On 19 May 2019, 54.56% of the Basel electorate voted against the large marine aquarium planned by the Zoo Basel on the Heuwaage. This vote was based on sound judgement and moral progress. The people of Basel have delivered a strong message to the global community: “We must protect the oceans where they are.”
The aim of the project ZOOXXI is to bring zoos around the world in line with contemporary, ethical standards and to respond to the increasing threats to animal species worldwide. On 3 May 2019, the Barcelona City Council decided by a large majority (26 votes to 12) that the Barcelona Zoo would be the first zoo in the world to implement this model designed by Fondation Franz Weber.
Success of the Second Home Initiative and Handover to Vera Weber
In 2006, Franz Weber launched the federal popular initiative against the excessive construction of second homes, in order to force the communes by law to limit their second homes to 20 per cent of construction volume.
“God sleeps in stones, dreams in plants, awakes in animals, takes conscience in men”, is the beginning of the book “An Hour with Creation”, Franz Weber’s last publication (2009). With this Native-American quote, the author recalls not only Emmanuel Kant’s categorical imperative, which says every human should act only according to principles that he wishes to become a universal law.
FFW Gains Observer Status at the UN Convention CITES
Although CITES is not an ideal convention; it has established a control and licensing system that effectively regulates international trade in species of flora and fauna. For this reason, Fondation Franz Weber has been operating within this system as observer of the UN convention CITES since 1989.
1983-84 Franz Weber fought to save the alluvial forest from Danube to Hainburg, close to Vienna. The Austrian government wanted to destroy it to build a gigantic hydraulic station. Franz Weber alerts the international public. Konrad Lorenz, zoologist and specialist of animal behavior, supported him.
With an unprecedented fundraising campaign “Giessbach dem Schweizervolk” (Giessbach for the Swiss People) Franz Weber saved the historic Grandhotel Giessbach above Lake Brienz, which was to be demolished. He initiated a change in thinking about the preservation of historic hotels.
Winemakers of the Swiss canton Vaud call Franz Weber for help. A 270-metre-long row of 18-metre-high houses threatens to disfigure the town Aaron-Villette on Lake Geneva and to destroy prime vineyard land.
In 1976-77, Franz Weber mobilized the world media against the annual massacre of baby seals in the Canadian pack ice. He is supported by Brigitte Bardot, whom he knows very well from his years as a journalist in Paris.
Fight Against the Destruction of Landscapes by Highways
At the beginning of the 1970s, Franz Weber was called upon from all corners of Switzerland to save the landscape from destructive highway sections. He targeted planned Swiss highway routes or those already under construction.
Saving Surlej made Franz Weber an international celebrity. He was called upon to help from all corners of the world. This was also the case for the protection of the Baux-de-Provence in the south of France.
Franz Weber’s Awakening Experience and Hour of Destiny
On his way back from a trip to Italy, Franz Weber did a stopover in the Engadine and heard about the construction plans in Surlej near Silvaplana. The dreamy village with about 30 souls is to be transformed into a town with 25,000 inhabitants.
From 1949 Franz Weber lived in Paris as a poet and writer. He writes powerful poems and short stories, becomes co-founder and editor of the literary magazine “La voix des poètes” (“The voice of poets”) and writes remarkable interviews and portraits for German and Swiss magazines and newspapers.