30 May 2022

How cycling will help save the planet

The transport sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in France, accounting for 31% of emissions. In order to meet sustainable climate targets, it is imperative to drastically reduce our emissions.

IPCC states “Cycling is one of the lifestyle changes with the largest potential to reduce individual carbon footprint“. And “cycling is part of climate resilient development!

Who better than these experts to detail the importance of cycling as a major asset to initiate the ecological transition. Check the unofficial presentation of Cycling the 6th Assessment IPCC Report shared by Valérie Masson-Delmotte, co-président of group I.

Even the IEA (International Energy Agency) advises to make short trips by bike instead of driving, in its last report : How to save money, reduce reliance on Russian energy, support Ukraine and help the planet?

You can try this comparator for greenhouse gas emissions during transport from ADEME, example below with a Morzine-Montriond journey

Greenhouse gas emissions comparator

Cycling is an obvious way of reducing emissions and combating climate change. But many co-benefits can be associated with it: First of all, air quality and noise pollution.

The health benefits of cycling are also well established: cycling is one of the best remedies for a sedentary lifestyle and allows you to maintain regular physical activity with benefits for your physical and mental health.

Another advantage is that cycling is cheap and accessible to everyone. Maintenance costs are much lower and in the face of rising fuel prices, cycling is becoming an unavoidable alternative.

Cycling is also a sector that creates jobs in the regions. According to ADEME, the bicycle industry could create at least 150,000 jobs in 10 years, a figure equivalent to the number of jobs in the car industry in 2020.

A modal shift to cycling also has significant benefits for land-use planning by reducing the number of cars and limiting land development.

Brent Toderian via Bonpote
Cycling and Tourism

As shown in the cycling tourism positioning of the Auvergne Rhone-Alpes region and the monitoring file on ‘velomania’ ” Cycle tourism is growing rapidly. The platform France Vélo Tourisme confirms this growth with the increase in the number of bicycle reception facilities and cycle routes.

Study of Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Tourism on the positioning of the bicycle confirms this “cycling holidays are more than just a post-confinement phenomenon. They are part of a more sustainable change in tourist behaviour.” At present, in France, bicycle tourism generates more than 5 billion euros per year. This figure has increased by 46% in a decade.

This vision of sustainable, local or slow tourism is a real asset for tourist regions. It is in the interest of our territories to follow this beautiful tourism dynamic.

Strong increase and interest for biking

Cycling in general is a growing market, and in France in 2021 more bicycles will be purchased than cars (cycle observatory). Bicycle use is on the rise, even in rural areas, with ridership up 15% over 2019 according to Vélo & Territoires.

However, according to ADEME, the modal share of cycling in France is very low (2.7% of all journeys), which places France only 25th in the European Union where the average modal share is over 7%.

50% of all trips of less than 1 km are made by car. For trips of more than 5 km, the car already accounts for more than 72% of all trips.

Barriers to cycling development

There are many obstacles that limit the use of bicycles: the habit and ease of using the car, infrastructures and territorial developments designed solely to develop the use of the car, the lack of cycling infrastructures, cultural habits, etc. Today, our lifestyles are entirely dedicated to the car.

Not to mention lobbying by the car industry to preserve the status quo. Olivier Schneider, President of FUB, explains “The communication budget of the car industry in France is 4.7 billion euros per year, whereas the entire bicycle market (of all new bicycles) is barely 3 billion euros. The car industry spends more on advertising than the entire value of the bicycle market.

Not everyone will be able to cycle, and it will not be able to be used for every journey, but many preconceived ideas can be dispelled. Stein Van Oosteren, called« Mister bike » (author of Why Cycling, wish of a cycling France) insists “these are not reasons but excuses”.

First of all, the French are not opposed to it: In a study by the french ADEME, 83% of French people are in favour of setting up services and facilities to encourage cycling

For journeys with loads, distance, unevenness… many alternatives exist with electrically assisted bikes, cargo bikes and other three-wheelers. Many craftsmen now travel by bicycle, discover the directory of the association Les Boîtes à Vélo which supports bicycle entrepreneurship in France.

