Category: environment

September 7th, 2010 by ptinfrance

velo electrique electric bike paris 25% off up to 400 euros
Although the government is about to reduce the subvention amount for environmentally smart home energy, it began offering a different incentive for electric bikes. Receive 25% off (up to 400 euros) if you purchase an electric bike in Paris. For the moment this offer is restricted to Paris and Paris residents only, which means you’re supposed to have a Parisian address to qualify. We were lucky to receive this offer when we purchased our first vélo électrique, which is awesome. We bought this bike here.

I’m not sure if this offer will apply to other French cities.

For more information: see velo electrique (French)

Posted in cars/bikes/etc, daily life, environment, news, paris, shopping, tips Tagged with: , , , , ,

August 10th, 2009 by ptinfrance

From the telegraph:

“…The places under threat include some of the area’s most popular resorts. Bays popular with Britons from Mont-Saint-Michel along the Atlantic coast all the way to La Baule, a top summer beach destination, are now struggling to dispose of thousands of tons of Ulva lactuca – more commonly known as sea lettuce.

Doctors have warned that the algae pose a health risk as they produce hydrogen sulphide when they rot. That can become trapped under a seaweed crust and be as deadly as cyanide if released suddenly.

Two weeks ago, a horse rider lost consciousness after breathing in the toxic fumes on the beach in Saint-Michel-en-Grève, where 16,000 tonnes of the algae have already been collected this year. His horse was killed.

Pierre Philippe, of the Lannion hospital in Brittany, which also treated a council worker who fell into a coma while clearing beaches, said there were “almost certainly other unreported cases”. The seaweed has been multiplying abnormally fast due to the use of huge amount of nitrates used in intensive pig and poultry farming. The nitrates seep into the region’s rivers and end in the sea. Scientists said global warming could also be a factor.

The worst affected area is Saint-Brieuc on the Côtes-d’Armor coast of Brittany. Besides Saint-Michel-en-Grève, around ten beaches have…”

Continue reading

Posted in Bretagne/Brittany, environment, news, tips, travel tip Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

July 29th, 2009 by ptinfrance

air ship solar powered nyc to paris
From cleantechnica:

“A Spanish company called Turtle Airships is working on plans to build a luxurious solar-powered blimp which can take passengers from New York to Paris.

Perhaps the only thing cooler than being powered by lightweight photovoltaic cells, this airship is also designed to rest on land or water.

The first blimp prototype will be propelled in two nontraditional ways. The outside of the ship will be covered with Cadmium-Indium-Germanium (CIG) photovoltaic cells, picked for their their light weight. The cells should generate enough power to move the blimp at around 40 mph in average conditions, or at around 70 horsepower. Meanwhile, a diesel drivetrain will generate the rest of the power, and ideally the designers will look to an adapted hybrid electric model for that. And because blimps fly at low altitudes, they don’t have to deal with problems that plague diesel engines at elevations over 30,000 ft.

The only thing currently keeping this visionary project from flying is…”

Continue reading

Posted in cars/bikes/etc, environment, nature, news, travel and places, travel tip Tagged with: , ,

June 4th, 2009 by ptinfrance

yann arthus bertrand ted talks
In Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s most recent TED Talk, he discusses his three most recent projects on humanity and our habitat. You’ll be glued to the aerial photographs in his series “Earth from Above,” personal interviews from around the globe featured in his web project “6 billion Others,” and his soon-to-be-released free movie, “Home (produced by Luc Besson),” which documents human impact on the environment through breathtaking video. Home’s global premiere is tomorrow, June 5, which is World Environment Day.

Posted in art/culture/design, celebs, daily life, environment, nature, news, people

January 30th, 2009 by ptinfrance

respect the environment protect nature no swimming allowed
Protect Nature / Respect the Environment / No Swimming Allowed

tags: signs, photos of france

Posted in Bourgogne/Burgundy, environment, nature, photos, signs, travel and places Tagged with: , , , , ,

October 20th, 2008 by ptinfrance

horseback riding in the camargue marshland

Although there are many ways to explore the Camargue, France’s sprawling area of protected marshland, my personal recommendation would be to see it on horseback. That is, if you’re up for that kind of thing.

horseback riding in the camargue egrets

Because the Camargue is designated as a botanical and zoological nature reserve, it seems fitting to try to see it all the while respecting nature and the wildlife all around. I love riding and I’d been wanting to go horseback riding for ages, so this was the perfect opportunity, and for me, the perfect way to see the Camargue. If riding on a big animal’s back is not your cup of tea, you have many options: jeep safaris, organized tours, and my second choice for seeing the area, bicycling. With many areas of the Camargue being off-limits to motorized traffic plus the advantage of such a flat terrain, you’re good on bike. Hills will NOT be a problem. Hiking’s also a good choice but you must be in enormously great shape to cover a lot of ground, and to run away from charging wild bulls. Just kidding.

horseback riding in the camargue wild bulls
photo from Les Arnelles

Looking for places to rent a horse to ride will not be a problem; they are everywhere. Just check out the place and owners a bit and examine the health of the horses. We visited three places before choosing Les Arnelles. The people working there were great, the horses were well taken care of, and since we had specific areas we wanted to see, they let us customize our ride.

horseback riding in the camargue beach

If you plan on taking photos on horseback, I’d recommend bringing a small camera that you can use easily with one hand. I made the mistake of bringing my large camera, which is a little too clunky and heavy to use with one hand (carrying reins in the other hand), which is why I took very few pictures. Also, along the way, I lost my lens cover while we’d been galloping for a stretch. Doh!

