Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Election Time Again

It's election time again in Reunion and once again Aurelie is running for the Green Party (Europe Ecology - The Greens).

This time its the departmental elections, one of the many levels of government that France has.  There are municipal/local elections, departmental elections, regional elections, national elections and European elections. To add to the confusion while most regions include a number of departments Reunion is both a department AND a region so needs elected bodies for both!    

The campaign won't be as intense as the municipal/local elections as there is less at stake.  Each level of government has different areas of responsibility.  As far as I understand (and my understanding of this is shaky at best!)  the department is responsible for: departmental roads (not national roads or streets), collages (school between the ages of about 11 to 15, why just these and not for older and younger ages I've no idea), waste management (at the departmental level), solidarity payments (for example supplementary payments for care in old folks homes, payments for care of kids 0-6, etc.). There are probably more areas of responsibility but the more I enquire the more puzzled I get trying to sort out the different areas of responsibility between the differing governing bodies, still Aurelie seems to know what is going on!

Still its another election and another chance to raise the Green profile locally.

Below are a couple of articles from Reunionese newspapers.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Latest eruption

Our local volcano, Piton de la Fournaise may not be one of the worlds most famous volcanoes but is one of the most active having erupted more that 150 times since the 17th century, most recently it started erupting again a couple of days ago!  

Although it is exciting to think of an eruption close by it's generally nothing to be concerned about as the volcano is typical basaltic shield volcano with effusive eruptions (lava flows) rather than explosive ones and the active areas are all national park and uninhabited.  I've already been through this conversation with the kids, explaining that while the volcano is erupting its not something we have to worry about, I'm not sure they took 100% of the explanation concerning magma composition, hot spots and continental drift but they seemed reassured nonetheless!'s coverage of the eruption

Reporting by Clicanoo's French language website

NPR's Emma Jacobs report on the eruption

As an aside I have always wanted to see an active volcano especially since back in 1997 I was supposed to go to study Mt Etna in Sicily for my MSc. thesis, however the university's health and safety people intervened and the trip was cancelled and I instead ended up studying historic earthquakes in Scotland  (a bit of a difference!).  That being the case I had planned to get Aurelie and the kids up early one morning and go to take a look (generally visibility is best early in the mornings before the clouds close in) but it appears that this eruption is already coming to an end - next time though!

NPR - On the Road in Reunion

A NPR reporter, Emma Jacobs, arrived on Reunion last week.  She will be here for a couple of months reporting from the island on NPR's On the Road Tumblr so it will be interesting to see her take on Island life!