Paris is a lot more than the sprawling, urban city that it appears to be – it’s actually home to over 400 parks and gardens. It is the most wooded capital city in all of Europe!
The Luxembourg Gardens and the Bois de Vincennes are two Parisian natural spaces that I can’t get enough of. Many citizens have committed to maintaining a public green space on their street or in front of their storefront to make the city just a little bit greener. Community gardens dot the city, allowing Parisians to grow some of their own vegetables and connect to the environment. Natural farmer’s markets also line city streets with affordable, delicious produce and flowers. The CEA Paris Center took students on a “Paris Vert” walk to discover these green spaces and natural markets for themselves.
Along with housing this sprawling green space, Paris and its citizens have also come together to protect the natural environment. The city of Paris has taken initiatives to reduce the pollution caused by individual car use by implementing an infrastructure of public, low-emission transportation options. The metro system, one of the most widely used by Parisians, consumes five times less energy than individual cars. They also introduced a bike-sharing service called Velib in 2007 that makes over 20,000 bicycles available to the public. Following Velib’, the electric car-sharing service Autolib’ was introduced in 2011 and makes almost 4,000 cars available to Parisians. But of course, walking to their destination is the first choice among many Parisians.
Eco-friendliness can be found in a slew of little things, too. It seems that everyone here has their own reusable shopping bags (that they actually reuse!) and stores only offer shopping bags for an extra charge. Supermarkets are legally obliged to donate near-expiration food to charities and food banks instead of throwing it in the garbage. All garbage and recycling bins are clearly labelled and followed.
You don’t have to look far to see the ways in which Paris respects the earth it sits on!
Dana F. is the Fall 2017 MOJO Photographer in Paris, France. She is currently a junior studying Cinema & Photography at Ithaca College.