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The environmental “spidermen” who turn off the shop windows of Paris

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When night falls, Kevin Ha and his friends jump, climb and swing through the facades of the most central stores in Paris not just for fun. The main goal of these “parkour” practitioners is to turn off the lights in the shop windows to avoid wasting energy.

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As a kind of “spidermans”, agile, flexible and determined, Kevin and his group belong to the “Lights off” collective, an environmental movement with a large presence in France that mixes the extreme sport of “parkour” with actions to fight against change climate.

“I am from a generation in which we are used to seeing the lights always on, but I think it is an aberration,” the 30-year-old told EFE, accompanied by four other friends, all in their twenties.

The members of the collective have summoned a handful of journalists after midnight in front of the local Lego games located in the Les Halles shopping center, a few meters from the Parisian City Hall.

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They introduce themselves and quickly get down to business. A first store of a famous shoe brand is your goal. Impossible. The switch attached to the facade (a mandatory device in all establishments in case of fire) is not connected to the shop window lights. An infraction.

“As is leaving the lights on past midnight,” continues Kevin. His group has been approached on several occasions by the police, who are alarmed to see some kids climbing the facades. “When we explain to them that the only thing we do is lower the switch so that the law is complied with, they leave us alone,” he says.

In fact, the French government has just announced a plan to strengthen the fight against energy waste in a context of price tension due to the war in Ukraine.

The Executive has requested an effort both from the private sector -which will be fined for leaving the lights on in the middle of the night or for wasting air conditioning-, as well as from households.

“The people who see us in the videos or who find us praise us because they tell us that if it weren’t for us, there would be no one to do it,” he presumes.

Video game inspiration

Umud Christophe Tekinalp, 20, has just climbed – without the help of equipment as “parkour” dictates – a facade of the central avenue of Réaumur-Sébastopol to turn off, touching the switch with his left foot, the lights of the shop window of a Supermarket. “He has climbed about four meters”, congratulates the rest of the group.

Where does that amazing agility come from? “When I was younger, a teenager, I played a lot of video games, and over time, I realized that everything I saw in them, climbing without equipment, was possible in reality.”

Skateboard in hand, cap backwards, Christophe maintains an enviable physical shape, like the rest of his colleagues. “We do at least an hour of physical work a day (sit-ups, push-ups) and we are careful about what we eat, opting for protein and fiber products.”

The young Parisian, who is also a professional “parkour” instructor, is very clear about why during the last year he has been visiting energy-wasting Parisian stores at night. “Because, in quotes, I hate people who do not respect ecology.”

Source: Gestion

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