Yesterday, the strength of the French climate & environmental movement in all its diversity achieved a historic success. The government announced that the project of the new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Lande will be abandoned: after 50 years of heated opposition.
It is thanks to the courage, determination, hope, solidarity of those who, during more than 50 years, stood their ground to protect one of the most precious wetlands in France, and who put their roots there in order to grow a different kind of future, calling it ZAD (Zone to be Defended). It is the victory of those who participated in the legal recourse, the counter-expertise, who identified all endangered species. Those who participated in the mass mobilizations, who acted in solidarity with the agricultors, the unions. Those who participated in legal occupations, illegal occupations, moments of resistance, experimentation, whether locally, or beyond, including across Europe.
In the end, it is the victory of all those who faced Vinci and the multiple governments over the years saying: We do not defend nature, we are nature defending itself!
By saying no to NDDL and its world, the movement ultimately questioned the very foundations of the decision to build a new airport. According to the current trajectory, air traffic could double by 2035, but we know that to have a chance to limit climate change, we must keep fossil fuels in the ground, along with making it possible for the soil to naturally capture the carbons, rather than adding layers of useless concrete on top of it. We can no longer ignore the climate when it comes to the development of our territories. Given the international climate commitments of France, this was the only possible recourse. But this victory confirms that the tides have to change: any new infrastructure which is incompatible with our future should expect to suffer the same fate.
Last year, 40,000 people came to plant a stick at the ZAD and made a promise: picking them up to defend our common dreams, freed from ecological, climatic and social impasses, in the grove and beyond. On February 10, 2018, we’ll be there, tens of thousands, to converge in the ZAD, to celebrate the victory.
We keep on standing with the ZAD, as it’s still unsure what is to unfold for all the people living there, and we promise to stand if the government unleashes violence against it (which is still a possibility).
I encourage you to read this blog by Selçuk Balamir. For french speakers and beyond, watch and share these images shot at the ZAD.
Long live hope and alternatives, long live the ZAD!