Consumers of open spaces : the coast in danger

The indefatigable surveyor of open virgin open areas, Maxence Gallot, raises a cry of alarm about the real estate frenzy which threatens the coastlines of the worldwide. Accompanied by magnificent silvery photos gleaned in the course of his journeys devoted to surfing, he poses questions about these treasures on earth which we could lose for ever.

Maxence Gallot

Everyday life does not stop us from being alarmed about future worries concerning the planet. Imperturbably, tourism continues to brandish its economic banner and the real estate investors are gaining ground with constructions overflowing along the coast. Time for protecting the coastline, its waves, its fauna, flora and equally man on the threshold of the sea is short.

Maxence Gallot

During May, the French littoral law passed within an inch of being relaxed and reformed. Voted for with unanimity in 1986, it concerns the protection, the development and the management of the coast. It also avoids densifying the housing projects which do not respect the environments of the coastal zones. This law defines 4 objectives :

-To protect rare species, create awareness about, and maintain, the ecological balance.
-To manage in an economical way the consumption of space due to urbanisation and touristic developments.
-To open the shore more widely to the general public.
-To give priority along the coastline to the development of activities linked to the sea.

Maxence Gallot

France, which occupies 23rd place in the world ranking for corruption according to the 2018 ranking published by the NGO Transparency International, is too vulnerable when it comes to affairs concerning large sums of money so that one can imagine a breach of this littoral law. Happily, notable due to an outcry, the law wasn’t amended. But this affair must be an alert to the necessity of protecting ourselves from the steamer roller of mass tourism. Everywhere around the world, the coasts are menaced by a wild urbanisation. Everywhere is sterilised and the shores are redesigned to attract tourists who are consumers of compact and sterilised holidays.

Maxence Gallot

The littoral whets the appetite of real estate investors, dragging along in their wake political decisions blinded by sacrosanct short term economical development. In countries such as Morocco, Indonesia or Chile, building sites modify the coastline, the reefs are denatured and the waves transformed. The fish clear off and the fishermen return empty handed. The pressure of building forces the peasants to give up their terrain, chasing away traditional activities and replacing them with activities which are linked to tourism. The young locals are deprived of their playgrounds, theirs waves and their dreams. Slowly the surf culture deteriorates. Consumed by luxury, the natural heritage is transformed, the space is reduced and, even if there still exist some virgin paradises, tourism is on the increase and destruction is accentuated.

Maxence Gallot

Nevertheless solutions exist, starting by the way in which we travel. It is up to each of us not to contribute to this headlong rush. If we want to protect the ground which we discover and the waves we dream of, it is necessary to renounce certain impulses and favour ecotourism rather than holidays in golden boxes. There is so much to be learnt when in contact with local inhabitants, such as the spirit of sharing and the memories you bring back. Everybody could also favour local village inns, buy their vegetables from local producers, eat at the local greasy spoon and finally discover the true face of the area visited.

Maxence Gallot

Why are so many ruses necessary for our self-fulfilment ? Isn’t there enough authentic beauty when looking at a landscape as it is?

Maxence Gallot

 

Maxence Gallot

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