English Conversation – The Environment
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 @ 09:03 AM
This is the preparation material for an English conversation lesson about the environment and nature. It deals with issues such as global warming, climate change and deforestation. It contains a list of advanced English vocabulary relating to the environment, common idioms and expressions we might use when discussing this subject and a list of conversation questions relating to nature and the environment.
Vocabulary related to the environment
- Atmosphere – the mixture of gases that surround the Earth
- Biodegradable – materials and chemicals that are biodegradable are changed naturally by bacteria into substances that do not harm the environment
- Catastrophe – a terrible event in which there is a lot of destruction, suffering or death
- Contaminate – to make a place or substance dirty or harmful by putting something such as chemicals or poison in it.
- Conservation – the protection of natural things such as animals, plants, forests etc. to prevent them being spoiled or destroyed.
- Sustainable – able to continue without causing damage to the environment
- Deforestation – the cutting or burning down of all the trees in an area.
Idioms we might use when discussing the environment
- A recipe for disaster - If you refer to a plan or an idea as a recipe for disaster, you think it is likely to produce bad results.
- No quick fix - To say that there is no quick fix to a problem means that there is no simple solution.
- A race against time - If someone is in a race against time, they have to work very quickly in order to do or finish something before a certain time.
- Ripple effect - When an action has an effect on something, which in turn affects something else, it is said to have a ripple effect.
- To sweep something under the carpet – To ignore or hide something because it is too difficult or embarrassing to deal with.
Conversation questions about the environment
- What do you think are the biggest problems facing the environment?
- Do you think that global warming is caused by humans or part of the natural cycle of the earth?
- What are some of the factors that have contributed to global warming?
- Do you think that recent natural disasters are the result of human influence on the environment?
- Have you seen any changes in the weather or climate in your country? If so, what are they?
- Has the Government in your country implemented any initiatives or policies to protect the environment, such as recycling, litter laws etc.?
- Do you think leaders around the world have done enough to address the environmental problems?
- Have you done anything to help the environment?
- Have there been any natural disasters in your country?
- What things do you think can be done to protect the environment?
- Do you think the planet has been permanently damaged?
- What stories have you read or heard recently about the environment?
- What do you think of environmental groups like Greenpeace?
- Is the environment in a good state in your country?
- Do you think cars should be banned from city centres?
- How has the world changed since you were a child? (technology, values, environment, health)
- What are some things that your community is doing to help the environment?
- Who do you think is more responsible for pollution, individual people or the government?
- What do you think about the potential of alternative energy sources / renewable energy such as solar power, wind power and wave power?
- What types of energy are popular in your native country?
- What is the main problem with renewable energy sources?
- What do you think governments can do to improve the air quality for their country?
- How can we protect the environment and at the same time improve people's standard of living?
- Do you think overpopulation is an important environmental issue?
- What do you think about the use of pesticides, which increase productivity of crops but can harm the environment?
- What problems are being caused by the destruction of rainforests?
- What has been the impact of environmental changes on animal species?
- How can deforestation be reduced when many communities rely on this industry for their livelihood?
great lesson. can’t wait to use it in tomorrow’s class. thanks!!