ENVIRONNEMENTS EN MUTATION: de la protection de la nature à la transition écologique

ENVIRONNEMENTS EN MUTATION: de la protection de la nature à la transition écologique

Water: vocabulary list

Video: Millions of Hindus cleanse sins in river Ganges

Main information

A huge Hindu religious festival, the Kumbh Mela is expected to be attended by 100 million people (the biggest gathering on earth); it celebrates the creation of the world and appears in its full form every twelve years (small versions happen every 3 years). The pilgrims are very happy and feel like the saints descended from heaven to gather with them for the ritual. Tiredness and problems have gone away. The authorities have properly organized / « arranged » the festival which lasts 55 days in Allahabad, the holiest location at the junction of 3 rivers.

The 6 bathing days are the most important moments : the ritual consists in entering silently the river Ganges in respect for their god Narayana to ward off (= chasser/ conjurer) evil.

Sahdus, holymen, who live in seclusion use the festival to meet especially on that year (2013) which is the peak of a cycle which comes around only once every 144 years.

Texts: Ganga: pure water?

Text A: The Ganges is too toxic to be holy anymore.
As paradoxical as it may seem, the Ganges, which is supposed to purify people’s souls and bodies, is also one of the most polluted rivers in the word. This river is in imminent danger and it has a deep impact on many people’s lives since one-tenth of the world’s population relies on it.

The source of pollution : rThe main sources of pollution quoted in the article are “the dead bodies”, “the ashes of burnt bodies”, “untreated urban sewage”, “industrial effluents”.

Text B: Industrial waste blamed for colourful canines in Mumbai. Some dogs became blue after swimming in the Ganges. Its waters are full of industrial chemicals.

The source of pollution : the dyes dumped into the river by different industries.

Text C: India Kumbh Mela dip ‘raised Ganges river pollution’. During the Kumbh Mela festival, pilgrims shouldn’t drink or bathe in the Ganges because its waters are highly polluted. A recent study has revealed that the level of pollution was terrifying and dangerous for people’s health.

The source of pollution :“pollutants” in general. The content of this extract is more implicit because it is not clearly explained where this pollution comes from. However, as we know “Kumbh Mela” is a religious festival during which pilgrims bathe in the river, we can infer that their offerings to the Goddess may also be a source of pollution.

A poem: Ganga: a cry

The poem read by its author, Aabha Vatsa Midha https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xsNdWvAiUU

In a two-column chart, classify the words related to the Ganges and “the man”.

The Ganges

The man”

a mighty river
revered / praised / worshipped aquatic life
cure for disease
provide succor
a most polluted river
sacred / life giving river
a cauldron of pollution and death carcinogenic
former glory

selfish wants meaningless selfish
greed / greedy selfishness mindless
brutish move maniacal pollution

The Ganges is personified in this poem. It expresses its feelings about human behaviour. The river is blaming men for polluting it.
The use of negative and pejorative nouns puts the emphasis on the fact that men are held responsible for the destruction of the river.

The contradictions between people’s beliefs about the Ganges and their actions.

On the one hand, Hindu pilgrims come to the banks of the river seeking spiritual purification as it is highlighted in the poem: “revered”, “worshipped”, “cure for disease”, “salvation”. But on the other hand, these same people are held responsible for its pollution since they throw pollutants into it. We may infer that nouns such as “greed”, “selfishness” refer to consumerism which can also be a major threat for the Ganges.

So the poem depicts the spiritual essence of the river Ganga and how it has deteriorated over the centuries in the hands of humans.

Video : Cleaning up India's holy river - BBC News

Cleaning up the Ganges is such a monumental task that in 2015, Indian Prime Minister Modi committed USD 3 billion for a five-year project to clean the Ganges by 2020.

Yet, it hasn’t been successful since a 2018 draft report by India’s Central Pollution Control Board suggests that only 4 out of 41 locations tested on the river are clean or almost clean. So, the project seems to have fallen short on its promise to clean up the Ganges.

