Pondichéry • Avril 2016
Séries technologiques • LV1
Acting against climate change
Text 1 Alex Lin, teenage activist
He’s Alex Lin and he’s just 16 years old.
“I don’t see anything uncommon in it,” says Lin, a high school senior from Westerly, Rhode Island. “My friends and I have been doing this since fifth grade1. It’s become part of our lifestyle.”
Lin’s catalytic moment came in 2004 when he chanced upon a Wall Street Journal article. “It first alerted me to the e-waste problem, and warned of an e-waste tsunami to come.”
E-waste, or electronics garbage, is the fastest growing section of the U.S. trash stream. In 2007, Americans discarded more than 112,000 computers daily, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Even worse, just 18 percent of discarded televisions and computer products were collected for recycling.
Almost all electronic devices contain varying amounts of hazardous chemicals and heavy metals – lead, mercury, and cadmium being among the most deadly to the human body.
“When improperly disposed of – i.e. dumping, burning, etc. –these chemicals can seep into the surrounding environment, harming humans, crops, and ecosystems,” says Lin. “With the advent of the computer in the 1970s, electronics use has increased exponentially, bringing with it ever-increasing amounts of waste. In the majority of the world, this waste is improperly disposed of, resulting in untold damage to the environment.”
Reduce, reuse, and recycle. These are the so-called 3Rs of eco-friendly behavior. To start, Lin and his student-led community service team, Westerly Innovations Network (WIN), concentrated their efforts on recycling.
“We worked with Metech International to hold an e-waste recycling drive that collected over 21,000 pounds of electronics,” says Lin. With assistance from a private recycling company and the municipal government, they established a permanent receptacle that collects up to 5,000 pounds of e-waste per month, and more than 300,000 pounds to date.
However, once Lin and his team discovered that reusing computers was much more efficient than recycling, they decided to create a computer-refurbishing program.
More than 300 refurbished computers were donated to low-income students without home computer access. “It was an eye-opening experience,” says Jeff Brodie, 16, of the moment when he, Lin, and other WIN teammates walked into one Westerly residence to set up a computer. “The kids were running around very excited.”
Lin and his WIN Team sent out thousands of fliers, made radio announcements, wrote articles for local newspapers, and made presentations in front of both student and town council audiences.
Bill H7789 passed on July 6, 2006. It is now illegal to dump electronics in Rhode Island.
Adapted from www.takepart.com, April 5, 2010.
1. Fifth grade: last year of primary school.
Text 2 Celebrities fighting climate change
Showtime will broadcast a new eight-part documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously, beginning April 13. The series features some of the world’s biggest names in entertainment as field correspondents. Harrison Ford travels through remote forests and flies on NASA airplanes taking air samples. Don Cheadle is in drought-ridden1 Texas. Matt Damon explores the impact of heat waves. There’s plenty of appeal for younger 5 viewers. The series explores serious data and research as correspondents speak with scientists, activists, politicians, and average citizens presented as seeing changes all around them. There is little new about using celebrities to promote causes, of course, although this series has actors getting their “hands dirty” more than most prior efforts. Actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio have attempted to bring attention to 15 environmental issues and climate change – he narrated The 11th Hour, a 2007 film about the subject.” Declan Fahy, associate professor at American University’s School of Communication, notes that celebrities have a powerful promotional value and can help reach wider audiences. “They personify ideas and social issues. They put a recognizable, individual face on a complex, systemic phenomenon like climate change and therefore make the issue connect with audiences, engaging them on the issue, and potentially mobilizing them to take action.”
By John Wihbey, www.yaleclimateconnections.org, March 3, 2014.
1. Drought-ridden: which suffers from an absence of water.
compréhension 10 points
1 Copy the grid and fill it in using information from the text about Alex Lin.
Town of residence
State of residence
Country of residence
2 Pick out the correct answer.
1. Alex Lin is actively involved in:
a) the reduction of water waste.
b) the reduction of e-waste.
c) the reduction of food waste.
2. Alex has been an activist:
a) since a very young age.
b) for a few months.
c) since the beginning of high school.
3. Alex became an activist after:
a) watching a documentary on TV.
b) surfing the Internet.
c) reading a newspaper.
