Waste production

In France, the easiest way to demonstrate that you are environmentally friendly is to recycle. Most of people do it, but not everybody. However, French people used to produce 360 kg (793.66 lb pounds) waste per capita in 2006. All in all (per capita and industry) 445,8 millions tones of waste were produced that same year. France represents one of the largest waste producers in the world and the waste produced increases each year since 1900’s. This country is 10-20 years behind when compared to Germany or northern countries.

Typical scene which led to a tax of 90 cents (71p) per kilogram being placed on plastic and paper throwaway cups in France 2009

Public transportation

The public transportation system is well-developed in big cities like Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, and so on. Using public transportation is cheaper than driving and less damaging to the environment. Buses are the exception although there are now electric ones. There are an increasing number of metro and tramway lines. Metros and trams do not pollute.

A photography of an electric bus in Lyon, called 'Cristalis' 

The system in Lyon however uses a combination of metro lines, tramlines and bus routes which stop at more than 2000 places. Over half the trips need only one change or none in order to get from point A to point B.

An other way to travel in Lyon without polluting, the tramway

There are advantages to public transportation for example like avoiding hold-ups but it has also drawbacks: Public transportation is not always comfortable and practical. Actually, you may have to take three different sets of transportation, and spend one hour to go somewhere that can be reach by driving a car for only 10 min

French train station in the countryside where one may wait 4 or five hours before getting a train.

There are often a lot of people using public transportation and we can not always have a seat. This is a disadvantage especially for pregnant women, elderly persons or even if you are an adult with young children.

In the country-side public transportation is not really developed as it is in the towns. However, there are some towns where the local transportation network allows you to do the shopping, go to school, and access different convenience stores without having a car. 

Peak-time chaos on the metro

In most French towns, there is no public transportation during the evening, roughly between 7p.m and 6a.m. That’s why you need a car as transportation.

Alternatives to public transportation

There is an alternative to having cars which add to pollution. There is the electric car. On one hand it uses less carbon dioxide (CO2 ) than a usual car (20 g per 0,64 ounce as against 160 g per 5,14 ounce). On the other hand, its manufacture is a bigger source of pollution than the ordinary fuel powered cars. Moreover, at its end of life, there is also an ecological impact. There are two systems to recycle: the accumulator and fuel cells. Fuel cells have to be changed every 5 years. This wastes energy. In addition the material used to produce the cell (lead, nickel and chemical products among others) have to be recycled because of their environmental toxicity.

There are also the hybrid vehicle which have two different motors: an electric one and a thermic one. Unfortunately, many of these car are not bought. For example, in France, only 0,4% hybrids were sold for a total of 2 million vehicles, in 2007. We should focus on finding ways of making common activities less damaging to the environment than they now are.

A photography of the Toyota Prius, an hybrid vehicle

Organic food

More and more we also have large supermarkets with little departments specializing in organic food. Products are mostly free from chemical products and mostly come from fair trade.

French's logo of organic food

Using products grown without the use of fertilizer is better for the environment, small producers and also for our own health. However, it is really expensive so that everybody can not afford it. For example, it is impossible for student to buy such organic products.

A department specialized in organic food

There are many ways in which we can be environmentally responsible but It is difficult to do so. It is really expensive to be ecologically responsible. Such behaviour is still at the margins of society. People should be more aware of the effect of their actions on the environment so that they can change it, if necessary in order to become environmentally responsible and to have a responsible and developed society.

France is really slow to change and become green like Germany, Sweden, Norway… There is however an environmental Party which is represented at every election. They only receive a few votes but those votes show that some people do care. Their logo is seen below.


Even if there are more and more ecological behaviours from governments, supermarkets, and also individuals, it’s hard to imagine that it would be enough because of the consequences that we can already notice.

When we talk about ‘environment’ we firstly mean nature, but it also concern human health. Actually, science brought us so many advantages when we compare the industrialized countries to the other ones. Life expectancy has incredibly increase these previous centuries. However we can observate new diseases of the century because of our way of living. It deals with our alimentation, pollution and so on. It is really important, even for us, and not only for the earth, being conscious of what it is going on.

For example, because of the distater that happened a month ago in Japan, there will be probably a huge impact on nature, animals, but also on human’s health. It was what happened after Chernobyl disaster. Japan politicians and scientitists wants to be reassuring but we have to face the truth and do something about it. We have already cross the line. Now we should revolt against nuclear and focus on alternatives. However, there are too many economical stakes. For this reason, it’s hard to expect something from politicians. On my mind, if we don’t act as we can, by ourselves, things would not change as fast as they need to.

It is hard to be enthusiastic about this current topic. However it concerns each one of us so that we all must to act in order to ameliorate our way of living and to put right what we have already done against our planet.