For the navigator Kito de Pavant: “Astronauts and scientists are the new discoverers”

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Port-Camargue-based navigator Kito de Pavant is taking part in the “Better inhabit the Earth” festival this weekend in the Cité de l’Espace. The opportunity for the sailor, committed to restoring the forests, to discuss with the public the tools to preserve the planet.

A sailor on the Cité de l’Espace is rare! What brings you closer to astronauts?

A few centuries ago, sailors were the discoverers, they drew the contours of the earth; astronauts and scientists took over. They replaced sailors in the discovery of other worlds. Science has made us progress, but what are we to do with all this knowledge? What are we doing with this planet that we know is deteriorating very very fast? Copernicus, which we are going to talk about in the Cité de l’espace, is one of the Earth observation programs that makes it possible to see this.

You who have sailed on the planet’s garden, when did you become aware of the degradation of our environment?

It is rather on land that we realize that at sea, life remains wild. When you come out of an adventure like the Vendée globe, you feel that nature still has all its rights and that it is with the human population that everything is going badly. Let’s take forests, a topic that is close to my heart (Kito de Pavant supports “Reforest Action”, editor’s note): we see how much we spend everything on this planet, without worrying about the follow-up and the consequences of our actions. We experienced a few centuries ago the gold rush, soon, not too soon, I hope, we will have water and air rush, which will be the two most important riches …

Does the use of science allow us to be optimistic?

We have an incredible knowledge of our environment and its degradation, we also have tools, but we must see how the people find solutions to preserve what is still possible to maintain.

The room also has its own paradoxes, it is polluted …

Everyone has a strong environmental impact. We must weigh the pros and cons between knowledge and the development of this knowledge. We need space, but not delirium by going there for tourism or polluting it.

How do sailors get involved in reflection?

This discussion exists among sailors, many riders engage in many topics. The sailors have become aware that we are going upside down and that we are going straight into the wall. We attribute a lot of virtues to our discipline, and it’s true that it’s great to cross the oceans just by being pushed by the wind, but we also build boats with very harmful resins, we use a lot of raw materials that become rare … We could change the rules, go around the world with old boats or recycle boats, but it will be long and not fast enough.

Could we do without satellites to navigate?

Yes, since we have been doing it for centuries! But it is also very difficult to go back, the satellites clearly help us to position ourselves. Today, young sailors no longer use the sextant, no longer know the stars, they press the button on the satellite positioning system, and that is more than enough for them.

What will be your next adventure?

I am preparing the Route du rhum, which starts in November 2022. It will be my fourth. This race made me dream as a child and I had to wait until I was 50 years old to participate in it … So I missed a few! But frustration is a driving force, both for sailors and for scientists working in space!

Festival “Better inhabit the earth” in the Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse

This Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd of May 2022, from kl. 10.00 to 18.00, Cité de l’espace de 2.and edition of the “Better inhabit the Earth” festival. Admission included in the entrance ticket.

Saturday, May 21 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm meeting with Kito de Pavant. Based in the Port-Camargue in the Mediterranean, Kito de Pavant made his first crossing of the Atlantic in 1981. His victory in the Solitaire du Figaro in 2002, the first of a long series around the world, opened the doors to the most prestigious races: Transat Jacques Vabre, Transat AG2R, Route du Rhum (he became number 3 in 2014), Solitaire du Figaro … In 2020, he decided to add an environmental dimension to his “Made In Midi” project for the development of races in the Mediterranean and chooses to sail while raising public awareness of forest conservation and restoration globally by committing to Reforest’Action.
Free, upon registration.
Information at and Tel: 05 67 22 23 24

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