3 Are the following statements true or false? Justify by quoting the text.
1. People have been throwing away more and more electronic devices.
2. A majority of electronic devices are being recycled.
3. Dumping electronic devices can be dangerous.
4. Lin believes in repairing computers rather than recycling them.
4 Focus on lines 24 to 35 and give three examples of Lin and his team’s actions.
5 Explain in your own words who benefited from their refurbishing initiative and how they felt about it (20 words, +/− 10 %).
6 Pick out the sentence that shows the concrete consequence of Lin and his team’s action.
7 Pick the correct answer.
The goal of the programme is:
1. to entertain its viewers.
2. to raise awareness.
3. to show celebrities in their daily lives.
8 List all the categories of people involved in the programme.
9 Justify the following sentence with a quotation from the text.
Having famous people taking part in a campaign has already been done before.
10 Give two benefits of using celebrities in this programme (quote the text).
11 In your own words, briefly explain what is expected from the audiences (20 words, +/− 10 %).
12 Sum up briefly what both initiatives are fighting for (20 words, +/- 10%).
13 Pick out the sentence that best describes the difference between the two initiatives.
1. One is about a modest personal initiative and the other is about a collective initiative.
2. One is about a school project and the other is about a business project.
3. One is about an individual initiative and the other is about a governmental campaign.
expression 10 points
▶ Choose ONE of the following subjects. (200 words, +/− 10 %)
1 You are a journalist interviewing Lin about his past and present actions, his hopes for the future and his feelings. Imagine the interview.
2 What cause would you be ready to support? What celebrity would you choose to represent it and why?
Les clés du sujet
Takepart.com est le site internet d’un studio de cinéma américain, Participant Media, qui traite de problèmes de société actuels et propose des moyens d’action pour les résoudre.
Pour en savoir plus : www.takepart.com/
Résumé du texte
Lin est un lycéen américain sensibilisé depuis l’enfance aux dégâts causés sur l’environnement par les déchets des appareils électroniques. Après avoir créé dans sa ville une déchetterie pour matériaux électroniques, il s’est rendu compte qu’il était bien plus judicieux de recycler les ordinateurs pour les donner à des étudiants qui n’avaient pas les moyens de s’en acheter.
Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension
To chance upon (l. 5) : tomber par hasard sur ; waste, garbage, trash (l. 8-9) : déchets ; to discard (l. 11) : jeter ; a device (l. 13) : un appareil ; hazardous (l. 14) : dangereux ; to dump (l. 16) : jeter ; to seep into (l. 17) : s’infiltrer ; to harm (l. 17) : nuire à ; crops (l. 18) : cultures, céréales ; to dispose of (l. 16) : se débarrasser de ; a drive (l. 28) : campagne, animation ; pounds (l. 28) ; livres (poids, 1 lb= 454g) ; to refurbish (l. 35) : rénover.
Yale Climate Connections est un service multimédia en ligne américain, consacré au changement climatique. Le journaliste consultant John Wihbey en est l’un des rédacteurs.
Pour en savoir plus : www.yaleclimateconnections.org/
Résumé du texte
À l’occasion de la diffusion d’une série documentaire consacrée à la lutte contre le changement climatique, John Wihbey aborde le rôle des célébrités dans la sensibilisation du public aux grandes causes.
Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension
To broadcast (l. 1) : diffuser ; to feature (l. 2) : présenter ; a field correspondent (l. 3-4) : un journalist sur le terrain ; a sample (l. 5) : un échantillon ; heat wave (l. 6) : canicule ; prior (l. 12) : précédent ; to reach (l. 17) : atteindre ; wider (l. 17) : plus vaste.
Les points de convergence
Les deux textes décrivent deux initiatives américaines visant à sensibiliser le public au changement climatique et à les faire agir. L’une est individuelle, provenant d’un tout petit groupe de citoyens, l’autre est plus largement collective, impliquant des célébrités.
Le sujet d’expression 1
Pistes de recherche
Un journaliste va sûrement s’intéresser au jeune âge de Lin : être si impliqué à la sortie du lycée est une chose rare.
Veillez à poser des questions au passé, au présent ET au futur ainsi qu’à propos de ses sentiments, afin de réellement répondre à la tâche proposée.
Concernant Lin, pensez à ses motivations : les raisons pour lesquelles il a choisi d’agir ainsi et peut-être son futur métier après les études.
To be proud of oneself (être fier de soi) ; state-of-the-art (dernier cri) ; outdated (obsolète, dépassé) ; to be in good working order (être en bon état de fonctionnement) ; to fix up (réparer) ; sustainable living (mode de vie durable) ; to spread the word (passer le mot).
Le sujet d’expression 2
Pistes de recherche
Pensez à une cause qui vous touche : la protection des animaux ou des enfants, la sensibilisation aux dangers du tabac ou de la drogue, l’importance de faire du sport, les possibilités sont infinies !
Ensuite, vous pouvez réfléchir à une star dont l’image correspond à cette cause : peut-être suite aux films qu’elle a pu faire.
Prenez par exemple un sportif de haut niveau qui pourrait vous aider à promouvoir l’importance du sport à l’école, ou un chanteur qui a eu des problèmes avec la drogue dans le passé mais qui s’en est sorti et qui souhaiterait éviter que d’autres jeunes fassent la même erreur.
Celebrity endorsement (soutien/sponsoring d’une célébrité) ; to raise money (récolter de l’argent) ; to raise awareness (sensibiliser) ; a spokesperson (un porte-parole) ; to speak from experience (parler en connaissance de cause) ; to draw attention to (attirer l’attention sur).
Town of residence
State of residence
Country of residence
high school senior
2 Alex Lin is actively involved in b) the reduction of e-waste (l. 6).
2. Alex has been an activist a) since a very young age (l. 3-4).
3. Alex became an activist after c) reading a newspaper (l. 5-6).
3 1. True. E-waste, or electronics garbage, is the fastest growing section of the U.S. trash stream (l. 8-9). / Electronics use has increased exponentially, bringing with it ever-increasing amounts of waste (l. 19-20).
2. False. Just 18 percent of discarded televisions and computer products were collected for recycling (l. 11-12).
3. True. When improperly disposed of […] these chemicals can seep into the surrounding environment, harming humans, crops, and ecosystems (l. 16-18) / this waste is improperly disposed of, resulting in untold damage to the environment (l. 21-22).
4. True. Once Lin and his team discovered that reusing computers was much more efficient than recycling, they decided to create a computer-refurbishing program (l. 33-35).
4 – They set up an e-waste recycling drive to collect unwanted electronic appliances;
They donated refurbished computers to low-income students without home computer access;
They advertised their actions with fliers, radio announcements, articles for local newspapers, and made public presentations.
5 Students who could not afford a home computer mostly benefited from Lin’s initiative and were very enthusiastic about it.
6 It is now illegal to dump electronics in Rhode Island (l. 44-45).
7 2. to raise awareness.
8 Celebrities, actors, scientists, activists, politicians, university professors and average citizens.
9 There is little new about using celebrities to promote causes (l. 10).
10 They personify ideas and social issues (l. 18). Celebrities have a powerful promotional value and can help reach wider audiences (l. 16-17).
11 Audiences are expected to become more aware of climate issues and to act against their causes and consequences.
12 Both initiatives are trying to make people more aware of climate issues and get them to do something to protect the environment.
13 1. One is about a modest personal initiative and the other is about a collective initiative.
Journalist: Welcome to the show! Today we have a special guest, a young man from Rhode Island who is creating a storm to combat the e-waste tsunami! Alex Lin, good morning. You are only 16 but you have already achieved so much in Westerly. How did it start?
Alex: Well, I have always been interested in electronics but until I read a newspaper article I didn’t realise how problematic this was for the environment. Devices become outdated so quickly and we just discard them. But it’s not eco-friendly. That’s why I set up a collect!
Journalist: Wow! What a fantastic idea! And now you’ve gone further and started repairing other people’s trash! You must be so proud of yourself!
Alex: Yes, I feel proud but also rather sad that people don’t think before throwing things out. I realised that many devices we were collecting were not state-of-the-art but still in good working order. Why not fix them up and pass them on! I love helping others and feel very lucky to be part of such a great team!
Journalist: Great! So where will you go from here?
Alex: After graduating, I want to go to college to study Sustainable Living and Environmental Economics in order to start my own business and continue spreading the word!
Journalist: Well, good luck for a very promising future!