bonjour from nantes

Greetings! I hail from the western French city of Nantes, population 600k, European Green Capital 2014. After the end of my first full day at the EcoCity Summit, I found a bite and some hydration at a packed, low-key bar downtown, with most of the tables spilling onto the pedestrian-only street in the warm evening air. I washed down a small aubergine curry and “muffins” (think mini cheese-filled yorkshire puddings) with two French-sized (25 cl) beers, a red the bar brewed itself. It was pretty freakin great…

I don’t really want to talk too much about the conference and content, but I want to share some random musings that I mused over on my nicely buzzed walk home after dinner.

  1. It’s easier to debate stuff in an international arena. Something about the way we use language. There is less bullshit… bullshit is less tolerated. There is less rhetoric… rhetoric is less appreciated. Debate is at least a bit more stripped to its core arguments.
  2. Which leads me to this point: written trumps spoken in arguing a point because of fewer prejudices. It’s harder to (pre)judge the author of a written piece than the deliverer of a spoken address. You can’t tell the person’s age, sex, race, beauty… none of that. You live and die by substance.
  3. Going back to point 1: Many people choose to stay in the international arena all their professional lives. It’s kind of addictive. It’s an ego boost, it’s high-flying, jet-setting… and it’s kinda superficial. It’s not really roll-up-your-sleeves, down-and-dirty groundwork. It’s sit-in-an-air-conditioned-room exchanging theories, ideas and whatnot. I think some of these types would die if they had nowhere to fly for more than a month.
  4. I may not be an energy policy expert in the office, but boy can I play the part of the energy-policy-expert-from-role-model-Germany here in France when there’s nary a German in sight! And you know what’s bizarre? When I tell people the story of the energy transition in Germany, I feel pride. What the heck?
  5. I really don’t want to work in the field of cities. There. I’ve said it.

Au revoir!

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