NOTE: Don’t forget the mosquito repellent! Also try to bring some binoculars.

Les Arnelles
Route d’Arles
13460 Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer France
Tel: +33 (0)603 892 379 | +33 (0)686 601 515 | +33 (0)490 978 286
Website: Les Arnelles

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Posted in Bouche-du-Rhone, environment, nature, photos, Provence, sports, tips, travel tip

October 17th, 2008 by ptinfrance

1600 pandas trocadero paris wwf
WWF France (World Wildlife Fund) is turning 35 years old. Remembering their 35 years of struggle to save natural habitats and wildlife, and their 35 years of helping to protect biodiversity, the WWF is taking their icon/mascot, the panda, as a theme to “celebrate” these 35 years of combating the disappearance of pandas and thousands of other species of animals in danger. There are only 1600 pandas left on earth because Man has accelerated their extinction. The exhibit of 1600 pandas at the Trocadero is a call to action for each person to do their part in helping to reverse the deterioration of our natural environment.

1600 Pandas – WWF
Trocadero, Paris
October 18, 2008
10am – 5pm

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Posted in art/culture/design, daily life, environment, events, nature, news, paris, tips

October 15th, 2008 by ptinfrance

french coffee and cafes going downhill

Over several years now, a strange thing has happened in France: the coffee started to suck. Yes, there were cafes that served terrible coffee forever, but for the most part in the early 2000s, it was still flavorful, very drinkable sludge espresso. It was French coffee, the coffee that I expected to have each time I came to France. I liked it, and the quality was very consistent from cafe to cafe. So when we moved to France six years ago, I was happy to be able to live the cafe experience, meeting people, hanging out, watching passers-by and sipping tasty coffee as often as I pleased. I used to always be surprised that I wouldn’t get the shakes if I had a double shot. However, soon afterward, I began not really enjoying my cuppa because of a declining quality, and in some cases, I developed a strange rash from drinking some brands of coffee, not to mention, getting the shakes (which I get when I drink American coffee). Slowly and surely, I reduced my consumption of coffee, and today, I don’t drink any coffee, whatsoever.

I miss it but I can’t seem to find anything I like. Apparently, I am not alone.

More and more people have stopped going to cafes, which has forced many cafes to close. In fact, since the beginning of this year, 610 cafes in France have closed their doors to the public forever. They just couldn’t make it. Many of these cafes had been in business for many generations.

Why did this happen? Expert have found many reasons that have played a contributing role, but for me, ultimately two were responsible, and it’s specifically these reasons that acted as the final coups de grace:

1.) The Case of the Free Coffee Machines – In the early 2000s, thousands of cafes were offered “free machines” for their establishments. “Free” is not entirely accurate and this “free” had heavy strings attached. In exchange for the free machines, the cafes were obliged to use coffee supplied by the company that offered the free machines. Guess what? That coffee is CRAP, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which company offered the free machines. (see appropriately numbered, number 2 below)

2.) Good coffee companies were bought by evil corporations – There is no doubt in my mind that corporate mergers brought quality down in coffee; it happened right before my very eyes and taste buds.

There are other factors why cafes have shut down.

3.) People stopped going to cafes. Why? The coffee sucked! Also #4 below.

4.) Weak Purchasing Power – Crazy inflation occurred when France turned to the euro. Prices went up but salaries did not. That said, even with less money to dedicate to little luxuries, I feel that people would still frequent cafes if the coffee was good.

5.) The popularity of home coffee makers using capsules – I hate these with a passion, and I hate that they have become so popular. I don’t care what they taste like because I find them to be very unfriendly to the environment. So wasteful. Why oh WHY did George Cluny agree to do those “What Else” spots? Doesn’t he CARE? Having said that, I think people in general were looking for alternatives to find more tasty coffees since they couldn’t find them at the cafes.

6.) The Smoking Ban – Since smoking is no longer allowed in cafes, that has hurt businesses in a big way.

Related: Dirty Secrets of a Paris Cafe Waiter, What happens when Europeans watch too much American TV, Bamboo Coffee Filters,

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Posted in articles, business / economy, cultural differences, daily life, environment, food and drinks, french laws, health, products, tips, weird

October 11th, 2008 by ptinfrance

air car is now flow air

I like Air Car better!

