Environment Vocabulary in French

Instructor: AJ Dana-Yoblonski

Dual citizen of France and Canada. Journalist - French print media (L'Obs, Paris Match, Le Parisien, ...) / Private tutor (grammar: English, French, Latin; literature) / Institutional communications officer

Even in larger French cities such as Paris, people care more and more about the environment. Let's go over the basic French environment vocabulary that will help you express your views on these matters.


You're at a café in Paris with your colleagues when they start discussing the latest pic de pollution (peek dö po-lu-see-an), the pollution peak, which occurs when a threshold in poor air quality is crossed. The pollution peak in the ''City of Light'' has been in the news for days now. Your companions turn to you and want to know what you think about l'environnement (l-on-vee-ro-nö-mon), the environment. What a broad question! you say to yourself. So first thing's first: What are the basic words related to the environment in French?

La planete

French Pronunciation Meaning
l'environnement l-on-vee-ro-në-mon the environment
la planète la pla-neh-t the Planet
l'écologie l-ay-ko-lo-zh-ee ecology
un écologiste uhn ay-ko-lo-zhee-st an environmental activist
écologique ay-ko-lo-zhee-k eco-friendly
la nature la na-tu-r the wilderness
la forêt la fo-reh the forest
le climat lö clee-ma the climate
la météo la may-tay-o the weather

L Ecologie

What actions are related to the environment? You can either...

  • Protéger l'environnement (pro-tay-zhay l-on-vee-ro-në-mon): to protect the environment
  • Polluer (po-lu-ay): to pollute
  • Avoir des gestes écologiques (a-vwah-r day zh-eh-st ay-ko-lo-zhee-k): to have eco-friendly ways

Un Pic de Pollution

One of your colleagues, Jules, starts a plea for l'environnement and condemns the consequences of people's historical carelessness. Kinda harsh, you say to yourself... But Jules seems to know what he's talking about. He refers to the pic de pollution (peek dö po-lu-see-an), the pollution peak which has been going on for days in Paris. What other negative consequences does he mention?

French Pronunciation Meaning
la pollution la po-lu-see-an pollution
les gaz à effet de serre lay gaz a eh-feh dö seh-r greenhouse gas
l'effet de serre l-eh-feh dö seh-r greenhouse gas effect
un polluant uhn po-lu-on a pollutant
toxique to-xee-k toxic
les changements climatiques lay shon-zhö-mon clee-ma-tee-k climate change
le réchauffement climatique lö ray-sho-fö-mon clee-ma-tee-k global warming
le gaspillage lö gas-pee-ya-zh waste

La pollution

Protéger l'Environnement

Et toi, que fais-tu pour protéger l'environnement? asks Jules, who wants to know what you do to protect the environment. Considering his strong stance on ecology, you'd better come up with something good...

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