The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Jane Goodall and Other Environmental Leaders Respond to Notre Dame Fire
A fire broke out in Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral Monday evening. It burned for almost five hours, destroying two-thirds of the roof and causing its spire to collapse.
The church, which has stood in Paris since the 1200s, has come to embody "the permanence of a nation," Henri Astier wrote for BBC News. It was last seriously damaged during the French Revolution and survived both World Wars.
Around 500 firefighters worked to control the blaze. In the end, the church's structure, including its two towers, was "saved and preserved as a whole," Fire Chief Jean-Claude Gallet said. No one was killed, though one firefighter was seriously injured. The fire also had a profound emotional impact on those who watched it burn.
"It is like losing a member of one's own family," 45-year-old marketing director Pierre Guillaume Bonnet told The New York Times. "For me there are so many memories tied up in it."
As expressions of grief and solidarity poured out from around the world, environmental leaders were among those who responded to the tragedy.
Primatologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall wrote on her website about how much the cathedral had meant to her. She shared an excerpt from her book Reason for Hope in which she described how visiting the church had helped her through a difficult time in her life.
"[T]he experience I had there, when I visited in 1977, marked an epiphany in my thinking about my place on Planet Earth and the meaning of my life," Goodall wrote.
In the excerpt, Goodall describes hearing Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor play on the cathedral organ while the Rose window glowed with morning light. She said she could not believe that the moment was the work of chance alone, and so came to believe in God.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters tackling the frightful flames, and all those in France for whom Notre Dame is a integral part of the French nation and especially for all who worship there," Goodall wrote Monday. The fire comes as Catholics celebrate Holy Week, which leads up to Easter next Sunday.
Other activists drew a connection between the loss of Notre Dame and the loss of the natural world due to climate change and other human actions.
"Beauty and meaning can be so vulnerable — not to be taken for granted, ever," he wrote.
Grist writer Eric Holthaus agreed.
"The profound sense of permanent loss is heartbreaking," he tweeted.
French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to see the church rebuilt.
"Notre Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives ... So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together," he said, as The Guardian reported.
French billionaire and Kering CEO and Chairman François-Henri Pinault has promised 100 million euros to the cause.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dave Cooke
So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.
By Richard Connor
A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.
By Raya A. Al-Masri
Different strategies for resisting the spread of the new coronavirus have emerged in different countries. But the one that has cut through everywhere is simple and, supposedly, can be done by anyone: "Wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds."