March 2009

Protector of Natural Habitats

“God sleeps in stones, dreams in plants, awakes in animals, takes conscience in men”, is the beginning of the book “An Hour with Creation”, Franz Weber’s last publication (2009). With this Native-American quote, the author recalls not only Emmanuel Kant’s categorical imperative, which says every human should act only according to principles that he wishes to become a universal law.

But further Kant’s moral philosophy, Franz Weber follows another philosopher’s precepts, Arthur Schopenhauer, who goes beyond the idea that only men have a reasonable nature and he includes in it all living beings. The formal difference between men and animals vanishes. “We will finally learn how to communicate with animals, plants and everything that loves and vibrates around us, we will be able at last to coexist in harmony, to be in symbiosis with them, to – literally – live with them”, Franz Weber is convinced.

For five decades, Weber fought for a morally responsible approach to animals and nature. “To me and to probably the vast majority of Swiss people, you are the embodiment of environmental protection in the broadest sense, even before this term gained the popularity it enjoys today,” wrote former Swiss President Moritz Leuenberger about Switzerland’s most famous environmentalist. And Jean Ziegler, human rights expert of the UN, calls Franz Weber “one of the greatest and most important Europeans of our time”.

“I am a protector of natural habitats” is how 90-year-old Franz Weber modestly sums up his impressive life and outstanding life’s work.

Photo: Initiative “Sauver Lavaux”: Franz Weber with the great Vaud writers and poets, Jean Villard Gilles, left and Henri Deblüe, right