From engadget:

“MDI’s compressed air vehicle has been unofficially known as the AirCar for years now, but it looks like the company is now finally putting a stop to that, and officially bestowing the decidedly less catchy “FlowAIR” name on the car. What’s more, it’s also gotten official with no less than four different vehicles based on the technology, including the One FlowAIR open-top model, the Mini FlowAIR three-seater (pictured above), the City FlowAIR truck-type vehicle, and the Multi FlowAIR urban public transportation concept, all of which have been making the rounds under various guises for some time now. From the looks of it, the One FlowAIR will be the first out of the gate in 2009 (in France, at least), with the rest to follow over the next few years.”

Related: Air Cars hit the streets, French Air Cars Coming to the U.S.

Posted in advertising & marketing, cars/bikes/etc, environment, news, products, shopping, weird

October 10th, 2008 by ptinfrance

camomile the cow and french guy traveling around france

Upon first glance, this seems to be a ridiculous attempt to grab attention, but that’s clearly not the case here.

While those seeking a life changing epiphany take pilgrimages to Lourdes, Santiago de Compostela, Mecca, and beyond, Hadrian Rabouin, an 18 year old Breton (guy from Bretagne), has something else in mind and decided that what he needed, was to walk a 1200 kilometer (745 miles) circuit in France with his cow named Camomile, a one and half year old Charolais heifer.

With organic farmers for parents, Hadrien grew up deeply engrained in toxic-free nature, and amidst the mindset of respecting his environment. The goal of his long walk is to discover and catalog plants that have been long forgotten. He plans to learn and live off the land whenever possible, and to meet whomever falls in his path for four months, walking approximately 20 kilometers per day, which is dependent on how Camomile feels, of course. He hopes this experience will give him a better perspective on where his life is going.

He didn’t want to bring any money but his mother insisted he at least bring a credit card and phone home now and again. His parents are comforted a little that he has a companion, albeit a cow for a companion. Reluctantly, he brought a credit card as well as 20 euros, which he apparently hasn’t needed because people along the way so far have given him money and food. He began his so-called pilgrimage on August 1 so he should be about half way through his circuit right about now and finishing in December.

Who knows, maybe this is the start of a new travel trend…

Kidding.

Watch a video of the story

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Posted in Bretagne/Brittany, daily life, environment, food and drinks, games/software/tech, news, people

October 5th, 2008 by ptinfrance

From macworld:

“Network operator Orange will rate the environmental impact of the fixed-line and mobile phones it sells, it said Friday.

The company will publish eco-ratings for the first 30 products on its French Web-site in mid-October and will extend it to all the products it sells next year, it said.

Orange is the brand used by France Télécom for its mobile phone and Internet access activities in France, the U.K. and other European countries. Orange is the exclusive service provider for Apple’s iPhone in France; it also provides iPhone service in Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Liechtenstein, Romania, and Slovakia.

Orange’s ratings initially concern its French stores and networks, and are based on five indicators, compiled by the company BIO Intelligence Service:

* CO2 assessment, a measure of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the phone’s manufacture and use;
* Energy efficiency, a gauge of the phone’s power consumption and of any features that allow consumption to be reduced;
* Resource preservation, a broad rating of whether the materials used to make the product are nonrenewable or whether, like the gold and tantalum used in electrical connections and capacitors, they come from what Orange describes as “sensitive economic or social environments”;
* Limitation of dangerous substances, a measure of whether the phone avoids the use of toxic chemicals—although the most dangerous of these are already prohibited by European Union law;
* Waste reduction, a rating of whether the device can be repaired and whether it or its packaging can be recycled.

Orange’s program, developed in conjunction with environmental group WWF, could give the French government some food for thought.

After the success of an eco-tax to penalize buyers of polluting vehicles and reward purchasers of vehicles with lower CO2 emissions, the government had talked of extending the measures to other products. Those plans were postponed last month because, the government said, there were no clear environmental criteria for products other than cars.

In France mobile phones—and most other electrical and electronic goods—are already subject to a special tax called “eco-participation,” intended to fund recycling of the products at the end of their lives. Although the current eco-tax on mobile phones differs from that for, say, photocopiers, it’s the same for all models of phone, and at just €0.01 (US$.01), is nowhere near enough to influence customers to choose more environmentally friendly products.”

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Posted in articles, daily life, environment, french laws, games/software/tech, health, nature, news, products, shopping, weird

September 15th, 2008 by ptinfrance

From AP:

“Plastic forks, disposable diapers, drafty houses _ if it hurts the environment, make it cost more. That’s the message France’s government wants to send with a raft of proposed new taxes.

France’s ecology minister said Sunday the government is considering a “picnic tax” on disposable dishes to encourage people to use reusable plates and cups instead.

Speaking on Europe-1 radio, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said the plan wouldn’t stop at picnicware. For example, she said, “We could make it so that in all public maternity wards, you would be taught to use washable diapers.”

