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For Paul Galles, there is no transformation without social connections

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MP Paul Galles is determined to have a long way to go before going to COP 27. By visiting projects that give him hope for a more sustainable world. In Alsace, he said, he was very impressed.

You find your way by walking” is an adage adopted by the municipality of Ungersheim in Alsace to develop its defense plan. Initiatives for a village for a “carbon-free, local and more fraternal” economy were enough to enthuse Christian-Social MP Paul Galles. to COP 27.

“Our task as parliamentarians is to monitor what the government is doing during COP27, but we are on the right anyway, so we are going to Egypt to support it. The mission also allows us to discuss with MPs from around the world, and finally, it gives us the opportunity to create links and set up networks, and for me it’s the opportunity to go out into the field to find good examples that lead. Toward a more sustainable world,” explains Paul Gales.

A promising visit

Last Thursday he was in Ungersheim, a town of 2,500 people that joined the ‘Towns and Villages in Transition’ movement in 2009, following a process developed by students at Ireland’s Kinsale University under the guidance of permaculture practitioner Rob Hopkins. And the teacher. “I had an appointment with the mayor,” he told us from the Alsatian village where he’s always been before flying to COP 27. The visit impressed him and he was able to show the mayor Jean-Claude Mench what the village was all about. Means transition. “He had a clear vision and was very kind,” he says.

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The visit gave him hope by revealing that environmental, social and economic considerations can be rejected on the principle of autonomy for greater sustainability.

“We always talk first about the environment, here they have reached the rate of 80% renewable energy for heating and hot water, for the whole people and businesses, thanks to biomass and photovoltaics”, describes the Christian-Social Deputy.

He also discovered the radish, a local currency that reminded him of the becky, the currency of Beckerich in another ecological village, Luxembourg.

He strongly applauded Ungersheim’s discovery of “intellectual autonomy,” one of the pillars of local politics. Thinking and decisions come from civil society actively participating in the discussion. “It’s very well organized, they’ve done partnership sites for those who prefer to tinker than discuss, they’ve done insulation work, they’ve built a social grocery store”, the MP cites as an example.

New ways of life

How do we motivate people to participate in the transformation? This question piqued his interest, and he turned to the mayor of the area, Jean-Claude Mensch, in search of the most appropriate quote. “You have to make very clear political proposals and show empathy and solidarity with people. I think he does it well. “

There has been a lot of awareness among the people and it has yielded more results at the municipal level. “During Covid, social ties were severed and it was difficult. Later, we were able to observe how thirsty people are for social connections,” adds Paul Gales.

The transformation will go through the municipal level, that is a fact. “In the municipalities, we are closer to the people, social connection is the key”, he sums up.

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“The scarcity of fossil resources, mainly oil, the costs of which will have a significant impact on the budget, and Ungersheim developed its transformation with a roadmap that pre-adapts to climate change and rewards more connected lifestyles”.

Before Ungersheim Paul Galles visited the Earthship at Redange-sur-Attert, a 100% ecological experience.

He leaves Zurich for Egypt on Saturday with a head full of ideas. “The path I take to reach the COP is more important to me than the COP itself,” he concludes.

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