In France, politics, not peace, prune “green” Christmas trees

By Layli Foroudi

PARIS, December 23 (Reuters) – The town hall of the 12th arrondissement of Paris is illuminated for the end of the year celebrations but the traditional Christmas tree in the public square is absent. In its place stands a sculpture in the shape of a tree made of recycled wood.

The choice of the municipality is part of a trend across France and beyond to prioritize sustainability over tradition, and it has highlighted the political divides in the run-up to the presidential election next April.

“A felled tree is usually the product of monoculture, and monoculture is very dangerous for the soil and a tree that is felled is no longer found in nature to play its role in capturing C02,” Guy said. Tabacchi, deputy mayor. of the 12th arrondissement, which aims to eliminate felled Christmas trees from public places by 2026.

It could be a challenge.

Traditionalists set up a potted conifer in front of the town hall, which local authorities removed and planted in a wood on the outskirts of town.

“A good Christmas is having a Christmas tree, lit up, with ribbons. It’s not the magic of Christmas,” said a grandmother and resident of the 12th arrondissement, who did not give her name as under the name of Annie.

The argument became linked to the question of national identity and divided opinion along political lines.

“To be French is to have a Christmas tree. It is to eat foie gras. It is to vote for Miss France and it is the Tour de France because it is France”, declared Valérie Pécresse, candidate of the Republicans party. Journalist from France 3 during a televised debate.

On the other hand, mayors with environmental sympathies, including in the eastern city of Strasbourg, have banned foie gras from official events.

Strasbourg city councilor Marc Hoffsess says hospitality can be just as French without the pate made from duck or goose liver fattened by force-feeding and deemed by many to be harmful to animal welfare and environment.

“Identity can change. Do we have a conservative message where we cling to things in our history or should we carry a message that reconciles humans with the issues of our planet’s survival? he said.

In the southwestern port city of Bordeaux, people who opposed the 11-meter (36.09-foot) glass tree erected by the municipality brought a traditional tree to the main square.

Didier Jeanjean, deputy mayor responsible for nature in Bordeaux, considered that the debate was healthy.

“The Eiffel Tower is today one of the most visited monuments in France but at the time it was one of the most criticized,” he said. (Reporting by Layli Foroudi; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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