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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Francois Mitterrand and Nature

Guillaume Sainteny

Environment and History 9(2003): 77-100

With the help of extensive quotations, this paper shows that the writings of Francois Mitterrand contain many professions of his love for nature, and reflections on the bond between man and nature. In contrast to these aesthetic and mystical, almost religious outpourings, his references to environmental issues, to ecology and to the environmental movement are few, and they are counterposed by exaltations of materialism and material progress. This dichotomy, and Mitterrand's failure when in office to really engage politically with the conservation of nature and the environment, can partly be explained by the anthropocentric and conservative spiritual values engendered by his rural catholic upbringing.

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