“Green mayors do too little”
So at first they took symbolic measures. Inclusive writing in Lyon, lifting of an anti-begging freeze in Strasbourg, announcement of the sale of the Matmut Atlantique stadium in Bordeaux, showdown against an Amazon warehouse in Annecy, free software in Grenoble… But there is no big night. Everyone is banking on green fads: nature in the city, bike lanes, organic food, polluted schools. They often do it in a cartoonish way like the urban micro forest in Bordeaux, a bit of vegetation on a plot with a sign “here we create an island of freshness”. In Annecy, they create a cycle path right in front of the town hall. But nothing really revolutionary.
also readPresidential election 2022: Yannick Jadot or the disappointed ambitions of ecology
So you’re not doing enough?
Indeed, that is the criticism they are now facing. Even in the right-wing opposition. It’s still a shame to hear Alain Carignon accuse Eric Piolle of creating “heat islands” in Grenoble. The Greens have won the ideological battle over the need for cities to adapt to climate change. From then on they encounter the harsh reality of political action. While they were elected with radical programs, with very sexy green promises, the achievements are long overdue. Tackling an excessive property development in Bordeaux cannot be done in five minutes. Stopping a major project like the Vaîtes district in Besançon is more complicated than it seems. Closing a bridge to traffic, as in Tours or Grenoble, does not only have symbolic consequences. Green mayors are caught in their own trap and the disappointment is great. Often for their constituents. In the teams it beats. And some mayors themselves are disillusioned too!
What brings all these communal experiences together?
What connects the urban planning policies of Bordeaux, which wants to stop everything, and Strasbourg, which allows it to happen? The total fallacy speech of the mayor of Lyon, that of the mayor of Poitiers who defends economic localism, or that of the mayor of Besançon who wants to attract tourists? How to embody the political ecology of Eric Piolle, nicknamed “Watermelon Green” and in Annecy by François Astorg, allied with a dissident Macronist? Not much… If Yannick Jadot had won the presidential election and appointed the winners of 2020 to his government, we would have seen a beautiful cacophony -! I was also very surprised to find that all these mayors seldom quote each other, that they seldom mention the actions that are being carried out in other cities, and especially in Grenoble, which nonetheless has a mandate in advance. Sometimes I even taught them about the achievements of their neighbors!
When the Greens come to townAurélien Martinez, ed. Books, 234 pages, 20 euros
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