Let us be inspired by our neighbours… In the Netherlands, people over 65 are the age group that uses bicycles the most. In Finland, schoolchildren ride their bikes even on the snow in the middle of winter at minus 10 degrees… Camille Robson has succeeded in using her bicycle in our valley every single day for a full year!We have no more excuses!

According to a study by FUB Parlons Vélo, the two main obstacles to cycling are the feeling of insecurity when cycling and the lack of cycling facilities. It is therefore urgent to develop real mobility and cycling infrastructure policies, and there is a recent evolution in favor of cycling. In a French Region Ile et Vilaine major road projects are abandoned in order to invest in a major cycling plan The president of the departmental council explains: “Our priority must be the fight against global warming”

In rural and mountain areas

In rural areas where distances are great, the bicycle cannot be the only means of travel. IIt is not possible to transpose the same solutions as in the city. However, many journeys are still possible and it is important to start thinking about how to get around more by bike.

Co-benefits such as air quality, reduction of noise pollution, or limiting traffic jams are equally important in our valleys, even more so in periods of strong influence.

But the lack of facilities, the lack of a cycle network and the lack of structures do not encourage daily use. In the Netherlands, even in villages with 1,300 inhabitants, cycling is a daily occurrence.

In rural areas, 40% of trips are less than 5km, and many short trips are made (such as to fetch bread). Finally, we should not think in terms of journeys that are not made by bicycle but think about all that are possibles to do by bike.

In mountain resorts, mobility is by far the main source of greenhouse gas emissions and reviewing daily travel is a major way of reducing our emissions. And it is important to underline the plurality of benefits, for the inhabitants, for the environment and for visitors and tourists.

In the Swiss Alps in Valais, you can reserve a place for your bike on regional transport with resabike. Pro Bike Wallis gives some keys to cycling in a mountainous region.

In the heart of the Alps, in Oisans, cycling has become a real issue for the economic development of the territory, structured in the Cycling Lab Oisans: “The will of the Community of Communes is to make the cycle a leading axis of the development of the territory by maintaining activities, reinforcing the notoriety and diversifying the uses of the bicycle”.

So how do we act? All on our bikes?

Thanks to the FUB French Federation of Bicycle Users and another local association Mobilité Douce Chablais, Montagne Verte organised a film-debate evening around the documentary Together We Cycle. This film explains how Dutch citizens mobilised and took up this subject and succeeded in developing a real cycling culture within a few decades. Inspiring civic engagement to make our territories real ‘cycling lands’.

Employees, start biking to work and try to convince your employer to commit to a pro-bike approach. In France, you can benefit from forfait mobilité durable and learn more on funding for purchase of a bike (cargo bike, conversion bonus…)

Companies, you can register for the programme Objectif Employeur Pro-Vélo which can help you to develop the use of bicycles for commuting and work.

For the local councils, A cycle master plan can be the starting point for a global reflection on travel, and can be included in regulatory documents such as the PLU. A budget must then be mobilised to implement the scheme. Campaigns that motivate change, incentives for daily cycling should be associated. It should not be forgotten that temporary arrangements are often possible: alignment markers, modular dividers, etc.

And many partners can be mobilised:

  • ADEME (national calls for projects)
  • ADMA Académie des Mobilités Actives which ‘aims to provide France with real expertise in the integration of cycling and pedestrian issues into all public and private policies’.
  • ALVEOLE PLUS: funding program for secured bike parking
  • Consulting firm with expertise in mobility as BL Evolution
  • CEREMA (support for the implementation of effective mobility policies and services)
  • Department and region (meter financing, overall evaluation)
  • French State (Active Mobility Fund and DSIL) and Europe (Interreg, ERDF…)
  • FRANCE MOBILITES : platform of the ministry of ecological transition to improve daily transport in all territories
  • FUB French Federation of Bike Users to promote cycling in everyday life
  • GENERATION VELO : supports the deployment of the Know How ty Cycle to local authorities
  • VELO & TERRITOIRES: National network to develop the use of bicycles in all territories, especially in the funding for cycling policies

But above all, climate change and the environmental crisis cannot wait. As IPCC concludes “The evidence is clear: the time for action is now.” Every choice matters.”

