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Green news - July 2018

Eco news from around France

Museum honours ecology activist

A ‘natural museum’ dedicated to Jean-Marie Pelt, the celebrated biologist, botanist and ecology pioneer from Metz, has been inaugurated in Ogy-Montoy-Flanville, east of the Grand Est city.

Spread over four hectares, the ‘museum’ boasts nine themed gardens, chickens, geese, 120 species of plants, a two-kilometre trail of heritage vegetables, medicinal plants, and a beehive school. There are also allotments for the cultivation of fruit and vegetables, and a grocery store for the sale of produce.

A trained pharmacist with ecologically militant convictions and a scientific background, Jean-Marie Pelt travelled extensively around the world to carry out plant research, before becoming a writer and radio broadcaster. He was a fervent opponent of GM crops, and died in December 2015.

Eco-tourism tests in Calanques

In May, eco-tourism professionals gathered in Marseille to test and evaluate a youth-focused eco-tourism package in the Calanques National Park.

The five-night trip focused on the discovery of the park through multi-sport activities, in order to shed a different light on the park’s conservation activities, as well as on the history and culture of the Calanques (narrow, steep-walled inlets).

Partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund, DestiMED brings together 13 marine and coastal protected areas to develop, manage and collectively promote ecotourism throughout the Mediterranean region.

Mont Blanc pollution claim

Fourteen residents in the Arve valley, Haute-Savoie, have filed a court appeal in Grenoble, claiming that authorities have not done enough to combat air pollution.

The valley is one of the most polluted areas in France thanks to the 550,000 trucks that pass through the Mont-Blanc tunnel every year.

The claimants’ lawyer François Lafforgue says links between poor health and pollution are easily proven. “We already have general studies”, he told France Infos. “Plus various testimonies of those who experienced respiratory difficulties after moving to the Arve valley, and others during pollution peaks”.

The local gendarmerie has registered more than 540 complaints from people requesting an investigation into various sources of pollution, with victims seeking up to €100,000 in compensation.

MP makes party switches

The former Minister of Ecology Delphine Batho and Députée in Deux-Sèvres has quit the Socialist Party (PS) to become the head of Génération Ecologie, the environmentally-focused political movement created in 1991. She succeeds Yves Piétrasanta.

“I aimed to make the PS an environmentalist and feminist force, she told Le Monde. “But another conservative path has been chosen.”

“I want ecology no longer to be seen as an auxiliary or marginal force. Ecology is the historical issue of this century,” added Ms Batho. “Ecology is everywhere in society, but it is nowhere in the political landscape.”

PS First Secretary Olivier Faure said he was “surprised” by Batho’s decision. “She is leaving at precisely the ecological turning point of the Socialists.”

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