Nicolas Hulot, born April 30, 1955, is the first candidate to officially enter the race for the French presidency in 2012. The ecologist is a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur. He has enormous popularity in France due to his TV show Ushuaïa, a documentary that focuses on the environment and nature. He stayed out of the election in 2007, instead asking all major candidates to commit to an environmental pact. This led to Le Grenelle de l’environnement – a powwow on environmental issues that didn’t create any lasting reforms, as far as I can see. Hulot has been in the news a lot lately since the nuclear meltdown in Japan and has allied himself with the anti-nukes. Since France has more nuclear reactors that any other country and is enormously dependent upon the energy they produce, this is guaranteed to be a hot topic, no pun intended, in the next election.
Today’s expression, une bête noire (oon bet nwar) refers to something that one just can’t stand. For Nicolas Hulot, his bête noire is the damage that we are inflicting on the world every day. I don’t pretend to know whether nuclear power is a bane or a blessing, but I hope we figure out what we’re doing before there are no more polar bears and before the Seine floods the banks of Paris due to global warming.