She said a new carrot-and-stick plan already applied to cars is being spread to other environmentally damaging products such as paints and detergents.

The plan offers a bonus of up to $7,000 to buyers of fuel-efficient cars, but as of next year it will slap extra fees of up to a few thousand euros (dollars) on the cost of heavy polluters like SUVs.

The idea is meant to change the habits of both consumers and manufacturers by getting people to calculate the environmental cost of their waste, though some critics _ even within the Finance Ministry _ fear it could crimp growth.

Kosciusko-Morizet said the plan could be spread to some 20 other types of products, from paints to household appliances and detergents. She said the tax would be determined based on the “recyclability” of the product, among other things.

And she said it could even be extended to homes, based on how energy-efficient they are.

The financial details of the taxes have yet to be worked out. Some will be introduced in the 2009 budget, which the government will present at the end of the month.”

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Posted in articles, daily life, environment, news, politics, products, shopping

August 31st, 2008 by ptinfrance

Have you changed your driving habits in France to be more environmentally friendly? Do you drive a hybrid or electric car, or have you given up your car permanently? Do you use biofuel? Did you join a carpool? Do you have any other tips related to reducing gasoline consumption? France 5 Television wants to have a word with you. Please call 01 56 26 16 76 if you’re interested in participating in a television show featuring people in France trying to change their lives to live more green.

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Posted in cars/bikes/etc, daily life, environment, news

August 24th, 2008 by ptinfrance

air car mdi compressed air vehicles hit the roads in france

From autobloggreen and ecolotrader:

“We heard that MDI, the creators of the AirCar – excuse us, the “Compressed Air Vehicle” – broke off all commercial relations with Miguel Celades, who had been carrying its commercial operations for a while. We tried multiple times to contact Mr. Celades for further explanations, but couldn’t. So, we turned to MDI’s new webpage and other sources for the information.

The good news is that MDI is still working on their vehicle and has taken some steps to get it on the road. The French environmental website Ecolo-Trader has unveiled a picture of the first MiniCAT model with regular car plates, which should mean it’s road-worthy and has received all the legal requirements from the French Ministry of Industry. MDI’s MiniCAT has an range of 80 km while running exclusively with compressed air and, thanks to a system which heats compressed air (using fuel), the range can be extended even further. According to the website, which refers to the Southern France newspaper, MDI is planning a second factory to increase output of the MiniCAT. The model will be on display for the Paris Motor Show and on sale in France at the beginning of 2009.”

Note: The license plates look like they’re from the Var region in the south of France around the cities of Toulon and Draguignon.

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Posted in cars/bikes/etc, daily life, environment, news

August 23rd, 2008 by ptinfrance

pierrelatte france

This time the uranium leak is in Pierrelatte, which actually shares the same nuclear power facilities as Tricastin, where the last two leaks were found, but the media has been suspiciously removing “Tricastin” from this news and are making people think that Pierrelatte is not in the same place. Well, it IS in the same place.

Tricastin and Pierrelatte are villages next to each other and they share the same nuclear power site, referred to as “Tricastin-Pierrelatte.” Pierrelatte happens to be in the Drome department and Tricastin is in the Vaucluse department but they are literally “across the street” from each other. Areva, the company responsible for the nuclear power plants, is the very same company responsible for all of the other uranium leaks in the area, and again is saying that it is a “small” leak and therefore of little consequence.” YEA RIGHT. article (in French)

Links: more uranium leaks, Greepeace suing Areva

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Posted in articles, business / economy, daily life, Drome, environment, health, nature, news, politics

August 20th, 2008 by ptinfrance

organic raw milk vending machines in france

I wish they had these organic raw milk vending machines in my area, but these are in L’Arbresle situated in the Rhone region, not far from Lyon. The vending machines operate 24/7 and are found in 3 communities nearest a Champion supermarket.

organic raw milk vending machines in france

Bring your own container to be filled or use one that is available at the vending machines. One liter costs 1.10, which I think is a great value. The milk has not been treated in any way and is simply stored at 3°C. 300 liters are stored per day, and the container is thoroughly cleaned and filled every morning. You can also get raw organic milk at the farm directly: Le lait de la ferme.

Le Lait de la ferme
Contact: Gerard Gayet
La Gondoliere
69930 Saint Laurent de Chamousset
Tél : 06 80 42 92 44
Mail : ggayet@terre-net.fr

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Posted in cultural differences, daily life, environment, food and drinks, health, news, products, Rhone, shopping

August 13th, 2008 by ptinfrance

boisset wines with plastic bottlesFrom the Boisset Family Estates press release:

“…….”This year, Boisset Family Estates is the first winery ever to announce that all Beaujolais Nouveau wines imported to North America will be packaged exclusively in lightweight PET plastic bottles,” states Jean-Charles Boisset, President, Boisset Family Estates. “In addition, we will simultaneously debut Fog Mountain, featuring the first organically-farmed California Nouveau in 750ml PET bottles, to highlight our commitment to reducing the wine world’s carbon footprint by producing locally.”

“It is critical in today’s time, with the scarcity of our planet’s resources and the known environmental impacts of human activity, that we consider whether we should still ship thousands of cases of wine in heavy bottles via air throughout the world in order for the wines to arrive on time for their annual release date in November, when we can reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by more than half through a responsible choice of packaging.”

….Boisset Family Estates owns and imports Mommessin and Bouchard Aîné & Fils – two venerable Burgundy wine houses each with deep historical traditions in Burgundy and Beaujolais….”

This California company, importing wines from France, claims to be innovative and eco-minded.

Read the whole press release

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Posted in advertising & marketing, Bourgogne/Burgundy, business / economy, environment, food and drinks, news, products, weird, wine

August 10th, 2008 by ptinfrance

mushrooms france champignons de paris

“Paris Mushrooms, it’s when they’re in your mouth that they’re the happiest.”

Aside from this ad promoting Champignons de Paris (button mushrooms) in France being very, very cute, I’m wondering why the mushroom industry (if there’s a mushroom industry) needs to advertise in the first place. Is there an overproduction of mushrooms? I rarely see ads for other veggies like cucumbers or celery or artichokes or for any veggies, ever; really, this is strange to me. Is there a silent mushroom consumption grève (strike) or something? … So much so that mushroom farmers need a push from ads?

Just a couple of weeks ago, our neighbors asked us if we had any extra mushrooms they could borrow because they couldn’t find any anywhere near our neighborhood. My sweetie, being even more of a conspiracy theorist than I am (yea, I know! unbelievable but true!), suggested that the radioactive leaks lately have been compromising the mushrooms, which perhaps were then removed from the market. Apparently, mushrooms excessively absorb radiation, which is an enormous help to people around…unless they eat those mushrooms…

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Posted in conspiracy theories, daily life, environment, food and drinks, Languedoc-Roussillon, nature, news, politics, products, Provence, shopping, weird

July 31st, 2008 by ptinfrance

Excerpts from Motherjones:

“….events this month show that life as a nuclear-powered nation is far from la vie en rose. In mid July, the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) announced a leak from a cracked pipe at a nuclear fuel plant in the southeastern Drôme region. It said the leak was small and had not contaminated groundwater. Such was not the case, however, on July 7, when about 75 kilograms (165 pounds) of untreated liquid uranium were spilled at the Tricastin nuclear plant in the Vaucluse, north of Avignon. As the French began to repair to the countryside for their storied six-week summer vacations, those in this corner of Provence were being told not to drink the water—or swim or fish in it. One swimmer at a local lake told the Guardian that people had been ordered out of the water “as if there had been sharks in it.”

The incident was given a low rating in terms of risk, but the French nuclear watchdog group CRIIRAD (Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity) reported that the amount of radioactivity released into the environment was 100 times higher than the site’s limit for an entire year. The Tricastin facility was temporarily shut down, the water ban remains in effect, and the French government has begun testing the water around all 59 of its nuclear plants.

Such dramatic events were bound to make headlines, and even had some media predicting a chill in France’s long love affair with l’énergie nucléaire, which it embraced during the energy crisis of the 1970s and never let go of. But in fact, the idea of France as a model of safe, affordable nuclear energy is largely a myth, and the current situation hardly an aberration. Incidences of radioactive contamination are common in France, which has had no more success than any other country in solving the intractable problem of radioactive waste. At the Tricastin site, for example, about 770 tons of nuclear waste have been buried for the past 30 years, and four smaller incidents took place in 2007 alone, according to CRIIRAD.

Nuclear contamination even threatens the twin sacraments of French life, wine and cheese. In May 2006, Greenpeace reported that low-level radioactive waste from a nuclear dumpsite had been found in the groundwater near the Champagne vineyards of eastern France. A report released earlier the same month on contamination from an older nuclear waste facility in La Hague, Normandy showed radioactivity more than seven times the European safety limit in local underground aquifers, which are used by farmers for their dairy cattle in a region renowned for its Brie and Camembert.

…Several studies have found elevated levels of childhood leukemia around the Normandy site.

…President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has made it clear that he wants France to become an ever-bigger exporter of both nuclear-generated electricity and nuclear technology… In a speech given just days before the Provence nuclear spill, Sarkozy said: “More than ever, nuclear is an industry for the future and an indispensable energy source….We can be electricity exporters when we have neither oil nor gas. This is an historic chance for development.”

The head of French Greenpeace’s nuclear campaign recently accused Sarkozy of behaving “like a traveling salesman for Areva.”

Read the full article: 4.5 Billion Years in Provence

Posted in daily life, environment, news, politics, products, Provence

July 19th, 2008 by ptinfrance

bic disposable cel phone france
The new iPhone 3Gs were sold out within hours of its availability here in France the other day. Oh well. You waited too long, and didn’t get one? Maybe you can get one of these new, plastic disposable Bic cel phones instead. They’re really ugly, they radiate a lot of un-heathy microwaves and they’re very hazardous to the environment because they end up piling up in the landfills eventually leaching BPAs, dioxins and other carcinogens into the land, air and water. I bet you really want one now.

Bic (yes, the same people who brought you all those hideous plastic florescent lighters and pens that leaked into your backpack and pockets) has teamed up with Orange – to launch the sale of these wonderful mobile phones on August 7. The phone will cost €49 (about $80).

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Posted in daily life, environment, games/software/tech, health, news, products, weird

July 18th, 2008 by ptinfrance

nuclear power plants are leaking in france
A so-called NEW uranium leak near Avignon was reported just a week ago, and now there’s yet another nuclear power plant that is leaking. This time it’s at a plant that is actually not very far from the other leaking plant – in Romans-sur-Isere, both managed by the unscrupulous, Areva. The suits are saying AS USUAL, that this leak is not dangerous to humans and can not harm the environment. I’d like to ask, will they drink the water?

Does this remind anyone of various past events assessed by other evil corporations? Remember how the tobacco industry said that there is absolutely no link between smoking and cancer? I saw the excellent French documentary (Tabac, le grand conspiration) on the tobacco industry just the other night on TV showing old cigarette commercials: “Cigarettes are good for you!” “Cigarettes make you feel better!” “More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette.” “Cigarettes have absolutely no effect on your health!” Please. How could companies get away with this type of criminal activity? How can they continue to do so even today? Easily.

Also remember, they claimed that ASBESTOS was perfectly SAFE! Tell that to all the millions of people who died from asbesto poisoning or mesothelioma, who are now dying of cancer from it.

There aren’t just two power plants in France that are leaking, and those aren’t new leaks. (France 2 interview with Roland Desbordes explains) Additionally, there are a lot more leaking hazardous materials into the environment and drinking water, and have been doing so for a while now.

With the nuclear power plant companies claiming that “all is well and there’s no need to be concerned about the uranium that has leaked into the environment. This is a MINOR event and humans are totally safe from this! There’s no impact!” – and on the other side with scientists declaring that these leaks are hazardous and certainly NOT safe for humans and the environment. Who would YOU believe?

My point: If you’re traveling in these areas or anything near a nuclear power plant, simply be aware of the risks. Check the CRIIRAD site, which is the Independent Commission For Radioactivity Research and Information. (In French)

Link: nuclear power in france, radiation leak in Normandy, 2nd Nuclear Power Plant Leak in July (in German), ridiculous old smoking ads, 10 bizarre cigarette commericials

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Posted in daily life, environment, health, nature, news, Provence, travel and places, travel tip

July 16th, 2008 by ptinfrance

air car zero pollution mdi zpm tataEver since writing about the zero pollution, zero emissions French Air Car, I’ve gotten some comments and gobs of emails from people asking if they might be available in the U.S.

I don’t live in the U.S., people! I live in France. YOU tell ME. Rant over.

Soooooooooo… that being said, I stumbled upon some information that reports that the Air Car might be available in the U.S. by late 2009 starting at $15,000. That’s just around the corner, and if it’s true, this little ugly (in a cute sense) car could possibly impact life as you know it – in a positive way, that is.

A New York based startup, ZPM (Zero Pollution Motors), just like India’s Tata Motors, has licensed the technology from the French company MDI. They plan to release a hybrid version that will be a clean, efficient way to power your ride. For example, one tank of air is approximately equivalent to eight gallons of gas, an 848 mile range. The car’s air tank can be refilled in about three minutes from a service station, but it can be plugged in at home and refilled in about 4 hours, an electricity cost of about two bucks.

Availability of the MDI Air Car in France is still pending approval.

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Posted in cars/bikes/etc, daily life, environment, news, outside of France, products

July 10th, 2008 by ptinfrance

From AP:

“Tests show that uranium levels are diminishing but have not vanished from rivers in southern France after a leak from a nuclear site, regional authorities said Wednesday.

Anti-nuclear groups, meanwhile, questioned the handling of the incident at the Tricastin nuclear site near Avignon, noting inconsistent official statements about when it occurred and about how much unenriched uranium was leaked.

France’s nuclear safety agency said liquid containing traces of unenriched uranium leaked from a factory at the site, and that uranium concentrations in the Gaffiere river were initially about 1,000 times the normal levels. The agency said the uranium is only slightly radioactive although toxic.

Initially the agency said the accident occurred Tuesday morning, but later said it occurred Monday night. On Wednesday, Tricastin authorities revised downward the amount of liquid that leaked.

Authorities in the Vaucluse region maintained a ban Wednesday on the consumption of well water in three nearby towns and the watering of crops from the Gaffiere and Lauzon rivers. Swimming, water sports and fishing also remain banned.

A series of tests Tuesday showed that “uranium levels (in surface water) remained well above normal but strongly diminished through dilution throughout the day,” the regional administration said in a statement. The tests found no uranium in groundwater.

Tricastin authorities changed the amount that had leaked from 7,900 gallons (30,000 liters) to 4,760 gallons (18,000 liters), according to another statement from the Vaucluse regional administration. It said the liquid contained 493 pounds (224 kilograms) of natural unenriched uranium, instead of 794 pounds (360 kilograms) announced earlier.

The factory handles materials and liquids contaminated by uranium, the fuel for nuclear power plants. The liquid spilled from a reservoir that overflowed during the washing of a tank.

The Commission for Independent Radioactivity Research and Information said the leak led to the release of radioactive material 100 times that which the site is allowed to release in a year. Greenpeace said the leaked waste was more than 130 times the permitted level.”

Posted in articles, daily life, environment, news, Provence

July 8th, 2008 by ptinfrance

how to shit in the forest book title frenchNature et Decouverte, a French equivalent of The Nature Company, sure knows how to get your attention. While we were waiting at the cash register, we laughed at this book, displayed right at the entrance of the store. The book is called, Comment chier dans les bois, which means, “How to Shit in the Woods.” Yeah, we were tempted to get it but realized we already know how to do so.

Actually, it’s a book pour une approche environnementale d’un art perdu. that takes an environmental approach to a lost art.

Makes me wonder about how many are sold based on shock value.

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Posted in books/magazines, daily life, environment, funny, nature

June 23rd, 2008 by ptinfrance

From aol:

radiohead france

Where is the love, Parisians?

“… Radiohead were left with a row of empty seats at a recent French concert after a ticket giveaway backfired. The eco-friendly group announced 50 passes were available for their show at Paris’ Bercy Arena but fans could only get by cycling to their record label’s offices in the French city.

However, Parisians were not prepared to get on their bikes so 35 tickets went unclaimed. A source said: “Radiohead are using their current world tour to highlight their commitment to green issues. They advise all concertgoers to use public transport and are doing all they can to make their carbon footprint as small as possible. Unfortunately the French didn’t appear to share their noble intentions and roundly ignored the free ticket tactic.”

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Posted in art/culture/design, cars/bikes/etc, celebs, cultural differences, environment, events, funny, music, news, paris, people, weird

June 23rd, 2008 by ptinfrance

giant gray blue bamboo bambouserie de prafrance southern france

While strolling through the largest garden of more varieties of bamboo than you ever knew existed (about 40), you would imagine that you’ve found yourself in a far eastern land, a place surrounded by exotic flowers and plants (impossible to pronounce), hearing only the waft of a gentle breeze combing through the long stalks in a bamboo forest.

entrance bamboo bambouserie de prafrance southern france

The zen-like ambiance of this unexpected garden has actually placed you in the Mediterranean climate of the south of France, not far from the town of Alès and two kilometers (just over one mile) north of Anduze. There are 34 hectares devoted to the cultivation of bamboo and other exotic plants from the Asia.

We’ve been wanting to see La Bambouseraie for long time now, so while we were south we decided to take a drive (about an hour) from our temporary home base in Saint Laurent des Arbres.

irrigation bamboo la bambouserie de prafrance southern france

To satisfy the thirsty bamboo, more than five kilometers (3 miles) of irrigation canals are discretely blended into the landscape. With the sunny climate, ideal soil and a dependable supply of water, the bamboo can grow more than a meter (3 feet) a day.

irrigation bamboo la bambouserie de prafrance southern france

La Bambouseraie de Prafrance was founded in 1855, and is the very first giant bamboo forest in Europe. Eugène Mazel, a native of the Cévennes who made his fortune by importing spices, began his bamboo collection while traveling through the French colonies of the Far East. After purchasing the domaine of Prafrance from its owner, Anne de Galière, he began to build his dream bamboo garden on the property. It now features water gardens, sequoia trees from California, traditional projects (Japanese garden, Laotian village), a garden labyrinth, a greenhouse and a nursery.
dwarf vietnamese pigs la bambouserie de prafrance southern france
Oh! and some dwarf Vietnamese pigs. They look pretty humungous to me, though.
japanese zen garden la bambouserie de prafrance southern france
The Japanese Zen garden is relatively new to the park (2001) designed very true to Japanese style. The sculpting of the landscape took inspiration from the year it was founded, which was the Year of the Dragon. The Japanese garden’s form is dependent on the body of water it surrounds, so you’ll see the water wind through the garden like a dragon, both existing in harmony with each other. Note that “dragon” is an anagram of Gardon, the nearest river…
dragon zen garden la bambouserie de prafrance southern france
Dragon in the Zen Garden

For the rest of the post and to see a lot more photos after the fold click: Read more of this article »

Posted in art/culture/design, environment, garden, nature, photos, Provence, shopping, travel and places, travel tip

May 17th, 2008 by ptinfrance

Yea, what else is new. I know. Anyway, when Calimero left a comment on the GMO (genetically modified organisms) post, I wasn’t sure what he was referring to until I watched a short clip from the (week) daily 5 minutes segment of the day’s highlights called, “Zapping” on Canal Plus. Watch it here (Select “ZAPPING DU 15/05/08″).

