Naturism - an ecological choice
A naturist's philosophy of life is based on three fundamental factors: respect for oneself and for others, nudity in a group, and respect for the environment. As well as providing the basis of naturism, these three simple factors are concepts which are taught to children in the hope that respect for nature and the protection of natural landscapes are perpetuated by future generations.
"Nudity is natural". The naturist wants to return to his or her original nature and such a desire necessarily implies respect for and protection of the environment. The definition of naturism given by the French Federation of Naturism continues in this ecological vein: "Naturism is a way of living in harmony with nature. It is characterised by practising nudity with others, a practice which aims to encourage self-respect, respect for others and care for the environment." Naturism could then be seen as a type of ecology. In many definitions you will find the following phrase: "Naturist has evolved from the word nature". But this ecological or organic vein, as some call it, is much more than a simple definition for naturists.
There seem to be far more ecological initiatives started by naturists than by their "clothed" counterparts. For example, the French Federation for Naturism is a partner of the Foundation for Environmental Education (Fondation pour l’Education à l’Environnement). The French "Clé Verte" (literally "green key") label is awarded to tourist sites which make efforts to protect the environment, whether this is through water management schemes, green energy, waste management or raising awareness of environmental issues through the use of labels and notices. It is no surprise to learn that the majority of naturist sites have been awarded this label.
One of the FFN's aims is to raise the profile of naturism among the general public, emphasising that naturism should not be confused with nudism. The organisation holds regular conferences, the latest of which was held on the 18-19 April and which dealt precisely with this issue of the relationship between naturism and the environment. Subjects debated included "Naturism and the Environment", "Environmental Education" and "The Environment". In other words, once man decides to return to nature and the source of life, a strong bond with nature is the result. It is almost inevitable that any self-respecting naturist will necessarily behave in an ecological way.
Julien, aged 24, has been a naturist for five years. He became interested in the subject in a very natural way during adolescence.
For him, a "committed" naturist believes that the conservation of nature is of primary importance. "Most naturists are also environmentalists, although obviously there are always exceptions, as in everything." His personal naturist and environmental vision focuses on acceptance, a curiosity about the world and about himself.
"I think very seriously about the issues of organic food and vegetarianism, and for a while I worked at a publishing house which specialised in sustainable development. However, my own interest lies particularly in depopulation and voluntary simplicity. I understand the term ecology in its broadest sense to include "the ecology of oneself" or our own nature. If we look at environmental issues on their own, then it's as if we consider them to be separate from ourselves, something outside ourselves.
I don't do anything particularly noticeable or ostentatious for the environment in the limited sense that we normally use the term. I don't take part in mass action or demonstrations, I just lead my own life at my own pace, without making demands on anyone else. As I live in a large city, I usually get around on foot or by public transport if I have a long journey. I shop at the market, which avoids the use of plastic bags, so it's on a far more human scale than the large supermarkets.
Some say that we are connected to nature, whereas I say that we "are nature". Naturism is no more than a simple return to nature, a return to our true selves. Taking one's clothes off prompts us to consider who we are, or even what we are. My naturism is a return to nature with a capital N, including myself. It seems to me that I'm gradually getting in touch with the truth of my life...something which is surely the quest of a whole lifetime...".