Part 1-style questions
Examiner: Are there any environmental problems in your country?
Kelly: Yes … we have a serious issue with pollution levels in some of our big cities … exhaust fumes from cars and lorries are definitely one reason for the problem but we also have a lot of heavy industry in some areas and this also results in poor air quality …
Examiner: Do you take an interest in nature?
Jenny: Well … I’m a city person through and through and don’t get back to nature very often I’m afraid … but like everyone else I’m fascinated by the natural world and I like watching documentaries showing wild animals in their natural habitat …
Examiner: Do you or your family take steps to help the environment?
Mira: My parents have always tried to make us aware of our impact on the environment… they’re really into energy conservation … and always try to buy environmentally friendlyproducts if they have the chance …
Part 2-style task
Describe an environmental problem that has been in the news. You should say
- when this was
- where the event happened
- what actually took place
and say how you felt about this problem.
Martin: Well … this is an interesting question … there are so many issues I could think of … natural disasters like earthquakes and floods seem to be in the news almost every year … but there was one story recently about some animals that were under threat … it wasn’t focused on one place in particular … it was looking at various animals that could actually become extinct in different African countries … if we don’t take steps to protect them … these were really iconic animals like gorillas … leopards … rhinos … and apparently they’re now listed as endangered species … what made it really depressing was they were in danger thanks to us … in some cases it was due to a loss of habitat either because people need more agricultural production … or even worse I think … because of hunting and poaching … I hate to think of future generations being robbed of the chance to see creatures like these in their natural environment … it’s lucky we have lots of organisations that focus on wildlife conservation … hopefully with their help we can put pressure on those in power to do something to stop creatures like these dying out …
Part 3-style questions
Examiner: What do you think is the main danger the world faces in terms of the environment?
Spencer: Well … climate change is a real issue … in my country we have flash floods and heatwaves on a yearly basis … so yes … I think global warming is the biggest issue.
Examiner: What examples are there of how we damage the natural world?
Stella: There are so many examples … there are factories that empty toxic waste into rivers and oceans … oil spills that damage the coastline … the way we destroy vast areas of land and rain forests in search of fossil fuels or to increase agricultural production …
Examiner: In which ways do we respond well to environmental problems?
Mathius: Well … on the one hand there are various worldwide agencies that are always the first on the scene with humanitarian aid after natural and man-made disasters … and on the other hand we have environmental pressure groups that are constantly raising awareness of issues and trying to stop disasters happening …
- air quality: the cleanliness of the air we breathe
- to become extinct: to no longer exist
- to be under threat: to be in danger of becoming extinct
- climate change: the change in worldwide weather patterns
- to die out: see ‘to become extinct’
- endangered species: categories of animals or plants that are in danger of becoming extinct
- energy conservation: the careful management of energy resources to ensure they last as long as possible
- environmentally friendly: behaviour and products that do not harm the environment
- exhaust fumes: the toxic gases given off by vehicles powered by petrol
- flash floods: floods that happen quickly
- fossil fuels: energy resources like gas and oil that are produced deep below the ground over millions of years
- future generations: the people who live after us
- to get back to nature: to live a life that is closer to nature
- global warming: the increasing temperature of the world brought about by gases such as carbon dioxide
- heavy industry: the manufacture of heavy articles and materials in large numbers
- humanitarian aid: the act of showing support to people struggling to survive
- impact on: the effect on
- loss of habitat: the decline in areas of land where animals and plants would normally exist
- man-made disaster: widespread damage or loss of life brought about by the action of humans
- natural disaster: an event such as an earthquake, flood or hurricane which causes widespread damage or loss of life
- natural environment: the place where animals and plants would normally be found in nature
- the natural world: the world of nature
- oil spill: waste usually deposited in the seas and oceans after an accident at sea
- poaching: to hunt and kill wild animals illegally
- pollution levels: the amount of toxic waste
- pressure group: a group of people who try to raise awareness of issues and try to affect the views and actions of people and organisations
- toxic waste: poisonous, unwanted rubbish often produced by industrial processes
- wildlife conservation: to protect animals and plants and their habitats