Would San Diegans like Paris?

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Our latest intern team member Laurie decided to take this question head on! There are lots of things that we LOVE about San Diego… how would we do outside of SD? 


Wait, is Paris sustainable? That’s actually a great question! And let me tell you one thing guys, it would be very interesting to know what you think about that, because I don’t! As a French and Parisian student I can’t really tell how much Paris is involved in sustainability and if we can compare its commitment to San Diego’s. Isn’t it weird?

For sure Paris is doing a lot of efforts to make everything more “green”, environmentally friendly, and to turn French into environmentalists. They established a large bicycle sharing system (Vélib), an electric car sharing (Autolib) in addition to a huge public transportation system. They also promote many outdoor activities and encourage Parisians to make their own vegetable garden. Recycling is no longer a secret, and eating healthy and organic seems to be trendy. In fact, listing all the things that the city has done so far would be seriously too long. But at least you have an overview of some measures undertaken by the city that endeavors to raise awareness and to make people think sustainably.

Yet today the results remain unclear and that’s the point. Either you have people completely “enviro” – willing to make drastic changes, or you have inflexible people reluctant to new eco-conscious efforts. Consequences: a huge mix of different behaviors that makes Paris an unsure sustainable city. To give you an illustration, Paris has been covered by a high peak of pollution last month: pollution particulates (mostly created by vehicles, heating and heavy industry) had exceeded the safe level. Scary, huh?

Also I should not forget to talk about the insalubrity of the Parisian streets. That might not be a secret for you but Paris is pretty dirty, while San Diego is so amazingly clean! Well- streets are not completely littered, you can walk easily! But it’s pretty common to see dog poop, overfilled trashes, cigarette butts, gum, papers… and might smell like pee. This lack of cleanliness is the topic of numerous campaigns and political concerns, which claim that getting Paris dirty is polluting it. In 2013, the city settled a trash can every 330 feet (over 30,000 in all Paris), more than 6,000 cleaning agents, free self-cleaning public toilets, and a €38 fine for polluting people. Today the city is calling for Parisians’ and tourists’ awareness and support,  since nothing can be done without the population’s help.

Needless to say that Paris and San Diego are hardly comparable, mostly because of the population (Paris is so much more crowded than SD), the level of tourism and the number of corporations in and around the area. But still, I think I can tell San Diegan sustainable lovers that the French capital is not the best destination for them.

But hey, here is my personal advice: think about the French countryside instead. Above all the Alps that are so gorgeous in Summer and Winter. It’s the perfect place for healthy vacation in nature far away from pollution (and more precisely, check out Combloux, the pearl of the Alps!).