28 April 2022

What is eco-anxiety and how to deal with it?

Dramatic impact of climate change, exceeding planetary limits, collapse of biodiversity, natural disasters, deforestation… all these upheavals are completely new. And uncertainty about the future has never been greater. The feeling of distress in the face of the ecological crisis is often referred to as “eco-anxiety”, which is described as the “disease of the century”. But what is eco-anxiety?

It is a recent term, which does not stop at simple anxiety but includes a variety of emotions such as sadness, fear of the future, loss of meaning, helplessness, anger, guilt, despair. The term solastalgia, defined in 2003 by Australian environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht, is also used. It refers to a feeling of distress at the irreversible change in our environment and the pain of losing our habitat.

Eco-anxiety is often associated with young people. Although a recent study in The Lancet found that 75% of 16-25 year olds find the future “frightening”, we can all be affected.

Eco-anxiety and solastalgia are not mental pathologies. They are in fact lucid people. Charline Schmerber, a psychotherapist specialising in eco-anxiety, says: “eco-anxious people are the healthy people in a world that doesn’t know it’s crazy“. Their dismay is justified and legitimate. In the end, it may seem almost surprising that we are not, given the current circumstances and information.

We are not born eco-anxious but we become so, through an evolutionary or brutal awareness that we must tame. The plurality of problems and the complexity of the ecological crisis often reinforce this feeling of despair and powerlessness. One can feel overwhelmed by the lack of answers and solutions. At the time of awareness, many people testify to their loneliness and incomprehension, “why isn’t everyone in the street in shock, panicking”. Often there is a strong sense of disconnect and a feeling of being misunderstood.

To protect oneself from this disturbing truth, it is easier to take refuge in a form of denial, as a defence mechanism. Telling ourselves that we are not responsible, that there will be technical solutions, or just being indifferent… The change needed to fight climate change and the concrete consequences for ourselves and our children are often impossible to accept.

This is why eco-anxiety is similar to post-traumatic functioning. To know is to suffer, we preferred when we didn’t know, we want to go back to the way it was before. However, we can no longer act as if we didn’t know, and there is a kind of mourning work to do.

Anyone who has taken a close interest in the urgency of global warming is bound to “get slapped in the face” and feel the pinch in one way or another. Kübler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) can be applied to climate change.

Eco-anxious people are not necessarily fragile people. On the contrary, it takes courage and great moral strength to face the facts. Especially since accepting the truth of the ecological crisis and global warming requires a lot of emotional strength.

Fear can finally be a driving force for action. It is important to acknowledge your emotions so that they do not paralyse you. To take this eco-anxiety seriously is also to respect this awareness, this dizzying disarray in the face of present and future ecological disaster.

But doesn’t seeing the planet suffer prevent us from being happy? We share with you 10 tips from Dr Alice Desbiolles’ book – Eco-anxiety – Living serenely in a damaged world – which provides clear answers, without fatalism, for action.

1/ Knowing how to let go without giving up: Start by accepting and learning to manage your emotions. They say you have to take care of yourself to take care of others, it’s the same thing for the planet.

2/ Learn to choose and fight your battles: You must be indulgent with yourself and not increase your mental load. Do not carry everything on your shoulders as this will not solve anything.

3/ Conjugate our life to the present: Do not dwell on what we should have done or project ourselves too far into the future.

4/ Spend time into nature: We spend ¼ of our time in front of a screen, whereas reconnecting with nature is essential. There is ample evidence that outdoor activities are beneficial to any form of stress or anxiety.

5/ Desiring differently to achieve fully: Adapting to climate change will require a paradigm shift. Revisit the way we consume, the way we travel, not as a renunciation but as a new positive challenge. Changing our perspective to change our course.

6/ Take on tasks that are within our reach: Don’t aim too high so that you feel powerless, but aim for what you can do. A will to power, to want to do everything, would be too difficult to assume. Start with small things, a small act is better than a big intention.