Nathalie Kosciusko-MorizetI’m enormously disgusted by these French politicians on the subject of allowing genetically modified foods into the French food chain. With Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who happens to be a Minister of Ecology, She’s pro-GMO! She is working on PASSING laws to allow GMO crops. However, when asked what she feeds her son, she says he only eats organic food!!! “It’s a personal choice,” she says. WTF.francois vannison

With Francois Vannison, a member of the UMP, he says he is not against GMO but does realize it can pose a risk of contaminating non-GMO agriculture and organic agriculture. OH-KAY.

More stupid politicians BOUGHT and OWNED by the evil Monsanto.

The best part of this particular “zapping” is the animal with big eyes.

Posted in daily life, environment, food and drinks, health, news, people, politics, weird

May 15th, 2008 by ptinfrance

From reuters:

“PARIS – Hundreds of activists marched in Paris on Tuesday ahead of the expected approval of a law they say blurs the line between natural and genetically modified (GM) foods.

The bill lays down conditions for the cultivation of GM crops in France, Europe’s largest grain producer and exporter, and creates a body to oversee GMO use. The vote is due to take place late on Tuesday or on Wednesday.
Protesters, some wearing yellow hats in the shape of maize cobs and others dressed in white suits imitating scientists, gathered near the National Assembly to voice their opposition.

“We must give consumers the choice of eating quality products, with or without GMO,” said Jean Terlon, cook at the restaurant Le Saint-Pierre in Longjumeau, close to Paris.

While GM crops are common in the United States and Latin America, France and many other European countries are dubious about using the new genetic technology in agriculture.

France banned the sole GM crop grown in the European Union, a maize (corn) developed by US biotech giant Monsanto, in February because it had serious doubts about whether it was safe for the environment. GMO cultivation is still legal, however.

The new French law, which would implement a European Union directive adopted in 2001, sets the rules a farmer has to respect to grow GM crops. These include limiting dissemination of pollen to conventional fields.

The text is criticised by pro-GMOs who say it does not go far enough and by the antis, including deputies of the ruling majority, who say changes made in exchanges between the parliament and the upper house make it too lax.

LEGAL CONTAMINATION

Approved amendments include a rate of GM dissemination to conventional crops of up to 0.9 percent, a level fiercely contested by ecologists seeking to protect France’s biodiversity and organic crops from GM contamination.

“The problem of this law is that it legalises contamination because anything with a GMO content of less than 0.9 percent can be called GMO-free,” Romain Chabrol, a spokesman of the environmental group Greenpeace France, said.

The rate in Germany was set at 0.1 percent.

French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said the new law would be the “most protective in the world”.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has repeatedly said he does not want to close the door on the technology or ban research so as to limit the number of biotech companies put off by the destruction of their outdoor experiments by activists.

French cooperative Limagrain, which has a 70 percent stake in the world’s fourth-largest seed maker Vilmorin, said this year its research unit Biogemma had moved its tests on GM crops to the United States after repeated attacks on its fields.

Such attacks would be more severely punished under the law.”

Posted in articles, daily life, environment, food and drinks, nature, news, politics, products

April 22nd, 2008 by ptinfrance

calanques france
Commemorating Earth Day today, which marks the anniversary of the birth of the environmental movement, I thought I’d post a photo in appreciation of nature. This is a photo of the Calanques in the south of France, not far from Cassis. I never did get around to writing about the Calanques – probably because I had so many photos to go through – but I’ll try to get to it…some time…this year 😉

Related: Earth Day – Take a deep breath and hear the sad story of mankind

Posted in environment, events, nature, photos, travel and places

April 16th, 2008 by ptinfrance

Sadly, it happened. The last several years of SATC, CSI (aka in France Les Experts), and face it, all American shows – has shaken the reason out of Europeans. What am I talking about?
take away coffee cups in france
Take out coffee cups. You know, you see everyone with them. Everywhere. Those ridiculous disposable paper or worse, plastic cups with plastic lids. HATE those. Don’t we need to REDUCE our waste? Don’t we know that PLASTIC is evil and toxic? What is wrong with us? Are we stooooppid? Oui, je dirais.

We saw this poster on a cafe and felt sort of disgusted. I mean, these take away cups are for espresso so they are little disposable cups. Hello…maybe I shouldn’t be complaining since it’s not like a ventimongosize cup from Starbucks (which I HATE) but I can’t help it. An espresso in France, that’s like 3 TABLESPOONS of strong coffee right there in a teeny tiny cup with a handle through which you can’t even fit your fingers. It takes like 3.5 seconds to consume in a cafe. WHY do we need to have it to go?

Posted in daily life, environment, food and drinks, products, weird