Lyon: a laboratory of political ecology?
Local administrators in Lyon now include many former association leaders, e.g Fabien Bagnon, former spokesperson for La ville à vélo and currently vice-president of roads and active mobility at Métropole de Lyon; or Benjamin Badouardco-founder of the anti-advertising association Plein la vue, has just joined the national executive office of EELV as co-chairman of the environmental group in Lyon Metropolis and in charge of relations with civil society (associations and unions).
At the center of this associative and warlike galaxy in Lyons, the association Anciela represents a large planet. This structure was born in 2012 from the will of several students and today supports the initiatives of companies, citizens or associations in favor of ecological and solidarity transition. A professional training organization was born: Transition Institute, which accompanies professional development and retraining towards an ecological and solidarity transition world.
Martin Durigneux is both president of Anciela and co-founder of the Transitions Institute.
Lyon has a very strong and very old armed SSE. To give you an idea, for a while the nature conservation federations of the Rhône-Alpes region represented more than half of the employees of all nature federations in France.
Lyon also has a very strong, humanistic, influential Catholic culture, which has been reinforced by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si.
This is evidenced by the rise of the Association of Catholic Alternatives, which has run the Simone café in the center of Lyon for six years, and several members of which are centered around, or even part of, the political offices of local political leaders.
Lyon is an exception, isn’t it?
However, is there really an ecological quality to Lyon that we don’t see elsewhere in France? It’s actually not appropriate Aurelien Martinez, author of ” When the greens come to town (Bouquins, 2022), a book study in which he visited ten major cities run by environmentalists since the 2020 municipal elections.
For this independent journalist, this account of an ecological ecosystem “à la lyonnaise” can be likened to a form of storytelling.
Gregory Doucet [maire de Lyon] clearly, we would like to turn Lyon into a laboratory of political ecology, and we would like to tell this beautiful story, that there will be a favorable ground, that there are many actors, that is why it won in 2020 and will continue. However, compared to other French cities, Lyon was not necessarily the most advanced, or even late. In cities that were supposed to be more left-wing, like Poitiers or Besançon, there was a stronger political consciousness. Lyon was not identified as unavailable by EELV. Moreover, Gregory the Duce potentially won, because there were quite violent disagreements between his opponents.
Lyon remains a big city whose sociological evolution favors the arrival of green elected officials, but this is also the case in Bordeaux, Grenoble, Strasbourg or Poitiers. An electoral map that prioritizes the election Marie-Charlotte Garin. It is the same impression that during the six months the new environmentalist deputy developed in a political culture very different from what he saw in Paris when he sat in the National Assembly in Lyon.
I believe that the elected officials in Lyon are very little in the logic of “politics”, high egos, people want to exist, can be manipulative, low blows. Here I have the impression that the climate is very healthy. When there is a difference of opinion, words are said in a clear, kind and exemplary manner. I find it comforting, and it gives me reason to be optimistic, to tell myself that if we can create this climate in an area like ours, there may be hope that we can export it as widely as possible.
The Greens in Lyon have benefited from a form of political alignment for two years. With multiple attacks from the opposition and managing the political frustrations that are inevitable when newcomers take over the leadership of a city, now is the time to exercise power. In 2020, the Greens were elected in Lyon by program. In 2026, they will have to accept the balance sheet.