7/ Wearing the colours of our difference: Thinking differently is not easy and it is a real challenge for those around us, it takes courage and energy on a daily basis. We must also avoid counterproductive sectarianism.

8/ Reclaiming basic skills: Feeling useful, learning to do things by oneself such as gardening, repairing, finding one’s way, understanding where things come from. Without neglecting solidarity and cooperation.

9/ Make our children and relatives aware of the virtues of nature: Accompanying our children and relatives, spending time in nature will be the best way to raise awareness. It is more important to provide kindness and empathy than to offer objects.

10/ Choose to be happy in spite of everything: Don’t stay alone. Join your friends or associations such as Montagne Verte or others. And above all, get together, surround yourself with people who share your thoughts and concerns in order to talk and exchange.

It takes strength to take the measure of the situation, be proud of it.

To go further:

Coping with climate change distress

Climate anxiety spiking: three actions could be the antidote

A guide to eco-anxiety: How to protect the planet and your mental health

Words: Alice de Chilly

13 October 2021

Branded as ‘Sustainable’ — What’s in a word?

Should product companies self-proclaim as ‘sustainable’?

Spoiler alert — no, they shouldn’t.
But there are other more intelligent and accurate ways to communicate on environmental action. Read on to find out why ‘sustainable’ is scientifically incorrect and how you can position your brand/products with more accuracy and in line with the legally binding ‘Green Claims Code’.

See this full post on Earthrise’s Instagram profile.

What does being ‘sustainable’ mean for businesses?

Specifically in the context of environmental science, being ‘sustainable’ means that your business operates to meet its needs (socially and financially)…

  • Without contributing further to global warming
  • Without contributing to the inevitable consequences of further warming
  • Without unbalancing and over-depleting the world’s natural resources
  • Without degrading or destroying the earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Without causing harm or disruption to anyone or anything, now, or ever

In other words… Being “sustainable” means operating to meet your current business needs without compromising the ability of all life forms (human, flora and fauna) to meet their own survial needs for the indefinite future.
Emphasis on the deep time scale — hundreds and thousands of years.
Being sustainable is not about ‘environmental credentials’ within a financial year, or even the entire longevity of a company. It’s about what we leave behind when we are gone. How our actions today contribute to the collective outcomes for the lives of tomorrow.

Vital signs

Unless you’ve been on a rocket in space for the past year — you’ll know that the earth’s temperature correlates with the volume of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the earth’s atmosphere. In this graph from NASA, we’re looking specifically at carbon dioxide levels.

This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements,
provides evidence that atmospheric CO₂ has increased since the Industrial Revolution.

The graph above shows an exponential spike in atmospheric carbon dioxide at the exact time of the industrial revolution — the time we as humans began to scale up industry, manufacturing, and worldwide transport — powered by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels (a non-renewal energy on human lifespan timescales).
Directly correlating with atmospheric carbon dioxide (and other GHGs), the earth’s surface continues to significantly warm, with recent global temperatures being the hottest in the past 2,000+ years.

While sustainability is an important concept, simply sustaining our current system will only drive it to collapse. — Earthrise

More GHGs = Warmer Temperatures = Environmental Disasters

So we know that any kind of activity that emits greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide emissions that come primarily from energy production, including burning coal, oil, or natural gas), results in the warming of the earth which leads to all kinds of environmental disasters and long-term, widespread damage and disruption — physically and economically.

With the unequivocal evidence, it’s globally agreed and accepted by climate scientists, and finally governments, that for as long as business activities emit greenhouse gases (e.g. as a result of dependence on fossil fuels) we are compromising the definition of operating ‘sustainably’.

But what if we plant trees and offset our emissions?

Because it’s impossible to transition to a decarbonised economy overnight, and we still rely on fossil fuels for global trade, ‘offsetting’ should be part of any environmental action plan.

BUT, ‘offsetting’ to claim your operations are ‘sustainable’ is inaccurate, misinformed, and misleading.

