France's Quiet Revolution

France is undergoing a revolution to become an ecological civilization.

The government has created a ministry for ecological transition and plans to train all public sector workers in environmental principles.

By 2027, every public sector worker in France will have received training in biodiversity, climate, and natural resources crises.

This institutional commitment demonstrates the seriousness of France's plan to address Earth system collapse.

In contrast, other rich nations are failing to take similar actions.

Success in Energy, Water, and Resource Conservation

France has already achieved what the UK government only vaguely promises for the future.

The country has implemented successful programs in energy, water, and resource conservation.

For example, France has passed laws to reduce waste, ban single-use plastics in public procurement, and phase out plastic bottles.

Manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers are now required to give away or recycle unsold items.

These measures demonstrate France's commitment to sustainability.

Promoting Repairability and Responsibility

France is actively working to eliminate planned obsolescence and increase product repairability.

Major sectors must pay into a repair fund and provide spare parts and repair instructions.

Manufacturers are banned from using strategies that restrict device repair or longevity.

Producers and distributors are responsible for processing and disposal of used goods.

By 2025, France aims to reduce single-use plastic packaging by 20% and food waste by 50%.

Contrasts with the UK

In comparison, the UK's efforts in environmental protection are lackluster.

The government has only announced limited bans on single-use plastics, mostly in the fast-food sector.

The UK has failed to include overall improvement in water quality in its Environment Act targets.

Additionally, the government has undermined Scotland's plans for stronger environmental measures.

France's actions highlight the UK's lack of commitment to sustainability.

France's Commitment to Water Resources

France has published a plan to protect its water resources, including reducing withdrawals and improving ecological conditions.

The government is investing €1.4bn in cleaning up the toxic Seine River for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In contrast, the UK has overlooked water quality improvements and sewage pollution.

France's efforts in water resource management are commendable compared to the UK's negligence.

Overall, France's basic green measures feel like an impossible dream in the UK.

France's actions should be seen as the minimum policies any responsible government should be implementing.

While France is not a perfect eco-paradise, its efforts overshadow those of other rich nations.

The UK government has prioritized culture wars and self-interest over environmental protection.

Instead of ramping up environmental standards, the UK seeks to weaken them.

It is time for all governments to prioritize the transition towards an ecological civilization.


George Monbiot. (June 24, 2023). When it comes to rich countries taking the environment seriously, I say: vive la France | George Monbiot.

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