écosystémiques : La protection des oiseaux en Belgique (1830-1945)", VertigO, 2024 (forthcoming)
Updated on May 30, 2023