As Climate Scientist, Professor Johan Rockström explained on The Sustainability Dialogues podcast (22:12 timestamp)…
Carbon emissions from a flight can remain in the atmosphere for 1000 years. So any ‘offsetting’ for your flight, for example, would need the same longevity.
So even if you commissioned the planting of one million trees today to ‘offset’ your operational carbon emissions — in 1000 years time, or much sooner, there is a good chance some of the stored carbon would be released back into the atmosphere.

Read: Desperate PR or Genuine Environmental Action?

The Greenhouse Effect means that not all of our emissions can escape back into space — they are absorbed by GHGs, then radiated in all directions, warming the earth. The earth’s ecosystems have a finite and ever-depleting capacity for carbon storage (forests for example). The true way to tackle this global crisis is by fixing it at the source — reducing and eventually eliminating our dependence on non-renewable energy as well as protecting/restoring the ecosystems which manage the carbon cycle.
Don’t omit— this is only addressing one environmental issue (global warming) — being ‘sustainable’ also applies to other issues like waste, leaching, and air pollution. If products end up in landfill and the economy is not circular, that’s not ‘sustainable’ either.

Lessons from the Leaders

It’s no coincidence that arguably the most environmentally responsible brand out there (Patagonia) calls out misuse of the words above (including ‘sustainable’). Their tone and approach is very clear that they are part of the problem but doing what they can to be more responsible.

“Everything we make has an impact on the planet.” — Patagonia.

“The climate crisis is no longer a forecast — for millions, it’s become a frequent, difficult, even devastating reality, and every part of Patagonia’s business is implicated. We are enmeshed in carbon emissions: making polyester thread from oil, weaving fabric on machines run on fossil fuels, dyeing fabrics with chemical dyes and waterproofing jackets, sewing shirts in factories, transporting pants from one country to another or from one city to another, shipping clothes in plastic mailbags to the people who order them, driving to work.”

Patagonia is far from perfect but they admit that and understand the science and how to communicate the problems and potential solutions with thoughtfulness and transparency.

‘Sustainable’ is only a word — why does it matter?

“It’s only a word”. “People can relate to it”. “People understand it”. “Everyone’s using it”. “We’re aiming towards it”.“What’s wrong with it”?

It matters for five main reasons:

  1. It’s inaccurate (see point 1 of the ‘Green Claims Code’ below)
  2. It’s misleading (see point 2 below)
  3. You can’t assess the product’s end of life impact (see point 5 below)
  4. We’ll be dead by the time sustainability is measured (see point 6 below)
  5. It’s illegal(The CMA has warned businesses they have until the New Year to make sure their environmental claims comply with the law).

In summary, the science (and Patagonia’s leadership) informs us that it would be ethically wrong to label a brand or business as ‘sustainable’ for as long as we depend on and emit carbon or other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Ethical brands know that and find ways to communicate their efforts without greenwashing. In other words — tell it like it is (see ‘We Are Not a Sustainable Company’ by Noah in ‘Related Reading’).

Green Claims Code — legally binding framework

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has developed the Green Claims Code which sets out six key points to check your environmental claims are genuinely ‘green’.

Green claims MUST:
1. Be truthful and accurate: Businesses must live up to the claims they make about their products, services, brands and activities
2. Be clear and unambiguous: The meaning that a consumer is likely to take from a product’s messaging and the credentials of that product should match
3. Not omit or hide important information: Claims must not prevent someone from making an informed choice because of the information they leave out
4. Only make fair and meaningful comparisons: Any products compared should meet the same needs or be intended for the same purpose
5. Consider the full life cycle of the product: When making claims, businesses must consider the total impact of a product or service. Claims can be misleading where they don’t reflect the overall impact or where they focus on one aspect of it but not another
6. Be substantiated: Businesses should be able to back up their claims with robust, credible and up to date evidence

Alternative ways to communicate on environmental actions

If in Patagonia’s words ‘everything we make is harmful to the planet’ — the only thing we can do is make things less harmful and less impactful on the earth’s natural resources by being more responsible.
Rather than asking ‘how sustainable is a product’ — a more logical question is ‘how can we minimise the inevitable environmental impact of globally-traded products’. Even an avocado is not ‘sustainable’ when they are mass-produced and flown from South America to Europe.
It goes without saying, it’s not just about the product manufacturing — it’s about the entire supply chain, business operations, staff movements, and post-purchase outcome — from ‘cradle to grave’ (and beyond).
The wording needs careful consideration and a representation of the truth based on science and what is and isn’t possible for your specific business.
Striving to be a ‘more sustainable’ company is a great, much-needed endeavour. But in light of the science above, the language needs to change.