Germany is helping finance treatment facilities on the Ganges and one of the diplomats compared the Rhine to the Ganges because a similar rescue operation had occurred. It took municipalities 30 years and around €45 billion to clean up the Rhine but the Ganges is twice as long as the Rhine.

Food: Changing the food production process

Food: vocabulary list

Who is in control?

The site :The purpose of this American site is to guide students to the appropriate college or university to ensure successful and satisfying employment in healthcare management. It gives fact-based information to help prepare students for graduate studies and the workplace.

The poster was designed to denounce Monsanto’s worldwide dominination regarding food supply.

– It defines what it does : « a self-proclaimed leader in genetic engineering of food crops »

– It defines their goal : controlling farmers

– It mentions why we should be suspicious about GMOS ; they are connected to allergies and antibiotic resistance. They can be highly toxic and genetically modified food has a lower nutritional value.

– It traces back the history of the company which started in 1901 with $16 bn revenue in 2016 (middle column)

– It shows the impact of the company on American agriculture and worldwide; farmers use their seeds and herbicides and 40 % of American crops are produced with Monsanto products. It devotes millions of dollars to increase their sales through lobbying. They sit in expert groups, advise the government, finance reports in favour of their products, organize greenwash activities, attack whistleblowers…..

Cf: https://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/attachments/monsanto_v09_web.pdf

The Roundup case

Video n°1: California man who blames terminal cancer on Roundup testifies at trial

Main information : plaintiff : Johnson / Defendant : Monsanto

Lee Johnson is in San Francisco Superior Court to testify that Monsanto product Roundup caused his terminal cancer.

His lawyer says it is frustrating for him to spend his last moments with his wife in court before passing away (= to die)

For 4 years, he worked for a school as a ground keeper and used 150 gallons of roundup 20 to 30 times a year (150 x 3,8 l= 570 l x 20 / 30 = between 11400 and 17100 liters!)

Lee knew it was a dangerous product so he used it carefully and protected himself when manipulating it (but he doesn’t seem to have been given proper protection) but despite his precautions, twice he ended up drenched in the herbicide.

The defendant(= Monsanto)’s lawyer sympathizes with Lee’s ordeal but regarding the data and what science has been saying for 40 years, she refuses to acknowledge that Roundup causes cancer.

Yet images of the lesions which spread over 80 % of his body do not support its inocuity and made him uncomfortable in public, lowering his self-esteem and embarrassing his kids.

The key question the Court will have to answer is : how has cancer affected his life ?

Video n°2: Monsanto ordered to pay $289M to man who claimed weedkiller contributed to cancer

The verdict : Monsanto is guilty of endangering consumers’ health and is sentenced to pay $ 290 million in damages.

Monsanto will appeal (= faire appel) the sentence and claims that there is no evidence (= proof) that Roundup causes cancer and insists that there is overwhelming evidence in the 40 years of safe use of this product around the world.

Impact of such a verdict :

– necessary changes in agricultural products and techniques

– Monsanto is now liable for (= responsable de) the health of people.

The present situation : Conventional farming

Gainesville is the Poultry (= volaille) capital of the world where modern chicken industry was created. It relies on battery farming producing big quantities of poultry fattened up with antibiotics.

Its breeding techniques :

-intensive farming

– poultry bred in over-populated barns

– daily use of antibiotics

The author is critical of these techniques : antibotics turn the chickens into bland meat + bad bredding conditions for chickens

We shouldn’t be proud of that farming anymore (line 34-35)

He wants to raise the consumers’ awareness and make the industry change.

Changing food habits ?

The present situation: Organic farming is booming but remains still quite low. The paradox : the demand is high but the development of organic farming is low.

Why the process of transformation is so long: Time is needed for the soil to get rid of all the pesticides used before. It slows down the agricultural transition of many farms that must wait to get the organic certification.

