The vocabulary of “Green”

The “Greening of America: An Opportunity for Europe” conference held on Monday, April 12th was hosted by Microsoft at their new Parisian Campus in Issy les Moulineaux. Discussion centered around one major theme: Public and Private Partnerships, local and trans-Atlantic.

US policy is to export know-how and to welcome job creating innovative green projects.

I think French policy is about the same. So … maybe there’s some business to be done.

Most of the conference was in English and I was struck by the vivacity of the language used. I’d say I could understand upwards of 90% of the speeches.  There were a few accents and some unusal pronunciations my ear had to get used to. But they were all informative, rich and intelligent.

Here are a few of the most frequently used terms:

green, sustainable and sustainability, partnerships, cloud (as in cloud computing);

There were lots of comparatives used and especially this one: cleaner. More efficient came out frequently as did the word “new” often as an adjective with both a prefix (re-) and a suffix (able):  renewable.

These conferences are always good for scrabble players : renewability was used about every 15 minutes .

The prefix re- and the sound re- was heard in these words: rewardre-energize.. and recovery….  and responsible.

Innovation was a key word as was the subject: energy. And of course: energy efficient…which is, I learnt,  what the Empire State Building will soon be!

Self-funding is a neat concept. I don’t recall if that came from a “public” or a “private” institution. Of course, investment was used over and over again but I have no recall of the word ‘cost’ … except in the phrase “low-cost.”

“Paperless” “Paper-free” : Someone in the audience translated these as “sans-papiers.”

More than one speaker used a very clear and easy to pronounce expression:

At the end of the day …” This expression,  which means … the end result …. is roughly synonomous with

When all is said and done” or “The bottom line

and in French … maybe something like … Tous comptes faits … En fin de compte … and I will say that today, at the end of the day, there was a lot of goodwill, lots of business cards exchanged and promises made!

I couldn’t help but note that one other word, a word which immigrated into American English from Europe,  was used: Chutzpah!

Bravo to all the participants and thanks to the hosts and sponsors. This is a step in the right direction.

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