Inspiring Stories
7-Jacques Grinevald

Jacques Grinevald

Class of 1970
Member, Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (since 2010)
Emeritus Professor, Geneva Graduate Institute

Jacques Grinevald is an author, co-author and translator best known for his work on energy and development, the Anthropocene, the biosphere and degrowth. His research interests also focus on the history of science and technology, the greenhouse effect, climate change and fossil fuels. 

Grinevald arrived in Geneva from Paris at the age of 5 because his father, Théodore Grinevald,  was appointed to the International Labour Office. He studied political science in Geneva at the Institute but was mainly interested in critical epistemology, so he enrolled in a master programme on philosophy at Besançon. 

While finishing his degree he joined the University of Geneva’s Press and Information Service, initially as a Writer/Editor and eventually as Interim Department Manager

In 1974, Grinevald met Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, who changed Grinevald’s ethics and thinking on development economics and epistemology.

Grinevald brought the science of ecology to the Institute in addition to all the multiple disciplines dealing with the environment and development issues. He calls himself an intellectual nomad due to his transdisciplinarity. With this approach, Grinevald was a Teacher/Researcher at the Institute from 1973 to 2007 and Professor until 2011. 

While teaching the History of Technology at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), he kept political and scientific ecology in the forefront. Before the 1990s and especially the Rio Conference of 1992, he taught this course without explicitly talking about global  ecology.

Grinevald has defended sustainable development and the biosphere since its early stage despite criticism.He defended Georgescu-Roegen's degrowth model,  which he views as a new civilizational model.

Fellow of the Geological Society of London, Grinevald has been a member of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy since 2010. He was the winner of the Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen Award 2015 in Unconventional Thinking for his work on degrowth, the Anthropocene and bioeconomics. He didn't fly to India to accept the award, continuing his commitment to ethical and ecological concerns, adhering to his strong principle of “no fly and degrowth”.