Polluted Marseille, congested Marseille, Marseille the concrete jungle. Ecological activists in the French city are calling out to elected officials. They have also called for citizens to protest and have used social media to send out web propaganda. The offensive has been launched!
Ecologists are up in arms. Marseille is at the top of the least honorable ranking of cities. "[Marseille is] the sixth-most congested city in the world and the most congested commune in France ... It is total chaos," complains Victor-Hugo Espinosa, the president of Ecoforum, an environmental non-profit. He expresses his wish to organize a Grenelle Environment Round Table for the PACA region, specifically in Marseille.
With his army of activists - his "casse-pieds," (pests) as he calls them - he plans on alerting the public about the situation. A series of testimonial videos will therefore be released on the website Dailymotion. A protest has been planned for Saturday, November 15th at 2pm. It will be held at the head of La Canebière (a large, historic street in the city). Victor-Hugo Espinosa elaborates: "Politicians have to call for a Grenelle Environment Round Table. But as they don't ever listen to anyone, we are going to be there to force them to take responsibility."
Putting a Stop to Real Estate Pressure
The "casse-pieds" are therefore sharing their complaints and propositions.
"Cars need to be kicked out of the downtown area. Why don't we construct parking lots on the outskirts of the city rather than right in the center?" expresses Espinosa, exasperated. According to the casse-pieds, it is necessary to reduce the high real estate pressure that interferes with the ability to construct logical traffic patterns and, even worse, takes away from green spaces. "In 15 years, there will no longer be even one square meter of cultivable land," Espinosa fears.
Already criticized for their lack of recycling, the citizens of Marseille are partially responsible for the city's problems in the activists' eyes. Espinosa laments: "Take Cours Lieutard, for example. Of the four lanes, two are taken up by anarchical double parking. Traffic jams are therefore a daily occurrence on this important axis of the city."
What will come of the casse-pieds' activism remains to be seen.
How should citizens react when the government does not address environmental issues in their city? What grassroots/guerrilla efforts have been made in your city?
Original article, originally published in French, here.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.