Who contributes the most to the development fo organic farming: consumers/ politicians / farmers

Using scientific inovations

The farm of the future stories 2016 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg27iMXwdV0 (bbsrcmedia)

The challenge the planet will have to address (= meet = relever) in the future :

« In the next 35 years, we’ll have to produce more food than the whole of the world’s production combined over the last 2000 years » : the population will have grown so much that we’ll need new techniques to increase the productivity of the fields.

The different solutions considered inthe video:  (to consider a solution= envisager une solution)

– automation : robots, rovers, drones (powered with renewable energy like solar energy) equipped with sensors and cameras

– Underground farms or farms integrated in factories and businesses

– the National plant center

List their major assets (= atout)

– Robots will kill weeds and pests with very little chemicals, reducing their impact on the environment.

– Drones will analyze the soil and check the amount of nutrients and water.

– They will also replace farmers in multiple tasks like sowing or herding cattle.

– This electronic devices are much more efficient than humans at detecting problems

– They will be available on smartphones and apps, wifi and GPS

– They will be cheap enough to be used even in developing countries.

– They can work 24 hours a day

Climate: Australia 's biggest issue

Climate change: vocabulary list

Video: climate change in Australia : weather analysis

Main information :

Extreme conditions like, hotter temperatures, frequent bushfires, dought and intense cyclones : that is what weather experts forecast for Australia because of climate change. It has been an unprecedented year characterized by deluges, floods, and the population has to get prepared to relive these catastrophies which will hit harder and more frequently.

The warming has intensified with an increase of 1.44 ° since 2010. The lockdown helped reduce emissions but overall concentrations still increased.

The oceans around Australia are rising and that trend is continuing on an upward trajectory ; things are getting worse since (= puisque) the last decade has been one of the coolest of the next hundred years !

Texts : An unbearable heat + A school strike for climate

The consequences of the heat wave.

The response of Australian governments to climate change

Solli Raphael’s short biography:

At 12 years of age, Solli Raphael was titled the youngest ever winner of the Australian Poetry Slam held at the Sydney Opera House after he performed ‘Australian Air’ – a poem about political wisdom, environmental awareness and the importance of social consciousness. He then rose to fame after his winning performance was viewed online over four million times in 24 hours. Now 15, Solli is a globally renowned poet and keynote speaker; having led workshops; performed and spoken at conferences, schools and universities. Additionally (and passionately), Solli is an environmental activist and humanitarian who works closely as an ambassador for four charities and organisations.

His first book Limelight, was published in 2018 and his second book, Spotlight, in September 2020

This poem highlights the amount of daily waste that Australian people produce. From e-waste (or e-scrap or electronic waste)  to plastic packaging, it underlines the enormous amount of rubbish produced by australia.

Looking for solutions to climate change

What is Australia doing to tackle climate change ?

(Extract from BBC News, January 2nd, 2020)

Under the Paris Climate Agreement to tackle rising global temperatures, Australia set a target for 2030 of making a 26-28% reduction in its emissions compared with 2005 levels.

These goals have been criticised for being too low, and last year the United Nations (UN) reported that Australia was not on track.

According to the UN Fund, « There has been no improvement in Australia’s climate policy since 2017 and emission levels for 2030 are projected to be well above the target. »

About half of the G20 countries (those with the biggest economies), including Australia, are falling short.

The Climate Change Performance Index ranked Australia last out of 57 countries, responsible for more than 90% of greenhouse gas emissions on climate policy.

It highlighted the country’s no-show at a UN climate summit in September and its withdrawal from an international fund to tackle climate change.

The opposition Labor Party in Australia has said the government is « refusing to act » on climate change. (…)

The coal industry

Australia is among the world’s largest exporters of iron ore, uranium, coal and natural gas.

It was the fourth largest producer of coal in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency.

Phasing out coal is considered crucial to limiting global warming to within 1.5C, but the Australian government is continuing to back the industry for the role it plays in the economy.

Facing criticism over his handling of the bushfires and response to climate change, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said he will not make « reckless » cuts to the coal industry.

