Basta! in English

Basta! in English

World Heritage

Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon Rainforest Among Outstanding Natural Sites Under Threat from French Multinationals

By Olivier Petitjean

Half of World Heritage sites are currently threatened by industrial development, and the oil and mining sectors pose a particular threat. So many invaluable sites and biodiversity sanctuaries face being wiped off the map just because we are unable to do anything about our voracious model of development. Several French transnational corporations are among those involved in projects that could herald the end of these exceptional sites. Some of the sites facing destruction include national parks in Africa, the Arctic islands, virgin forests in Asia, and the Amazon Basin.

Government scandal

France’s Blatant Disregard for the Health of its People – How the Government and Lobby Groups have been Pushing Diesel Cars

By Nolwenn Weiler

The large majority of France’s car fleet runs on diesel, despite its lamentable health effects and the enormous costs involved for society. But who is to blame? Since the eighties, political authorities, industrial figures and transport professionals have persistently backed the diesel engine even though its emissions have always been recognized as extremely harmful – and even carcinogenic. And the evidence continues to mount against it. But the French government recently announced an increase in the price of diesel. After thirty years going backwards, is there hope that things will finally change?

Social rights

With community input, health centers in France experiment with a holistic model

By Sarah Bosquet

Within the last few years, a little network of health centers unlike any other has been forged all through working-class neighborhoods in France. “Health Space,” “Health Square” and “Massilia Health System” are all projects conceived by social workers, doctors and residents who want to prove that it’s possible to provide health care in a different way, without endless prescriptions and assembly-line consultations. With a leitmotif: If health is determined by the social environment, then access to social rights and services is as important as health care. If it gets financing, this promising model could well have a significant impact.

Privatisation

When Prisons, Inmates and Detention Policies Become Investment Products

By Rachel Knaebel

More than a third of prisons in France are partly run by private companies. The trend towards privatising the prison system, which began three decades ago, is gaining in momentum. A handful of companies are capitalising on this very lucrative market, providing services that include catering, receiving visitors, building detention facilities and organising prison labour. The French state spends almost six billion euros a year on these services even though the benefits of private management are highly questionable. This rampant privatization trend raises another thorny question: do private companies not have an interest in keeping prisons full?

Housing

In France, a retirement co-op ensures seniors are not treated as commodities

By Sophie Chapelle

They didn’t want to end up in a traditional retirement home. They wanted to remain the actors in their own lives. Seven years after their first discussions about how to age well, a group of retired people is starting to build the first co-op for the aging. Non-speculation, democracy and environmental concern are the foundations of the “Chamarel-Les Barges” project, located in a neighborhood of Vaulx-en-Velin, east of Lyon, France. The project is so inspiring that the bank has even conferred a 50-year loan to the founders, who are in their 60s.

Personal data

What if Tomorrow Your Insurance Company Controlled Your Lifestyle?

By Morgane Remy

Our personal information is targeted not only by benevolent or malevolent espionage agencies. Insurance companies have launched a real race in attempting to collect as much information as possible about your lifestyle. Social networks, the “Internet of Things” [a proposed development of the internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data] and leisure applications on smartphones are sources of information about the state of your health and diet - and a gold mine for evaluating the risks insurance companies and cooperatives would run - as well as about the premium you should pay. In the future, will your insurer dictate the way you have to live in order for you to pay less?

Public health

In Europe, Are the Chemical Industry’s Interests Taking Precedence Over People’s Lives?

By Nolwenn Weiler

The European Union has still not regulated usage of endocrine disruptors, chemical substances with colossal health impacts utilized in many common consumer products. Yet endocrine disruptors are the source of many disorders: birth defects, cancers and obesity. This regulatory delay, which has just been condemned by the European justice system, owes nothing to accident. The chemical industries - manufacturers of pesticides and plastics - are lobbying intensively and hamper any serious regulatory advances. Journalist Stéphane Horel deciphers what is going on in her book, Poisoning, the Lobby and Its Objectives. We interview her below.