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ENVIRONMENT

IN PICTURES: Tens of thousands march for the climate in France

Tens of thousands of people protested across France Saturday to call for more attention to the climate crisis in the run-up to presidential polls next month.

People take part in a climate protest march in Toulouse
People take part in a "Look up" march, to call on the presidential candidates to take into account the climate emergency, which protesters say is largely absent from the election campaign in Toulouse on March 12th 2022.  (Photo by FRED SCHEIBER / AFP)

“Look up,” read one message in giant orange letters demonstrators held up in Paris, urging politicians to make protecting the planet a priority.

Protesters hold placards during a “Look up” march in Paris on March 12th, 2022. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)

The sign was a nod to Netflix hit “Don’t Look Up”, in which astronomers who discover a comet will wipe out the earth try in vain to get politicians to take the threat seriously.

“When are we going to talk about it?” read another sign.

“When are we going to talk about it?” (On en parle quand?) read several of the placards at the Paris “Look Up” protest on March 12th, 2022. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)
 
 
The climate crisis took up only 1.5 percent of talking points in media coverage of the election campaign from February 28th to March 6th, a recent survey by climate justice NGOs has found.

Protests took place around the country, with some 32,000 people taking part in Paris, where this photo was taken. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)

Organisers said 80,000 protesters took part across the country, including 32,000 people in Paris. The interior ministry however said just around 40,000 demonstrated, of whom 11,000 in the capital.

People turned out in force for a “Look up” march in Toulouse on March 12th, 2022. (Photo by FRED SCHEIBER / AFP)

In the northern city of Lille, Lydie Lampin Bernand described the climate crisis as “worse than critical.

“I’m only 34 years old, and even I’ve seen the planet slapped in the face with a shovel,” she said.

“We have to protect the land we’ll leave to our children,” she added, but politicians had not so far shown they were up to tackling the challenge.

READ ALSO: FACT CHECK: How committed is France to tackling environmental issues?

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ENVIRONMENT

VIDEO: ‘Lost’ Orca whale heading up France’s Seine river

A young Orca whale that is apparently lost has been spotted heading up the Seine in northern France.

VIDEO: 'Lost' Orca whale heading up France's Seine river

The young whale was first spotted about a week ago near the port of Le Havre, around the Pont de Normandie, while the most recent sighting was further inland – about 20km from Rouen, in the Eure region.

France’s BFMTV managed to catch a video of the whale:

Experts think that the young male was separated from his group, and might be on the search for another. This typically happens when a matriarch in the pod dies.

“They are very social animals, so it is not easy for them to be alone,” explained Delphine Eloi of the GECC regional, cetacean protection group to RTL. Eloi went on to explain that the orca is likely in poor health, as its dorsal fin appears to be completely round. 

Killer whales, which despite their name belong to the dolphin family, are occasionally spotted in the English Channel but such sightings are considered rare, let alone in a river.

“Its life is in danger. We are really very, very worried. Its state of health is very poor,” said Gerard Mauger, vice president of the GECC regional, cetacean protection group. 

“The more it stays in fresh water, the more this will accelerate the degradation of its state of health,” he told AFP.

“It is far from the sea. It is really complicated to find solutions to encourage it to head to salt water.”

He said the animal is “very thin” but likely weighs over a tonne.

Experts have reminded the public that the whale is likely not dangerous to people – there has never been a reported Orca attack on a human in the wild – though it is still advisable to keep a safe distance from it.

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