The government recently approved the construction of a controversial new coal mine – which could be the biggest in the world and would export coal to India.

Summary of the article

In 201, Australia agreed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 25 %, which was seen as unambitious by the international community. It did not reach its goal by far like many other developed countries. It now clearly refuses to contribute to the fight against global warming because of its coal industry which is a leader in the world and the government is not ready to downsize the production. On the contrary, it is developing it with the creation of a new coal mine.


Activism : Extinction Rebellion activists

Activism : Extinction Rebellion activists

Extinction Rebellion (XR for short) wants governments to declare a « climate and ecological emergency » and take immediate action to address (= to tackle = s’attaquer à) climate change.It describes itself as an international « non-violent civil disobedience activist movement ». Extinction Rebellion was launched (= lancer) in 2018 and organisers say it now has groups willing to (= wishing to / ready to) take action in dozens of countries.The group uses an hourglass (= sablier) inside a circle as its logo, to represent time running out (= s’écouler)  for many species.

Seeweed crowdfunding campaign in Australia


Until the last few years, seaweed was a profuse (/prəˈfjuːs) (= abundant/ plentiful) resource for humans ( providing food, fertilisers (/ˈfɜrtəˌlaɪzɚ/ ), energy, plastics, fibres (/ˈfaɪbər/) for clothes, omega 3s..) and animals (nutraceuticals /ˌnjuːtrəˈsjuːtɪkəlz/ = alicaments) and contributed to reducing the amont of carbon dioxide ( /daɪˈɒksaɪd/) in oceans. But now, it has almost disappeared from the east coast of Tasmania (/tæzˈmeɪniə/). Fortunately scientists have found a way to regenerate the weeds with nutritious water pumped from the depths (= les profondeurs) of the ocean. It is of the utmost importance to (= il est de la plus grande importance de) protect seaweeds since (= puisque) they appear to be (= s’avérer être) a very effective / efficient solution to reverse global warming as (= puisque) it is a very fast-growing plant.

Essai argumentatif

Are we doing enough to save the planet?

Grammar Time: Expressing Future


Ex 1:

  1. will / 2. are attending (= assister à) / 3. starts / will start / is starting / 4. will have risen / 5. will still be living

Ex 2:

  1. may / 2. can’t / 3. must – should / 4. can – could / 5. must not / 6. can’t – must — may – could / 7. must have / 8. cannot – can’t – won’t – wouldn’t / 9. will – may

Ex 3:

  1. We might have to go and live on another planet.
  2. Scientists must have been surprised when they heard the USA might withdraw from the COP21 agreement.
  3. We cannot continue polluting that much.
  4. We won’t be able to leave home anymore.
  5. Former animal species may come back to life.

Expressing future time after 'when','before', 'after', 'as soon as', 'until'

We use the present tense to talk about future times.
The future tense is used in the main clause.
The present simple tense is used in the time clause.

Ex: Tom will turn off the lights when he leaves the office. (Not when he will leave).

It is the same pattern with ‘,’before’, ‘after’, ‘as soon as’, ‘until’

Finish the following sentences:

I will tidy the living-room before I …………………………………….

He will not go home until he …………………………..

The operation will begin as soon as ………………………………….

Time clauses with reference to the future can also be introduced by other expressions such as:
once, immediately, the moment, the minute, the day, by the time …

Ex: Tony will call the restaurant the moment he gets home.

I’ll contact you once ……………………………………

You will be notified the minute your order …………………………..

It will be dark by the time ………………………..

The time clause may come before or after the main clause with no change in meaning.

The moment I hear the doorbell I …………………………..

The day you graduate your mother ……………………….

Possible answers:

I will tidy the living-room before I leave the house.

He will not go home until he is done  with his work at the office.

The operation will begin as soon as the surgeon is ready.

I’ll contact you once I can.

You will be notified the minute your order is ready.

It will be dark by the time I get back home.

The moment I hear the doorbell I will rush to open the door.

The day you graduate your mother will be overwhelmed with joy!