People & Nature

The environment refers to the surroundings in which people, animals, and plants develop and exist.

Modern life has many advantages, but at the same time, we produce a lot of waste. We pollute and damage the environment in which we live.

Current Environmental issues

The most serious environmental issues of today are:

1. The pollution of air, water, and soil/ land. 
These forms of pollution are caused by smoke, harmful gases, heat, radiation, and poisonous chemicals. Basically, the outcome of human activities.

2. The greenhouse effect that causes global warming.  
This is a situation when the heat from Earth cannot escape from the atmosphere, and the temperature on Earth goes up as a result. This causes weather changes, and even natural disasters, such as:

  • floods – unpredictable and heavy rain in a short time, 
  • droughts – no rain for a long time, 
  • forest fires – an unplanned, unpredictable, and uncontrolled fire spreading along large areas of earth, 
  • the melting of ice and glaciers – as the ice and glaciers on the land and in the oceans melt, sea levels will continue to rise, and more and more countries will be flooded.

3. The destruction of wildlife and the disappearance of many species of
animals and plants. There is “The Red List of Threatened Species” – this is a list of rare plants and animals that are protected. Included here are some kinds of rhinos, elephants, and turtles, among others.

4. Deforestation – this is the cutting down of trees for firewood or building materials.

5. The destruction of tropical rain forests. The forests are “The lungs of the
Earth.”,

6. The breaking of the ozone layer. 
Why is the ozone layer so important? It serves as a filter that protects the Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Without the Ozone layer, life on Earth would not be possible. People, plants, and animals cannot live and grow in heavy ultraviolet radiation.

7. Consumer society, which produces too much waste.

QUESTION TIME
Part 1

  1. What are the major kinds of pollution we have to deal with?
  2. What are the consequences of global warming?
  3. Name some natural disasters and give their short characteristics.
  4. Can you explain the technical term “deforestation”?
  5. Why is the ozone layer so crucial for humankind?
  6. Explain in brief “The Red List of Endangered Species.”

Air pollution

Air pollution is the most severe problem in large cities and areas with large-scale industrial production. 

1. FACTORIES produce much waste, such as:

  • radioactive waste 
  • dangerous emissions 
  • carbon dioxide which combined with water makes, acid rain that harms trees and makes soil infertile.

 2. Great amounts of pollution also come from HEAVY TRAFFIC and AIR TRAVEL

  • There are too many cars on the road. These cars release exhaust fumes into the atmosphere.
  • We should rather travel by public transport because more people fit into the bus or train, which means less harm to the atmosphere.
  • There are also MILITARY ACTIVITIES that affect the atmosphere.

The ozone layer in the atmosphere serves as a filter for harmful light from the sun. With dangerous gases – CFCs, carbon dioxide from cars and power stations we damage this layer and it causes many diseases such as skin cancer, or allergies.

Water pollution

1.FACTORIES release poisonous materials, and life from the water disappears

2. We THROW PLASTIC WASTE into rivers and pollute them. 

3. We use TOO MANY DETERGENTS (cleaning products) instead of natural cleaning products (e.g., vinegar).

4. OIL SLICKS from tankers destroy wildlife in the seas and rivers.

Soil pollution

1. FARMERS also pollute the soil when they use a lot of chemicals = pesticides, and fertilizers instead of natural ones. These kill birds, insects, and animals.

2. LITTER – the massive amount of rubbish from our households and take-away food is also a significant threat to the environment.

QUESTION TIME
Part 2

  1. What causes air pollution?
  2. What causes water pollution?
  3. What causes soil pollution?

How to protect the environment and become Eco-Friendly

We need air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and space to live and move, and that’s why we must protect the environment. 

SOLUTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS

Save energy, water, and petrol

  • Unplug Unused Electronics, switch off the lights, TV, PC, and radio if you don’t use them.
  • Do the washing only if the washing machine is full or do hand washing.
  • Run your dishwasher when it is full.
  • Install a low-flow showerhead or take a shorter shower. 
  • Don’t have a bath because you use much more water.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing the dishes.
  • When possible, walk, take public transport, or use a bicycle instead of driving your car.
  • Use alternative / renewable energy sources – solar, wind, hydropower. They have one thing in common: zero or minimal greenhouse gas emissions. Many run-of-river plants do not require the building of dams, providing inexpensive, clean energy to rural communities.
  • Catch/ collect rainwater from the roofs to save water, and your plants will also thank you.

Support the so-called: „ Circular Economy. “

The Circular Economy focuses on products and materials that can be used repeatedly.

The keyword of this philosophy is „ re-use. “

Re-use

  • Use items that can be recycled.
  • Buy rechargeable batteries.
  • Replace your old bulbs with LED bulbs because they use much less energy.
  • Return plastic bottles to the shop.
  • Use zero-waste shops. Bring your bags and containers to refill them with liquid soap, lotion, cleaning products, or basic foodstuffs. 

QUESTION TIME
Part 3

  1. Suggest how to save energy, water, and petrol.
  2. Why do we need renewable sources of energy?
  3. Can you explain the term: “Circular Economy”?
  4. What does “re-use” mean to you? Explain it with some examples.

Recycle

Sort out domestic rubbish and take it to special containers:

  • Glass into the green bin,
  • plastic items into the yellow bin,
  • paper into the blue bin,
  • metal objects into the red bin,
  • organic waste into the brown bin.

Do not drop litter in nature. Do not drop litter in the countryside. Recycle.

Protect plants and animals

  • Plant flowers and trees.
  • Protect animals.
  • Make compost from food leftovers, make organic garden waste and use it in your garden.
  • Don’t smoke. Not only do you pollute the air when you smoke, but at the same time, you support tobacco companies that destroy forests to produce soft cigarette paper and packs for them. One tree is cut to make 300 000 cigarettes.
  • Sign up for E-billing – it saves a lot of trees.

Buy products wisely

  • Use a cloth or reusable bag when doing your grocery shopping. Avoid using disposable plastic bags, plates, spoons, glasses, and cups because they are not biodegradable, meaning that nature cannot break them down. 
  • Don’t buy unnecessary electronic gadgets because they need an incredible quantity of energy to liquidate (for example, an electric toothbrush, new tablets, new-fashioned mobile phones).
  • Buy fresh food more than tinned.
  • Make a shopping list when you go shopping.
  • Don’t go to the shop hungry. Otherwise, you buy much more useless food.

Support Environmental organizations

They conserve, protect and monitor the environment against the misuses or  degradation   from human forces . Included here are:

  • Greenpeace
  • Fauna and Flora International
  • Friends of the Earth
  • and others

QUESTION TIME
Part 4

  1. What does “Recycle” mean to you?
  2. What is wise buying?
  3. Do you know any Environmental organizations? What is their primary task?

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February 12, 2021

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