In recent months, small protests have sprouted across Paris, with residents and activists rallying around trees condemned by urban development projects that have at times turned the capital into a giant construction site.

In April, they filmed the felling of 76 plane trees, most of them decades old, at the Porte de Montreuil on Paris northern outskirts. City Hall wants to turn the site into a huge square, part of a project by the mayor, Anne Hidalgo, to create ''a green belt'' around the capital.

LONG a favorite spot for picnics and sunbathing, the lawns surrounding the Eiffel Tower have recently become the scene of furious protests.

First came a social media campaign. Then a rally by dozens of local residents. Before long, a protester had hunkered down in a nearby plane tree for a hunger strike.

The source of their anger? A plan to cut down more than 20 trees, some over 100 years old, around the tower as part of an effort to build a huge garden and ease tourist congestion.

The controversy is the latest in a series that has engulfed Paris City Hall as it tries to turn the city greener as scorching temperatures bear down on the French capital and the rest of Europe.

The local authorities are redesigning Paris's urban landscape to make it more climate friendly, but a growing number of residents say the widespread cutting of trees around the capital is paradoxically undermining the city's environmental ambitions.

Trees are thought to provide excellent defense against the heat waves that are on the rise because of global warming. They provide needed coolness in dense cities like Paris, where. temperatures have been in the high 90s Fahrenheit [ upper 30s Celsius ] last week.

''Without the trees, the city is an unbearable furnace,'' said Tangui Le Dantec, an urban planner and co-founder of Aux Arbres Citoyens, a group protesting the felling of trees in Paris.

 ''Ms. Hidalgo please stop the massacre,'' said Thomas Brail, the founder of the National Group for the Surveillance of Trees, as machines chopped up trees behind him, in a video he shot in April.

Mr. Brail later staged an 11-day hunger strike in a tree near the Eiffel Tower.

Yves Contassot, a former deputy mayor of Paris in charge of the environment and a member of the Green Party, said cutting down trees had become ''a very sensitive question that causes a bit of scandal at a time when we talk about fighting global warming in big cities.''

At first, the plans to redevelop the congested area around the Eiffel Tower seemed environmentally sound to Parisians. Most vehicles would be banned, and a network of pedestrian paths, cycle lanes and parks would be created.

But residents discovered in May that the plan also meant cutting down 22 well-established trees and threatening the root systems of several others, including a 200-year-old plane tree planted long before the Eiffel Tower was built in the late 1880s.

''The poor tree was planted in 1814, and one morning some guys want to make room for luggage storage and it gets swept away,'' said Mr. Brail, the protester who held a hunger strike in the tree.

Fight global warming, Parisians say. But don't cut the trees.

The Publishing of the essay continues. The World Students Society thanks author Constant Meheut.


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