Eco + Veg | Strasbourg: Green roofs and eating all the potatoes and cheese
While in Strasbourg, I was able to see green roofs and tons of bike lanes, and I got to try out some veggie alsacien food that kept me going through all the exploring.
France just passed a law that buildings constructed in commercial zones must have at least some solar panels or plants on top. However, while in Strasbourg, there were already some green roofs (roofs with plants growing on top) on residential buildings near where we were staying.
Along with looking pretty and removing carbon dioxide from the air, green roofs can also keep houses cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
When there are heavy storms, green roofs can purify and help slow the amount of water entering wastewater treatment systems, which can get overwhelmed if they need to process too much water at once.
If there are enough roofs in a single area, they might even be able to help lower the local temperature (roofs without plants tend to be hotter because they absorb heat during the day and release it back out at night).
Some of the drawbacks? They’re more expensive than conventional roofs, but should save money in the long run with energy savings. Their effectiveness may vary depending on the types of plants used as well.
Transport: The city seemed to be hard core into its bikes, and there was an extensive tram service as well with some futuristic music and different announcers at each stop. It was also quite pleasant to walk around.
Other things Strasbourg’s upto: I kept walking across a sign saying that Strasbourg had won an award for biodiversity and was curious about that. Apparently there weren’t a whole lot of entrants for that competition, but it seems that they installed beehives, planted natives, and banned pesticides to improve biodiversity. They’ve been using different techniques as an alternative to pesticides, but my personal favorite is that “plants previously considered as weeds were encouraged to grow.”
Veggie verdict: It seems as though anytime I’ve had the vegetarian version of something “traditional,” it’s been something involving potatoes and cheese, which I’m always happy to eat. I had one dish (whose name I forget) that consisted of a huge bowl of fromage blanc alsacien; another side plate of cheese, walnuts, and salad; and another bowl of some fantastic potatoes surrounding a plate of seasonings I’m not really supposed to eat (garlic, etc.). Apparently I ate it all wrong (you’re supposed to mix the seasonings in with the fromage blanc) but it was delicious nonetheless. I also had something called a “mendiant” which means “beggar” but is in fact a delicious cake. It was a little weird to order.
I had some flammekueche the next day, which is like a very thin-crusted pizza (please don’t hate me…) with cheese and other toppings. I had an overdose of goat cheese and I think I went a little wild and got some onions too. It was delicious and very filling and a great vegetarian option.