The series Time to question

The series of short programs Time to question was born from the interactive survey conducted by ARTE since June 2020. With nearly 400,000 participants and more than 42 million responses, it is the largest sociological study ever conducted on our relationship to ecology. This collection focuses in particular on the perception of ecology of the Germans and French and presents the results.
By mixing playful computer graphics, archival images and interviews with respondents, these five short programs reproduce the results and analyses of the extensive consultation. The animated series retranscribes the mutations in progress, allowing new life choices to emerge and putting an end to many preconceived ideas. Five themes emerge from this ocean of data: the emergence of a popular ecology, the predominant role of women, the relationship to meat and consumption, solutions and visions for the future. The episodes shed light on profound changes: ecology is no longer a “rich people’s thing”, anxiety is almost unanimous and there is no longer a generational barrier, non-violence and civil disobedience are in great demand, collective fears and the desire for revolt are growing.

Episode 1: Is being green a rich person’s thing?

To qualify the ecological urgency on a scale of 0 to 5, 61% of respondents give the highest score. Whether they are rich, poor, young, old, employees, managers, everyone feels concerned and “End of the world, end of the month” is the same fight.

In terms of practices, it’s the same: all the social classes consume organic products. In transportation, it’s more divided… The fact remains that the wealthiest are those who make the least effort. What measures need to be taken to change things?

A “popular” ecology is taking shape before our eyes, which calls for a regulatory ecology, made up of laws and prohibitions valid for everyone, and socially acceptable.

In short, ecology is not (or no longer) a trick of the rich, the proof: they are the ones who pollute the most, by far!

Episode 2: Should we stop eating meat? 

Worldwide, meat production accounts for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, 30% in France. The IPCC indicates the way forward: become flexitarian. However, there is a real divide between the French and the Germans.

Even more so between men and women. The only unanimity: the concern for animal welfare. But if we eat less meat, what proteins will we eat in the future?

Lab meat for Germans who trust science and technology. Insects for the French… Mentalities are changing but practices are slowly evolving. Normal: changing our behavior does not make us happy.

Episode 3: Will women save the planet?

Is ecology more feminine than masculine? 70% of female respondents vs. 59% of male survey respondents report the highest level of urgency with respect to ecology.

This difference of about 10 points is found on almost all of the ecology questions. Daily practices (food, consumption, waste treatment) are changing more among women than men.

In the public sphere, they are more militant, more awaiting a societal transformation. They also question more the fact of having children, but this is no longer a given for a large majority of respondents, both men and women.

Beyond ecology, women are more concerned about racism and gender issues than men.

Could undergoing a form of social domination increase sensitivity to inequalities and climate issues?

Episode 4: Do we need a green revolution?

All generations share the same sense of urgency and the same observation: political institutions are not up to the challenge.

82% of respondents demand that their government impose environmental practices on citizens: banning plastic packaging, downtown cars and domestic flights.

But things are not moving fast enough and there is massive anger at the inaction of the countries on climate change. While respondents support the marches (62%), they want to go further: more than three-quarters (78%) are willing to disobey laws to protect the environment. The use of violence, on the other hand, is rejected by 75%. To get out of the impasse, who can we trust? The Germans opt for experts while the French advocate greater participatory democracy.

But exasperation and urgency are shared by all. It is time for our democracies to move.

Episode 5: Will tomorrow be better?

60% of respondents think the world will be worse off in 2040. The fear of the collapse of our civilization is there. Climate change, nuclear disaster or depletion of resources: the danger is above all environmental.

So what can be done?

One of the solutions is degrowth, which attracts people to the left but also to the right.

Where to live? In the forest, on the roads, nothing is ruled out by the respondents. But large metropolises attract less than before, to the benefit of medium-sized towns. As far as work is concerned, the trend today is to combine three fundamental requirements: to do one’s job in accordance with one’s values, to feel valued, and above all in a sector that is useful to society.

But those who opt for a more sober lifestyle, who abandon the city, move to the countryside, reinvent their profession are still a very small minority. Do they embody the aspirations of the vast majority? Are they shaping tomorrow’s world?

Written by
Arthur Rifflet and Christophe Nick
Directed by
Arthur Rifflet and Thomas Deyriès
Produced by
YAMI 2 – Christophe Nick and Upian
5 x 8 minutes
Broadcasted on
Broadcasted in