Friday, October 9, 2009

green paris

there is literally quite a lot of green. as cities go, paris seems to be well treed (an invented but necessary word). but there's also the other kind of green, the kind that signifies an ideology, a lifestyle, a cultural movement, and a guilt complex capitalized on by corporations. paris, although it has its overlapping highway moonscapes (out somewhere i don't really have to look at them), warm car exhaust winds, and lots and lots of pee (which definitely counts as a pollutant, if only to one's nose), feels pretty clean for a major metropolis. here are some reasons why:

>two-button toilets: yes, that is the technical term (not really. i think the technical term is dual-flush). fairly simple math: small button is for small flushes, big button is for bigger ones. but, having grown up in extravagant america, it took me a while to figure this out. just think how much water they save (in case you don't want to do it in your head: about 2/3 of what is used by a regular toilet). and they're everywhere.

>carbon taxes: they're not in place yet, but sarkozy has said that over the next year taxes on the emission of co2 will be put in place. let's hope.

>timed hall/stairwell lights: because people forget to turn them off, and then polar bears die.

>density: paris is small. as such, it has an incredibly efficient public transport system, the possibility of walking places, and less far for cars to travel as they go on their merry, planet-killing way.

>vélib: bicycles, for almost free, everywhere. i personally hate riding bikes. but as a general practice of the parisian population, i have to give it a (green) thumbs up.

everyone know those online tests you can take to calculate your ecological footprint? if not, go take one:
the reason i mention this is that if you click on the u.s. as your residence, your footprint is automatically much larger than if you click on europe but all other entries remain the same. and now you know why!

p.s. i've left things out. if anyone wants to share more, please do.

1 comment:

  1. yes yes yes on the green-ness, especially in comparison to some US cities. And here are some ideas taken from other European cities to make Paris even greener!

    - making recycling more readily available, and more normal practice for parisians (for example, having recycling available next to trash cans on the street, or even better, having separate bins for glass/paper/packaging/waste like they do in berlin)

    - restricting car access to parts of the city, thereby reducing automobile use.

    - Installing more bike-racks, so that people who choose to use their own bikes rather than Velib have more options for keeping them while they're at work/school/store etc

    I unfortunately couldn't find a similar analysis of what's happening in Paris regarding these types of initiatives, but here's a great site with information about what London has committed to doing in order to achieve their target of 60% below 1990 emissions levels by 2025!

    Also, a random, interesting science blog in French: