French “eco-mayors” trying to reduce environmental impact – one suggests children don’t “dream of flying”
The Mayor of Poitiers has suggested that, due to the climate crisis, children growing up today should not aspire to many overseas flights. She has been attacked by the aviation industry, for not helping them, and for other politicians etc for a “depressing” ideology and restricting people’s freedoms. The Mayor, Léonore Moncond’huy, is one of several “eco-mayors” to deter people from traditional pursuits. She has cut subsidies to the town’s two flying clubs, on the grounds that “public money must no longer finance sports based on the consumption of non-renewable resources”. She said: “We must protect children from some dreams. Sadly, aviation must no longer be part of the dreams of the children of today.” The mayor of Tours has also tried to ban traffic and is halting Ryanair’s use of the city airport. Many green Mayors have tried to introduce various measures, some less sensible than others … several are trying to reduce car use. The mayor of part of Lyon has opposed hosting part of the Tour de France because of its huge environmental footprint …
Don’t dream of flying, Greens tell children
By Charles Bremner, Paris (The Times)
April 06 2021
A demand that children must abandon dreams of flight has landed an environmentalist city mayor in trouble for betraying France’s aviation heritage.
People across the political spectrum, including fellow Green party members, pounced on Léonore Moncond’huy, 31, the mayor of Poitiers, over what was considered a killjoy action by a new generation of so-called eco-mayors to curb traditional pursuits.
Moncond’huy cut municipal subsidies to the town’s two flying clubs, one of which was founded in 1924, on the grounds that “public money must no longer finance sports based on the consumption of non-renewable resources”.
She added: “We must protect children from some dreams. Sadly, aviation must no longer be part of the dreams of the children of today.”
Her words have touched a nerve in a country with a proud aeronautical tradition and a network of 650 state-supported flying clubs. Based at 450 aerodromes, the non-profit clubs are the starting point for many professional pilots as well as amateurs.
Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, 39, the transport minister, dismissed the mayor’s view as sad and dictatorial. Djebbari, a former corporate pilot, quoted Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a pilot and the author of The Little Prince: “Make your life a dream, and your dream a reality.”
Bruno Le Maire, the finance minister, said that half a million French jobs depended on aviation and the mayor had no right to dictate the dreams of children. He said her action was “a stupid folly that is not only revolting but also dangerous”.
Airbus, based in Toulouse, aims to lead the world in building non-polluting aircraft and its engineers were working hard to “decarbonise” flight, Le Maire said.
Marine Le Pen, 52, the far-right leader, denounced Moncond’huy for trying to stifle innovation and impose her “depressing” Greens ideology on the public. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, 69, the leader of the radical left-wing France Unbowed party, tweeted: “Hey Poitiers. Dreaming is still allowed.”
Yannick Jadot, 53, the most prominent figure in the party Europe Ecology — the Greens, said he had discovered the beauty of the world thanks to flying. “Dreams are a private matter,” he said.
Supporters of the mayor voiced anger at what they called a distraction when France was grappling with the pandemic.
The move by Poitiers council, which deprives the clubs of €10,000 a year of funds, followed the refusal of the new Greens mayor of Rennes, the Breton capital, to host a stage of the Tour de France because the event is said to be a source of pollution and misogyny.
The Greens mayor of Lyon has banned shows by the Patrouille de France air force display team. The mayor of Bordeaux has banned municipal Christmas trees because they are “dead plants”. He aims to banish cars by “progressively disgusting drivers” with obstructions. The mayor of Tours has also tried to ban traffic and is halting Ryanair’s use of the city airport.
The attacks on the Greens’ policies reflect a push to the right by President Macron’s centrist camp a year before presidential elections. Macron believes that the race will be decided among conservative and far-right-wing voters.