Protecting the environment is ...

Protéger l'environnement est ...

a growing concern.

a sensible thing to start thinking about, not just something to do because it is fashionable.

a world focus now and should continue to be addressed.

about using only what is needed, not desired.

crucial is we want to l

everyones responsibility.

extremely important although I don't do as much as I could to protect it.


important because it determines the state of our health, facilities, and various other resources upon which we depend.

important but difficult.

important for reasons other than aesthetics and scientific curiosity.

important, but may be a little overblown currently, since given the way society and technology are evolving, it will be very difficult to seriously make any major steps toward improving the environment.

intuitively important. Don't leave something, i.e. the world, in a worse state than you find it.

making a conscious effort to minimize usage of resources. It also means to recycle when possible

necessary, a big issue, and something that most people ignore, not realizing that global warming is occurring now.


nice, but it is easier to destroy it.

of utmost importance for individual and social health.

one of the most significant challenges for the human race that must be addressed in the coming years.

recycling, printing less, proper waste depositing and using alternative means.

The job for our generation

very important.

very important. The world isn't ours to damage, and with any luck will be here long after humanity is gone.

worthwhile, a fad, green.

devenu une composante essentielle de notre mode de vie


important pour l'avenir, pour que nous puissions vivre dans de bonnes conditions dans plusieurs années, mais ne pas essayer d'en faire trop d'un coup.

important pour que les générations futures puissent avoir un avenir convenable.

important si l'on veut garantir une bonne planète pour les générations à suivre.

important, urgent

indispensable et nécessaire

indispensable pour le futur mais implique de changer des comportements.

indispensable pour nos enfants

indispensable pour notre planète, un problème d'actualité, difficile à faire de nos jours

indispensable, essentiel

la principale chose sur laquelle le monde doit se concentrer, sans jamais faiblir

le respecter et le préserver au mieux, afin que les générations futures puissent profiter d'un environnement sain et non pollué. Protéger l'environnement c'est protéger notre terre, notre vie, et celle des générations futures.

nécéssaire, surtout aujourd'hui

nécessaire et urgent.

nécessaire, facile, prendre le vélo

primordial pour nos générations futures, car sans lui plus rien n'existe.

primordial pour pouvoir se projeter dans la vie future.

une nécessité
un petit effort quotidien
secondaire pour certains

une priorité tout en conservant une agriculture compétitive.


Since environmental awareness and preservation is such a prevelant global issue right now, I thought it would be interesting to examine the answers to this sentence completion.  Both sets of students seem to agree that protecting the environment is very important - the French students mention this idea 17 times, while the American students mention it 12 times.  However, there were some differences in reasoning between the two groups.  The French students put a very strong emphasis on preserving our planet for future generations.  As one student eloquently put it:  "Proteger l'environement est proteger notre terre, notre vie, et celle des generations futures."  While I think all of us would be in agreement with that statement, none of the American students mentioned future generations in their responses.  Instead, the responses focused on the idea that protecting the environment is a problem that needs to be addressed.  One student even went so far as to say that protecting the environment is "the job for our generation."  It seems to me that while all the students consider environmental protection to be an important issue, the Americans tend to approach it more as a problem to be solved.  However I'm sure all the French students will agree - it's simply a difference of statements that I'm pointing out.


Finally, it was interesting to me that the Americans hinted that protecting the environment was trendy.  Generally I would agree - environmental conservation and global warming are hot button issues in the US right now.  But I was wondering - is "being green" considered a trend in France?


One of the French students used the phrase "mode de vie" in their response.  It is my hope that something that is currently an American trend will eventually become a global way of life.

I had the exact same reaction to the responses as Diana had.  The French students speak heavily about the future, while the Americans speak about the present.  One way to look at it is to say that Americans approach it as a current problem and actively seek solutions--Americans are more "proactive".  But from the flip side, does this show that Americans tend to care more about the present and place less emphasis on the future (while the first reaction of the French is to consider future consequences)?  (this could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the situation)

Going further, do we see protecting the environment as such a big issue because it is trendy in America?   I'm also curious, to people outside of America, does it seem like America is at the forefront of protecting the environment?  Or does it seem overblown sometimes?  The "green" movement is certainly expanding, and having grown up in California, it's was everywhere all through high school--you couldn't escape being green if you wanted to.

