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Welcome! This site is for students to practice their English and keep up to date with environmental issues.

TEN MINUTES OF ENGLISH A DAY!
You can find a mixture of reading, crosswords, videos and short English lessons: these will normally be vocabulary, but I may also treat you to some grammar!

There are now over 240 lessons on this blog. Look through the Blog archive, Post labels and Popular Posts to find what you want.

If you want to print a lesson, click on the lesson title and then look for the Print Friendly icon.

''Let nature be your teacher''
William Wordsworth, poet, 1770-1850

''Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift''
Albert Einstein, physicist, 1879-1955

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

One in five UK mammals at risk of extinction

Level: upper-intermediate B2

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

A  number of mammal species have been put on the Red List in the United Kingdom.

Read this short BBC article about it and and then answer the following questions:

1) How many species have been put on the red list?
2) By how much has the hedgehog population declined over the past 20 years?
3) How many biological records were examined for the survey?
4) What are the three categories that are included in 'threatened'?
5) Which three species are 'critically endangered'?

And a bonus question:
Which marsupial is now found in Britain? (You will have to do some extra research for this one! Try the Mammal Society website)


Answers next week!

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Risk of water shortages for England warns Environment Agency

Level: advanced C1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

England is facing water supply shortages by 2050 unless rapid action is taken to curb water use and wastage, the Environment Agency has warned.

Read this BBC article about it and and then answer the following questions about numbers:

1) How much freshwater was taken from the environment in 2016?
2) How much water is wasted through leakage everyday?
3) How many people could that supply?
4) How many river water bodies did not achieve 'good ecological status or potential'?
5) What is the population of England expected to be in 2026?

And a bonus question:
When did the the Water Framework Directive come into force? (You will have to do some extra research for this one!)


Answers below!





1) 9,500 billion litres
2) 3 billion litres
3) 20 million
4) At least 6% and possibly up to 15%
5) 58.5 million

Bonus question: 22 December 2000

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Bialowieza Forest: Poland broke EU law by logging

Level: advanced C1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

Poland broke EU law by allowing large-scale logging in one of Europe's oldest forest - Bialowieza - the European Court of Justice has ruled.

Read this Guardian article about it and and then answer the following questions about numbers:

1) How many trees were cut down?
2) What is the minimum fine that Poland could pay?
3) And what could it rise to?
4) How much of the world's European bison (wisent) population lives in Bialowieza?
5) How many activists were arrested during anti-logging protests?

And a bonus question:
How big is Bialowieza Forest? (You will have to do some extra research for this one!)


Answers below!







Answers!


1) At least 10,000 but possibly 100,000
2) 4.3m
3) 100,000 a day
4) 25%
5) 300?

Bonus question:
3,085.8 km2 (1,191.4 square miles)

Friday, 2 February 2018

Strips of wildflowers across farm fields could cut pesticide spraying

Level: advanced C1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

Strips of wildflowers have been planted across England as part of a trial to boost the natural predators of pests that attack cereal crops.
Read this short article about it and then answer the following questions:

1) How many farms are involved?
2) How long is the trial period?
3) Where are wildflower strips usually planted?
4) How wide are the strips in the trial?
5) Where are similar trials also taking place?

And a bonus question:
what is the difference between strip and stripe?!



Answers below!



1) 15
2) five years
3) around fileds
4) 6m
5) in Switzerland

And the bonus question:
what is the difference between strip and stripe?!

There are many meanings for strip:
The one we are using here is:
'a long, narrow area of land.'

Stripe has fewer meanings
'A long, narrow band or strip differing in colour or texture from the surface either side of it.'

So, because the strips of wildflowers in this article are of different colour to th ecrops on eihter sied, you can also call them stripes!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

World population day in numbers

Level: intermediate B1

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July the 11th is World Population Day, when the United Nations tries to bring attention to the issues of population.
How much do you know about the world's population and what it will be in the future?

Watch this short video (one minute and twenty seconds) and then answer the following questions:

1) What is the current world population?
2) How many people are added to the world's population every year?
3) What will the population be in 2050?
4) What is the fertility rate in Africa?
5) What is the current population in China?



Answers below!







1) 7.6 billion
2) 83 million
3) 9.8 billion
4) 4.7
5) 1.4 billion

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Exhibition on Prague's role as an animal smuggling hub

Level: upper-intermediate B2

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A exhibition has opened at Prague airport featuring large photos of celebrities morphed with animals endangered by poaching and illegal trafficking.

Listen to this short radio interview (three minutes) about it and then answer the following questions:

1) When was Wild for Life launched?
2) Who is the main organiser?
3) Who is Thu Minh?
4) A lot of rhino horn goes through Prague; where does it come from and where does it go?
5) What can ordinary people do to take part in the campaign?



Answers below!




1) Last year
2) UNEP
3) A Vietnamese singer
4) South Africa to Vietnam
5) Visit the website, share your photo, tell your friends and family about the issue.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Washed up whale 'most contaminated' on record

Level: intermediate B1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

A dead killer whale (Orcinus orca) found on the Scottish coast had 20 times the expected levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in her system.

Watch this short (one-minute) BBC video about her and then answer the following questions:


1) What do high levels of PCBs do?
2) What were PCBs used for?
3) When were they banned?
4) What does 'leach' mean?
5) What is bioaccumulation?


You can read more about this story here.

Answers below!






1) They weaken an animals immune system, affect the brain and stop whales from reproducing.
2) Everything, from plastics to electrical goods and cement.?
3) From the 1970s
4) Leach: (with reference to a soluble chemical or mineral) drain away from soil, ash, or similar material by the action of percolating liquid, especially rainwater. (Oxford Dictionaries)
5) Bioaccumulate: (of a substance) become more concentrated inside the bodies of living things (Oxford Dictionaries)