Topic: Environment

环境话题 - 英语讨论

Vocabulary

  • aquifer 含水层
  • water supplies
  • springs, streams, and lakes 泉水、溪流和湖泊
  • earth science
  • soil hydrology 土壤水文学
  • it evaporates into the atmosphere
  • water cycle
  • pore 孔
  • dry climate
  • meteorology 气象学
  • Earth’s rotation
  • equator 赤道
  • poles 极地
  • vapor 水蒸气
  • evaporate 蒸发
  • arid 干旱的
  • cacti 仙人掌
  • Endangered animals 濒危动物
  • crops 作物,庄稼
  • livestock 牲畜;家畜
  • extinction 灭绝
  • sewage(污水): waste material from homes and other buildings; waste water from toilets
  • filthy: very dirty
  • crevice 裂缝; got stuck in a crevice
  • indigenous: describes people, plants and wildlife that have lived in a certain place for longer than later arrivals
  • harpooner 鱼叉手
  • urban oasis: 城市绿洲;新加坡;a quiet place in a built up area
  • sanctuaries 庇护所 safe places
  • accommodation n. 住宿
  • Illegal hunting, expanding agriculture and civil unrest
  • stunning views 极好的风景
  • pilgrims 朝圣者
  • hikers 徒步旅行者
  • sanctuary 避难所
  • carnage: the killing of large numbers of people or animals
  • poachers: people who catch and kill animals illegally to eat or sell
  • decimate: destroy or kill a large number
  • famine 饥荒
  • flood 洪水
  • drought 干旱(dry, arid)
  • earthquake 地震
  • melt 融化
  • thaw 融化
  • sanitation and hygiene 环境卫生和个人卫生
  • tsunami 海啸
  • perilously scarce 危险地稀缺
  • parched earth 干涸的土地
  • he can’t avoid his rivals(敌人,对手)

Human activity can also strain the environment to the point of a civilization’s collapse.

Emissions
Emissions are substances like gases, heat or light that go into the air

Hundreds of thousands of Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles in the UK are to be recalled to improve their emissions systems.

urban oasis
The plan for the new park is to create an urban oasis for visitors and shoppers in the city centre.

sanctuaries
The islands are recognised as one of the most significant sanctuaries for seabirds in the Atlantic.

global warming
the battle against global warming
to heat up

sacred
connected with religion or considered to be holy or precious.

sweltering; sizzling; scorching
very, very hot

extinction
The species are on the brink of extinction.

feeds on
eats, consumes (especially for animals)

sprawling
reaching over a large area

habitats
the places where plants and animals live naturally

at risk of
in a situation where something bad or dangerous could happen

kill off
destroy something totally

indigenous
describes people, plants and wildlife that have lived in a certain place for longer than later arrivals

  • indigenous peoples
  • indigenous animals
  • indigenous plants
  • non-indigenous

species
set of animals or plants that are similar to each other and can breed together

extinction
the situation where something doesn’t exist any more

endangered
under threat of not existing any more; dying out

primate
member of the group of animals including monkeys, apes and humans

drastically
something which happens suddenly and with a very obvious effect

poaching
capturing and killing animals illegally

natural habitat
region in which animals or plants normally live

critically endangered
facing an extremely high risk of extinction without human help

in the wild
in nature, without people’s interference

mammals
animals which are fed milk produced by their mother and are not born from an egg

fossils
animal or plant remainspreserved in rock for a very long time

wiped out
disappeared completely

horns
hard, pointed part which grows on top of an animal’s head

reptiles
animals that lay eggs anduse the sun to keep their bodies warm

coral reefs
underwater areas made of a rock-like substance created by small seaanimals

deforestation
the destruction of forests by cutting down trees

light at the end of the tunnel
hope

stable isotope analysis(稳定同位素分析,signature): track water as it travels through the soil as part of the hydrological cycle

sustainable: It is able to satisfy short-term and long-term needs.

safe yield: it’s based on balancing what we take out with what gets recharged.

5 of the world’s most endangered animals

Black rhino (Diceros bicornis)
Rhinos are one of the oldest groups of mammals. Some say they are virtually living fossils. But they will end up as fossils if poaching is not stopped. Poaching on a large scale between 1970 and 1992 wiped out ninety-six percent of black rhinos. They live in Namibia and east coast of Africa and are targeted particularly for their horns. It’s believed that there are fewer than 5,000 surviving.

Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate)
These reptiles have lived for more than a hundred million years, but some species are not going to be with us for much longer if the rate of decline is not stopped. Hawksbill turtles live in tropical oceans and play an important role in maintaining coral reefs. They feed on sponges and create better access for fish to find their own food on the reef’s surface. But the species is under threat, not only from the pollution which is damaging their habitat, but also from fishing practises and the illegal trade in their shells. They go to the surface to breathe, and if caught up in nets and hooks, they drown. Conservationists aim to work with fishermen to prevent turtles being caught in nets.

Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae)
Fewer than four hundred Sumatran tigers survive in the remaining areas of forests of their native island. Rapid deforestation and poaching mean this species could end up extinct like its Javan and Balinese relatives. Indonesian law protects them by imposing jail sentences and fines for poachers. But there’s still a big market in Asia for tiger products.

Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)
These gorillas can be found in the Congo Basin and Central Africa. Poaching and the deadly virus Ebola, also found in the region, have caused a decline by more than sixty percent in the number of western lowland gorillas over the last twenty to twenty-five years. It’s worth noting that the handling of bushmeat by hunters might have helped the spread of Ebola to humans. Scientists believe that even if the threat to the species is removed it will take about seventy-five years for its population to recover.

Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis)
The Amur leopard can be found in the far east of Russia. Its beautiful fur attracts poachers. But conservationists see the light at the end of the tunnel for this animal as their population has more than doubled in just seven years. Recent reports put the number of these big cats at fifty-seven in Russia’s Land of the Leopard National Park. There are also 8 to 12 individuals in neighbouring Chinese areas.

Short Articles

Preservation of the rainforests is very important. They contain over half the world’s species and are under threat from deforestation.

Reusing plastic bags and making new bags out of recycled plastic are good ways to cut down on pollution and litter. Volunteering is one way to see the world and help people.

Tourists like to visit the world’s last great wildernesses – deserts, jungles, great plains and ice worlds.

I must admit I’m not sure about the whole idea of electric cars. I mean obviously we need to find alternative forms of energy, but if you ask me, reducing the numbers of cars on the road should be the priority. Ideally we would all use public transport or bicycles. Seriously, I think people should be given tax breaks if they don’t own a car! But of course that’s not going to happen any time soon.

Beijing smog 北京雾霾
Smog in the Chinese capital Beijing has got so bad the government has banned half of all vehicles from taking to the roads

Severe restrictions are in force in Beijing to limit air pollution after the city declared a red alert for the first time.

Half the city’s vehicles have been banned from the roads.

coral bleach
The planet’s largest living structure struggling for survival. This coral should be alive with colour but it’s bleached and barren. These scientists are part of a team that’s assessed the health of the entire Great Barrier Reef – an area bigger than Britain – and here the prognosis is poor. On average, two-thirds of the coral in the northern section has died.

space junk
We’ve been space-bound since the 1950s, making amazing progress and countless scientific discoveries. But for every advance we’ve left something behind – space junk. At the University of Southampton, scientists are watching this waste. There are now thought to be 22,000 bits of space rubbish bigger than 10 centimetres.

Methane threatens global warming efforts
Scientists say they’re worried about a surge in the levels of methane gas being released into the atmosphere.

US researchers say efforts to tackle climate change will be undermined unless methane emissions are brought under control.

Methane is far more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and levels have recently increased sharply.

The reason is unclear but emissions from agriculture are likely to be to blame.

Giraffes facing ‘silent extinction’
Highly recognisable – but while Chester Zoo’s giraffes are loved by the visitors, in their natural African habitat, the animals are suffering what has been called a devastating decline. Illegal hunting, expanding agriculture and civil unrest have all been cited as factors pushing the long-necked mammals towards extinction.

农村和城市

  • rural areas
  • urban areas

Factors that can cause damage to the environment

  • Illegal hunting 非法捕猎
  • expanding agriculture 农业扩张
  • civil unrest 内乱

economic growth, population growth, urbanization, intensification of agriculture, rising energy use and transportation.

How to protect the environment?

  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cut down on what you throw away. Follow the three “R’s” to conserve natural resources and landfill space.
  • Volunteer. Volunteer for cleanups in your community. You can get involved in protecting your watershed, too.
  • Educate. When you further your own education, you can help others understand the importance and value of our natural resources.
  • Conserve water. The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater that eventually end up in the ocean.
  • Choose sustainable. Learn how to make smart seafood choices at www.fishwatch.gov.
  • Shop wisely. Buy less plastic and bring a reusable shopping bag.
  • Use long-lasting light bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also flip the light switch off when you leave the room!
  • Plant a tree. Trees provide food and oxygen. They help save energy, clean the air, and help combat climate change.
  • Don’t send chemicals into our waterways. Choose non-toxic chemicals in the home and office.
  • Bike more. Drive less.

Global warming and greenhouse gas emissions

Global warming is the long-term heating of Earth’s surface observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases (also known as GHGs) are gases in the earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. During the day, the sun shines through the atmosphere, warming the earth’s surface. At night the earth’s surface cools, releasing heat back into the air. But some of the heat is trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

How to protect the environment

  • We should save water and plant trees.
  • We should recycle aluminium cans.
  • We shouldn’t throw away aluminium cans. We shouldn’t waste water.
  • We shouldn’t cut down trees.

Conversation: Climate Change

Conversation 2 Man: Hey, what are you reading? Woman: I’m reading how cows contribute to climate change. Man: Cows! How do they do that? Woman: By releasing methane gas(甲烷气体) into the environment. Man: But, they’re cows! I don’t see how they can do that. Woman: They release gas by burping(打嗝). It says cows burp a lot. Man: By burping? How strange. Woman: It also says that farmers cause damage by cutting down trees to make farmland. Man: Yes, I’ve heard about that. Cutting down trees does damage by reducing how much trees can absorb CO2. Woman: Yes, and deforestation is also a problem by causing soil erosion. Man: So, what can we do about it? Woman: I suppose that we could help by eating less beef. Man: Yeah, or we could help by buying meat from local organic farms. Woman: Sounds good. Time to put our best foot forward. Man: Yes, and to put our money where our mouth is, literally.

Resources