Thought starters

  • Innovating to reduce environmental impact…
  • Driven in pursuit of less harmful solutions…
  • Committed to environmentally responsible practises…
  • Striving for environmental solutions in an imperfect world…
  • Led by environmental science, driven by responsible practice…

‘Environmentally responsible’ is more intelligent and accurate than ‘sustainable’ because it allows the acknowledgement of imperfections and transparency on the fact that only protection and restoration of the earth’s natural resources is sustainable, not the infinite depletion of non-renewable resources.
None of us are perfect, but that doesn’t mean the language we use can’t be.
So what’s in a word? Literally everything.

Author: Gillon Hunter

14 December 2020

Easy Eco Household Swaps

It’s never been easier to search for solutions and ways to help the environment but the overload of information on the internet can often seem daunting and make us feel that our actions as an individual won’t make a difference. This is far from the truth because it’s through individual efforts and actions that changes have been generated within communities! The huge rise of sustainable products and alternatives now easily available to all are a result of people making changes on an individual level.

The simplest and most effective way to start is by making a few small changes in our day to day lives. By starting with a few easy swaps at home, we can cultivate better habits and healthier choices for ourselves and the planet. 

Most of our eco-friendly household swaps are more cost-effective, easy to do and great alternatives – so you don’t have to sacrifice any comforts!  

Swap Cling-Film for BeesWax Wraps 

Cling-film is a very convenient way to store food, yet it creates a large amount of single-use waste. Beeswax wraps are a great alternative to storing food and the plus side is that they can be washed and reused for up to a year, so you’re saving both waste and money in the long term. As they’re made from natural materials, beeswax wraps can also be composted at the end of their life! You can buy them at most bio shops (like La Vie Claire if you’re in Morzine or the no-waste bio shop La Vie Selon Gaïa down in Thonon), or you can try making your own at home.

Swap a Plastic Water Bottle for a Reusable Bottle 

Water sold in plastic bottles creates a huge amount of waste – and why drink bottled water when we have great fresh water available on tap! Buy once, buy well: a reusable bottle is a companion for life. They’re easy to carry, non-toxic and come in an array of funky colours and designs.

Swap Takeaway Coffee Cups for a Reusable Cup 

Takeaway coffee cups are considered one of the most widely-used single-use products. The paper lining in many of these cups makes them hard to fully recycle, therefore they can often end up in landfill. Not only is a reusable coffee cup practical for everyday life: many of us mountain folk are partial to a sunrise hike or backcountry mission… and what could be better than watching a sunrise from the top of a mountain with a hot coffee in your hand! 

Swap Tea Bags for Loose Leaf Tea and a Tea Strainer

Swap convenience for taste with loose leaf tea. Albeit tea bags are cheaper and convenient, but if you can afford to, we recommend opting for loose leaf tea to enjoy the health benefits of drinking tea, as well as reducing waste. Most teabags actually contain plastics and can’t be composted but loose leaves can be. They make a great present for a loved one or as a treat for yourself.

Swap Baking Paper for a Silicone Mat

Once baking paper is stained by food, it can’t be recycled and therefore it is thrown away. We recommend investing in a silicone matt that is completely oven- and dishwasher-safe, non-stick, reusable and easy to clean. 

Swap Harsh Cleaning Products for DIY Cleaning Products 

Check out our guide on DIY cleaning products for some ideas on crafting your own cleaning products to reduce the use of chemicals and plastic at home. 

Swap Floss for Refillable Bamboo Floss

Floss is such a tiny item that its environmental impact can often be overlooked. Usually in a single-use plastic container, the product itself and its packaging gets thrown away. Opt for a refillable bamboo floss instead, which is made up of natural floss from bamboo and comes in a refillable glass container. 

