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Should the Eiffel Tower become the largest "tree" in the world?

By — One of many Green blogs on

Ahh, Paris. The city of love, the city of light - and the city of couture. In keeping with the high fashions of the runway, the Eiffel Tower is in talks to get a brand new, $97 million coat.

A coat made of 600,000 plants.

This proposal, from French engineering firm Ginger, would mean  that the "Iron Lady" would be covered in 48 varieties of seedlings irrigated by rubber tubing. Once the plants matured, they would be removed two years later - meaning that the tower would be back to normal by 2016. (However, it is worth noting that the tower itself was supposed to be a temporary installation when it was built back in the 1800's.)

The result of this fashion statement?  87.8 tons of carbon dioxide would be removed from the Paris skies.

Here's what the tower would look like as the 600,000 plants take root.

But the effects reach beyond even the practical. The Eiffel Tower is one of the most - if not the very most - recognizable landmarks in the whole world. To cover her in greenery would be a strong statement to the rest of the world - a statement of Parisians' commitment to the environment. And when Paris sets a trend, the rest of the world takes notice.

 "This (proposal) is our call for action," said CEO Jean-Luc Schonebelen.  "We need to think about how we're going to start bringing nature back into the city landscape."

But Schonebelen hasn't yet presented his proposal to the Paris City Council, and he expects to meet with some resistance. After all, it's a risky venture to change such a visible landmark - even if only temporarily.

For my part, I think this is a fantastic idea. I don't think a coating of plants would diminish the stately beauty of La dame de fer; on the contrary, I think it would only add to her appeal. What could be more perfect for the city of love than a draping of greenery that echoes the romance of ivy-covered buildings?

This has the potential to pave the way for other methods of "green" architecture, the effects of which could be felt worldwide. If it catches on, we could see a wave of locales taking proactive steps to counter global warming and beautify their cities at the same time - making it a little easier to breathe, no less.

So in case you couldn't tell, I'd be delighted if the City of Love became the world's leading Green City. But what do you think? Is this practical? Ugly? Would it diminish Paris's appeal, or increase it? Let me know in the comments!


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