Green news in May

A tropical creation in the north and pioneering recycling in Paris

Tropics come to the Opal Coast
With a temperature fixed between 26C and 29C, tropical fish, birds and butterflies as well as a huge waterfall, Tropicalia will be the largest tropical greenhouse in the world built under a single dome, says its creator Cédric Guérin. “The visitor will have a change of scenery that they will not see elsewhere,” he said.

Highlights of the two-hectare site at Rang-du-Fliers near Berck in Nord-Pas de Calais, will include a tropical forest, a beach for skates and turtles, a touch pool, a huge basin for large Amazonian fish and a walking route more than 1km long.
Intended as an innovative space for biodiversity and research, work begins in early 2019 with a budget of €50million.

Sharing school dinners is a winner
Among the winners at the 27th association of Eco-Mayors’ Eco Actions awards was a “solidarity resilience” prize presented to the mairie of the IXth arrondissement of Paris, for its redistribution of food surpluses from canteens to local charities.

The Caisse des écoles entered into a partnership in spring 2017 with the association Le chaînon manquant (The missing link), which twice a week collects surplus food, produced by the central kitchen, from 90 professional partners in Ile-de-France. The association, which is now fully compliant with sanitary and food safety rules thanks to its refrigerated transport, has three electric vans, three employees and 150 volunteers.

The main Eco-Actions prize was awarded to the town of Rosny-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis), for the creation of a school eco-group at the Boutours nursery and primary school. “One might fear that the lack of resources allocated to communities will weaken the effort, but the opposite is happening,” said Eco-Mayors president, Guy Geoffroy.

Authorities combat eel traffickers
Wearing bulletproof vests and night vision goggles and carrying automatic pistols, environmental police in Charente have been out in force tracking traffickers of elver (baby eels, otherwise known as
glass eels), reported the Dépêche du Midi.

“We’ve had threats, agents beaten up, forced blockades... and in one case last year, gunshots,” said Nicolas Surugue, director of the French Agency for Biodiversity in Nouvelle Aquitaine. “It’s organised gangs, therefore presents potential risks to our agents,” he added.

The elver population has collapsed over the past 30 years and the eels sell for up to €400 per kilo in France and as much as €2,000 on the Asian market.

Last September, ten people in Nantes were convicted of elver poaching, three receiving prison terms. One defendant told police he had been out jogging at 3am.

Minister urges biodiversity anger
France’s Minister of Ecological Transition Nicolas Hulot gave an impassioned speech in French parliament calling for a “leap of indignation” to defend the planet’s fauna and flora, and deploring the fact that “nobody cares” about biodiversity.
“30% fewer birds in a few years, 80% fewer insects in Europe, the last large white rhino male in North Africa has disappeared. It doesn’t cause me pain, not anger, but shame,” he told MPs, who responded with a standing ovation.

“I just want to have a surge of outrage and reaction,” added Mr Hulot.