Swap a Bottle of Shampoo for a Shampoo Bar

How easy is it to grab any bottle of shampoo from the supermarket shelf? Too easy. Yet it’s an unnecessary amount of plastic waste, unless you can refill the bottle once it’s run out at a no-waste shop. Not everyone has the opportunity to shop at one of those, so we suggest buying a bar of shampoo instead. Your local bio shop will likely have several options for you, otherwise you can look online at brands like Shampoing Solide (FR) or Friendly (UK). If you’re used to washing your hair with heavily chemical-based products, it might take a few washes for your hair to adapt but keep at it. They last for ages, have no packaging and are much better for your hair and skin!

Swap Liquid Soap for a Bar of Soap

Like a bar of shampoo, a bar of soap does exactly the same job as liquid soap, yet has far less -if not no- packaging. If you live in Morzine, we highly recommend the argan oil soap bar from Le Comptoir du Miel on Route de la Plagne.

Swap Cotton Pads for a Face Towel

Cotton Pads are an easy and gentle way to remove make-up yet they are single-use and completely unnecessary. A face towel that can be washed is a great way to save on cost in the long run and much healthier for the planet or alternatively, you can purchase or make some reusable cotton pads

Swap Tampons and Pads for a Menstrual Cup

Despite receiving a lot of scepticism and concern over its effectiveness, more and more women are opting for the safer, cleaner and healthier benefits of the menstrual cup. An average woman will use around 11,000 disposable menstrual products in a lifetime and most of these end up in landfill, or worse, oceans. Products like Mooncup are a great way to reduce waste as well as saving you a lot of money.

Words: Bella Charlton

17 September 2019

Our new direction

Exciting things are happening for Montagne Verte and we want you to be involved! On Tuesday 10th September we hosted two presentation (in French & English) to announce our new working model to the community and we were stoked to see so many of you turn up! 130 people wanting to know more about what we can do in the face of the changing climate is an encouraging sign. This is something we have to work towards together and our community is proving ready for the challenge. 

If you weren’t able to make it, here’s a summary of what went down (only you don’t get the free wine this time).

We are now an officially registered charitable association and will be overseen by a Conseil d’Administration with representation from across the community. 

Our plan is to work on behalf of local businesses and concerned residents to help future proof our valley’s micro-economy against the changing climate. By delivering an ambitious programme of change we will be able to brand ‘the valley’ as an eco-destination. 

We believe that long term Morzine and it’s neighbours have the potential to become one of the most environmentally friendly group of resorts in the Alps, and with consumer trends changing, this reputation will help local businesses continue to thrive. 


The Montagne Verte Conseil will agree upon a job description for a full time ‘Sustainability Director’, employed by Montagne Verte, who will work on behalf of the community on all things climate change and sustainability related. Giving support and guidance to local businesses to help them become more eco / sustainable.


Montagne Verte is a charity funded by the community it serves. Therefore, funding will need to be raised to pay for the Sustainability’s Director salary and other overheads, most likely via the following mechanisms:

  • Local businesses paying monthly subscriptions
  • One off donations from individuals (through awareness campaigns – via website etc.)
  • Targeted approaches to HNWIs (high net worth individuals) 
  • Grant applications

We aim to have the Sustainability Director in place by December 2019.

Once recruited, a reporting structure will be agreed with the Sustainability Director and the Conseil, with priorities laid out, alongside monthly or quarterly reporting in place to the broader Montagne Verte member network. Transparent accounting with financial reports will be made available to the members and to the public. We can then start driving change to benefit the community and the planet!


In order to achieve all these things, we welcome support not just from our community but from anyone!

Become a part of our network
Sign up to volunteer and let us know in what way you could help. Fill in the form here.
Add yourself to our mailing list and keep up to date with what we’re doing.
Follow us on Facebook & Instagram and share our mission with your friends both online and in real life.

Whether it is 250 Euros a month or a one off 5 Euros, it really helps! Our online donation platform will be live very soon or you can click here for our RIB if you would like to set up a direct debit.

