A tribute to Edouard Kressmann, Founder of Ecoropa, who died 22nd August 1985.
Published in The Ecologist Vol. 15 No. 5–6, September 1985.
Edouard Kressmann died of a heart attack on 22 August at the age of 78. He was not only well known in European ecological circles but also in Bordeaux where he lived and where, until the day of his death, he could often be seen bicycling furiously to meetings where he would systematically oppose any local development project which he regarded as destructive, dangerous or wasteful.
His career was in the wine business. He was not only chairman and managing director of Kressmann & Col., a prestigious firm of wine merchants set up in Bordeaux more than a century ago, but he was also President of the Wine Growers of the Bordeaux area. Indeed, he was generally considered to be one of France’s foremost authorities on Bordeaux wines.
He retired at the age of 65 and it was then that he first considered Barry Commoner’s famous question: “What sort of world are we going to leave to our children?” From that moment onwards, he devoted all his time and his extraordinary energy and talents to the ecological cause.
Among his achievements was the creation, with Armand Petitjean and Denis de Rougemont, of Ecoropa (Ecological Action for Europe). Today, Ecoropa is an association, perhaps more realistically a club, with active members in the UK, the Netherlands, West Germany, France, Spain, Norway and other European countries.
More recently Edouard Kressmann founded a second association closely related to the first, which runs a centre (Centre La Cure) situated in a large and magnificent 17th century rectory at St. Hippolyte du Fort in the Cevennes. Here the director, Janine Delaunay, organises courses on environmental issues for schools, associations of various sorts and for groups of executives of business enterprises in the area.
In addition to these activities, Edouard Kressmann wrote regularly on environmental issues in La Reforme – the main French Protestant newspaper of which he was one of the founders – La Croix and Sud-Ouest. Indeed, during the last 12 years, Edouard Kressmann has worked indefatigably and has inspired many others to do likewise so as to assure that there is still something left of our world to leave to our children. He will be very difficult to replace.
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