I think there are cultural reasons behind the differences in response between Americans and French.  French culture appears to be more reverant toward authority and stability (although this is debatable with the protest culture that France has) leading to longevity, whereas America is still nascent and a nation constantly in flux.  Our history is filled with problems and innovative solutions, and thus our mindset is viewing environmental preservation as not something continuous, but a singular problem to solve. 

Je pense qu'il faut réfléchir à l'utilité de penser à l'environnement. Si l'on souhaite préserver la terre, c'est bien pour qu'elle puisse vivre plus longtemps, non? Je ne comprends donc pas bien le point de vue des américains. Pourquoi se préoccuper des problèmes environnementaux en pensant seulement au présent? Quelle utilité? Etes-vous en général plutôt d'accord ou pas sur le fait que l'environnement est le "job for our generation"?



Juste pour répondre à ta question, oui, c'est très à la mode "d'être vert". En France, on utilise plus le terme d'écologiste.

Je suis surpris de voir qu'aucun d'entre vous n'a mentionné le film d'Al Gore, on en a bcp parler ici, et je voudrais savoir s'il a eu le même impact chez  vous?



ne prends pas cela mal, mais tu sembles avoir une vision assez négative de la France (although this is debatable with the protest culture that France has),(Our history is filled with problems and innovative solutions): penses-tu que la France est en retard concernant l'écologie et que vous allez trouver des solutions à ce problème du réchaffement climatique? Il me semble que les US ont longtemps refusé de signer le protocole de Kyoto et d'autres accords du même genre...J'espère que je ne te vexe pas en diasnt cela, ce n'est pas le but, je veux seulement avoir ta réaction...

Following on from Yoan's comments, I think the general European opinion, irrespective of whether it's right or wrong, is that rather than being at the forefront of protecting the environment, America, in general, is one of the targets of blame for environmental problems. Is this something Americans are particularly aware of?

In terms of the responses, I found it quite interesting that some Americans highlighted the difficulty of protecting the environment. Although a couple of the French responses also mentioned this, there were a couple of responses in stark contrast: one response reads 'facile', while another is 'un petit effort quotidien'. I guess this reflects some of the previous comments. Americans appear to view protecting the environment to be a grand challenge to be solved by scientists and engineers, whereas the French perhaps treat it as a potential way of life for everyone. I like the contrast here because both approaches probably have their part to play.

On the subject of An Inconvenient Truth, I was recommended the following French film as an alternative:

I actually remember it put me to sleep (I blame the music) and I found it a little patronising, but at least it's good listening practice for us French learners and the aerial photography is nice to look at!

Yoan -


I did not mean to imply that France lacked a history of successful problem-solving!  I'm sure that that's not the case.  My opinions are based solely in the responses on the forum.  No, I do not think France is behind in the effort to preserve the environment.  As you point out, it is the United States who has been difficult, especially with respect to Kyoto.  But I think, if you speak to people of our generation, you will find that most of us feel that the US needs to make huge strides in improving our carbon emissions (among many other things).  We feel that this is the problem of our generation - one we hope to solve in the near future.  Indeed, as so many French students point out, if we succeed the world will be better preserved for ourselves and future generations.

Je me trompe peut-être mais je pense qu'en Europe, et particulièrement dans les pays nordiques (comme la Finlande) la protection de l'environnement est déjà quelque chose de bien avancé, elle est ancrée dans les esprits et dans les comportements... Votre pays semble avoir de bonnes ambitions dans la matière depuis quelques temps, et le président l'a prouvé lors de la catastrophe de la station de pétrole BP en condamnant sévèrement l'entreprise.


Le Mondial de l'Automobile a lieu à Paris cette semaine. Vous-êtes vous renseignés sur les nouvelles voitures électriques ou à faible émission de CO2 qui ont été exposées?

My take on the question of thinking ahead vs. in the present is that maybe the reason the American and French responses differ isn't a difference in problem solving ability or tendencies, but rather a difference in understanding of the nature of the problem.  As seen in the French responses, it's mentioned "un petit effort quotidien".  In America, there is definitely this feeling--we have recycling and composting, and we try to carpool whenever possible (in San Francisco, there is a big carpool system for crossing the bridges, where you can go to pick up random people every morning, and then be allowed in the carpool lane to avoid traffic).  I think maybe the French and the Americans place emphasis on different aspects of the environment.

I'm curious as to what types of things are being done in France (besides the showing of the new electric cars) to enhance environmental awareness and activism.



tu as remarqué avec justesse que les français pensent plus à de petites choses pour l'environnement (peut-être notre vieille idée que vous appelleriez "socialiste" que si nous nous donnons tous la main pour faire bouger les choses, nous y arriverons tous ensemble, et pas en ayant des comportements individualistes ou opportunistes); nous avons ce que nous appelons le tri sélectif, des eco emballages, des recharges pour certains produits, etc... Avez-vous la même chose? Nous construisons des maisons basse consommation, nous utilisons des isolants naturels au lieu d'utiliser des isolants à base de laine de verre, qui ont des solvants chimiques, au dernier salon de l'auto, à Paris, la semaine dernière, tpoutes les marques françaises ont présenté des voitures électriques, qui ne polluent pas. Où en êtes-vous de tout cela?


C'est vrai que le film Home est très ennuyeux, moi aussi j'ai failli m'endormir, celui de Al Gore était plus dans l'action et moins dans la leçon de morale...


merci pour ta réponse, c'est vrai que ton pays est souvent considéré par les européens comme ne faisant pas assez d'efforts sur le plan de l'environnement, mais nous nous trompons peut-être.


Pour le film HOME, je suis d'accord avec toi et avec Martine, il est soporifique!

Diana, je suis ravi de voir que les jeunes américians pensent différemment et que la vision que nous avons est sans doute celle des plus anciens, ceux de la génération Bush!

D'ailleurs, comme le dit Elodie, votre président a eu le c ourage de tenir tête à BP!

Kenneth - I had no idea they did that in SF!  I rarely drive to the city, but what an interesting idea.


There are certainly many things that we can do on a daily basis to protect the environment.  Recycling, composting, driving less and biking more, driving more fuel-efficient cars, buying organic produce and eliminating the use of styrofoam are just some of the steps one can take.  However, there certainly are bigger aspects of environmental change that need to be considered and handled.  What will be the eventual effects on our planet if we continue along this path?  What are the worst of these?  How can it be prevented most effectively?  There is, in fact, a whole budding field of environmental engineering which considers large-scale methods of eliminating the atmospheric rise in carbon levels.  I personally am very uncomfortable with most of the proposals made by this group of researchers - I feel that we don't understand our environment well enough to tamper with it on a large scale; we already did this by accident and it's working out badly - but they do exist.  (There are positive examples as well, I just think this one is interesting).


One more note of interest:  I read a recent National Geographic article about the effects of global warming in Greenland.  While the rest of the world is concerned about the melting ice caps and warming temperatures, Greenland, due to global change, is suddenly being able to grow it's own crops for the first time in history.  The natives are hopeful that one day they'll be able to grow enough to sustain their own, independent economy.  But for now, they're greatest hope lies in oil deposits that are opening up off-shore.  I felt absolutely torn about this - how ironic that at the very heart of climate change, the locals would find hope in oil!



Diana vas-tu utiliser le "carpool" dont Kenneth a parlé maintenant que tu c'est que ça existe?!

Diana, je suis d'accord avec toi, je trouve aussi que se réjouir de la possibilité de trouver du pétrole facilement n'est pas très écologique!!!

Concernant le climat, avez-vous remarqué des changements dans votre région?