We were in France on vacation this year, and I was interested to see a growing deep green orientation there. In the past, it has always felt like France was lagging behind Germany, Sweden, and the UK in addressing climate change on the ground. I could feel a difference this year though – in the street art, growing bio street markets, and green initiatives.
In Paris, a year long planning process resulted last year in “le Grand Paris“, sponsored by President Sarkozy as a way to reshape the capitol to have a smaller footprint in the coming centuries. Several new deep green skyscrapers, such as Hypergreen, have been proposed in the last several years. Just in the last two years, Paris has started a dedicated effort to promote bicycling, and there was a new bike rental program called Velib which was used by lots of folks, including commuters – in a short amount of time it has become a great success.
Out in the countryside, PV panels were showing up on roofs. Folks said the big controversy was the local planning authorities were concerned about the aesthetic integration of the panels on the historic tile roofs. All in all, really positive signs – you could feel the change in the air.