If you go on a Friday night around The Champs Elyseesin heart Paris, it’s possible you’ll come across what appears to be the latest environmental trend right now, at least in France. Any group of young people improvising acrobats and climbing shop windows. Their goal is to turn off the sign lights.
Environmental hysteria running through France
TRUE “parkour“, which was implemented in the tourist heart of the French capital to save energy. The group that started organizing environmental patrols a few steps from the Arc de Triomphe two years ago, amid the epidemic, is talking about an awareness campaign. So far none of the traders have complained and the police have allowed it.
However, it looks as unique as in France where the president is Emmanuel Macron He would like to turn into an eco-locomotive for Europe, and to raise awareness about it should be a street acrobatic in the middle of the Parisian midnight. In theory, these signs should already be off, as there is a law since 2013 that requires stores to have their windows in the dark until dawn. But no one has enforced this rule.
Thus the shops became to some extent a symbol of this race for the environment that had captured a large part of French society. During the day, there are many local police agents to check that the heating in the winter and the air conditioning in the summer stay within the temperatures set by law. At night, instead, children practicing parkour go out to turn off the lights.
Light Off initiative
Parkour today is an all-round sport, practiced on a competitive level. But it began as a street activity on the outskirts of major trans-Alpine cities at least 30 years ago. It roughly consists of following a path from a given point A to a given point B, all overcoming obstacles along the way as fast as possible. It is practiced primarily in urban areas, where it is literally necessary to climb all kinds of obstacles to reach the end of the track.
Point B for Parisian children has been fixed to the buttons of illuminated signs of many shops in central Paris. The goal is to get there and turn off the lights. It is no coincidence that the initiative was named The lights are off It is carried out by the group in the region. Using typical parkour acrobatics, you can climb walls, climb streetlights and shutters to press the buttons placed above the signs. From 2020 onwards, the initiative is constantly repeated every Friday evening.
As a power crisis looms, young activists in Paris use superhero-like parkour moves to turn off the buzzing lights that leave stores lit all night. https://t.co/LMnTtdvi7d pic.twitter.com/IlEi1UDiIw
– The New York Times (nytimes) October 13, 2022
Parkour is practiced in the center of Paris by young people from different neighbourhoods. He is at the head of the group On The Spot Kevin HaA university student interviewed by several French newspapers in recent months. “In a world with limited resources, the best way to not waste is to reduce consumption“, male Le Figaro.
The main purpose of practicing parkour between stores is to educate people to save energy. “It’s not the efficiency of the process that matters that we care about – added Kevin Ha – because obviously we can’t turn off all the lights in Paris, but with our forays we hope to be able to show how even small token actions can make the difference.”
The initiative sparked curiosity. There was little controversy, as the group managed to gain attention without resorting to violent tactics or erotic shows, as happened recently in London by activists who tried to discredit Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. The Parisian parkour among the shops is also a new part of the environment that is made more of speeches and symbols than concrete facts. A bit like asking people to wash less or avoid heating.
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