There has been lots of chat recently about the air quality in Chamonix, our impact on the environment, global warming, the crazy weather in the US, when's it going to snow next?!... One person who takes sustainability seriously and cares about our impact on the environment, especially that in Chamonix, is Guillaume Pras.
By day you'll find him coiffing hair for clients in Le Salon, and at other times he's discussing sharing seeds, setting up communal gardens and how we could all benefit from being a bit more self-sufficient...
How long have you been living in Chamonix, and what do you do here?
I arrived in Chamonix in November 2004, so this is my 10th winter here and I am working as a hairdresser for Le Salon
What are the best things about your job?
Many things are the best in my job! Day-to-day contact with real people, learning to understand what people really care about, caring about our company's environmental impact, and being able to share information through discussion...
And the worst things?!
Trying to do all of the above economically!
As well as hairdressing, I understand you also have a passion for permaculture - where did that come from?
I discovered permaculture during the last trip I made in Asia, and I understood that projects pop up all over the place - healthy people need healthy food! What could be better than growing home-made, fresh, local, organic, seasonal veggies and fruits?!
And do you see potential for bringing permaculture to Chamonix?
Absolutely - so many people here are concerned about their health, they want to eat and breath safely. Permaculture could be a way to reduce transport costs of food and increase quality of life.
How have people reacted to your ideas for permaculture in Chamonix?
People like the idea, they just want to know how to act to be efficient. And they are nearly always surprised when I tell them that it's possible to grow vegetables all year in the valley!
What are you personal and professional goals for the future?
My goals are to help develop some communal gardens in Chamonix, providing food for people during the nice season and start doing experimentation to grow underground, during winter! I'd love to encourage a network of small, enthusiastic groups; the use of reproduced seeds to be self-sufficient, and exploring new technologies so that we can be less dependent on energy.
Your favourite place for lunch or dinner?
Where will we find the best coffee or hot chocolate?
For the best coffee, Extreme Café and the best green tea, Matcha
What has been your best ever day in Chamonix?
I spent my best day on l'Arrete des Cosmiques!
What's the best thing about Chamonix?
The best thing here is that you can switch from forest to city in a second and it's the same with people from Chamoniards to tourists :)
And the worst?!
The worst is to never have enough time to do everything!
Do you remember your first trip to Chamonix?
Sure, it was a rainy day in November but I met some very sunny people!
Favourite thing to do in resort when not skiing?
I love to hike and climb during summer, but after that, gardening ;)
Where are we most likely to find you for après-ski?!
You should try les après ski du Petit Salon, I will be there every Friday!
Thanks Guillaume, we're off to buy some seed trays :-)