We all have a role to play in this climate emergency, and Montagne Verte wants to see the sustainable enjoyment of the mountains for years to come…

15 September 2019

Eco Friendly Travel Tips

We all know that travelling can be pretty bad for the planet, with air travel being the main culprit. But here are a few simple steps you can take not to make it any worse, tailored to the classic mountain holiday.


Pack Light

Every kilo of weight increases the CO2 emissions of planes, trains and cars, so when you’re packing, think carefully about what you’re actually going to need while you’re away. Check the forecast, research what the weather is likely to be doing during your trip and pack accordingly. For example, if you’re going on a ski holiday in April you’re probably not going to need the same amount of layers as you would in January as it won’t be as cold. 

Prepare Your Home

Unplug your electrics, turn all the lights off, turn the thermostat down, close all the windows, generally make sure your house or apartment is in energy-saving mode before you leave. Did you know that if something is plugged in at the wall and not being used (prime example: phone chargers) it can still leach out excess electricity? Unplug those appliances, save yourself money on your heating and electricity bill and leave the house feeling prepared.

Take your Reusable Coffee Cup, Water Bottle, Shopping and Produce Bags with You

When you’re travelling you can accumulate a lot of rubbish in a short space of time, but remembering your reusable kit will massively reduce that. It may be a cheesy thing to say, but climate change doesn’t take holidays, so when we’re travelling it’s important to remember to keep doing all the things we do at home to reduce waste. If you’re in Switzerland it’s also important to note that you CAN drink the water from taps in the toilets and in the mountains it’s generally safe to drink water from the troughs around town – tried and tested – but if you’re worried there are a range of filters available that make any water safe to drink.  

Don’t Buy Travel-Sized Toiletries

While small, single use, plastic travel toiletries may help you save on packing space, they’re terrible for the planet. The best way to save on plastic is to buy in bulk and then refill, and there’s no reason you can’t do this with your toiletries, too. You can buy small reusable bottles from most pharmacies or supermarkets that you can fill up with your regular shampoo to take on holiday, or you can even reuse old bottles or pots you have lying around at home. You’d be surprised what you can use if you’re willing to get creative and plan in advance.

Invest in a Soap Box

If you already cut down on plastic by using a bar of soap instead of shower gel and shampoo bars instead of bottles, you’re in need of a soap box. Lush does a great selection of cork and tin boxes expressly for travel purposes, and you can also head to your local organic or camping shop to see what they have on offer. But again, you’d be surprised what you can find around the house that’s perfect for storing a bar of soap or shampoo for a week or two. Old moisturiser pots, sturdy glass jars and small Tupperwear containers work just as well. 


Carbon Offset Your Flight

If you have the option to carbon offset your flight, why not take it? It might cost you a bit more money (and it might be a bit of an ethical minefield), but it’s more about the statement than the extra dollar. If an airline sees more and more people offsetting the CO2 created by their flight, it shows them that their customers care about the planet and will encourage them to think more about their environmental initiatives. (Hopefully.) Too many companies fail to implement impactful environmental policies because they say their customers don’t want to pay a premium for products and services that take the environment into account. Let’s spend a few extra bucks to prove them wrong, and thus, help make ‘premium’ eco-friendly services more accessible to everyone.

Or Better Yet, Take the Train

The same theory applies to train travel. While it’s widely accepted as the most eco-friendly form of transport to the Alps, it takes longer (especially if you’re not travelling from London), it’s more expensive than flying and you often end up having to schlep across Paris or London with all your ski or bike gear. Not ideal. But the more people who use the train to get to the Alps, the more likely it is for rail networks to improve their routes, prices and services. 

Think About Your Airport Transfers

In Morzine we’re lucky to have a huge range of airport transfer companies at our fingertips to get you from the airport to the mountains. But if you’ve been stuck in backed up traffic on a Saturday getting to resort you’ll know the impact of driving, too! While a transfer is the easiest option, it’s also possible to get to Morzine using public transport (train to Thonon and bus to Morzine) and it takes about three hours, but we know timing is an issue when getting to the airport, and the bus doesn’t run very regularly, so a shared transfer is often your best option. It’s just like car-pooling for airport transfers.