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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 260 lessons on this blog. Look through the Blog archive, Post labels and Popular Posts to find what you want.

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''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

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Grammar lesson 22: Future tenses - Ecological disaster

Level: Intermediate / B1


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Time for another grammar lesson!
Back to one of our favourites - tenses!



Put the verbs in brackets into the correct future form:

Professor Robert Tawnley, Institute of Ecological Research:
‘‘I’m not too optimistic about the future. My main worry is the greenhouse effect.
The Earth is heating up and at current rates the sea level (1) will have risen (rise) by about 20 centimetres by the end of the 21st century.
It might not seem like much but it (2)                              (have) devastating effects.
Large parts of the Indian sub-continent (3)                                              (be) under water during the monsoon season – an area that already suffers from famine.
We have an observation centre in Antarctica and we (4)                                                             (watch) the ice-caps carefully over the next decade.
From what I have seen so far it’s clear that the ice (5)                                                                (continue) to melt at an accelerating rate in the future.
And the destruction of the rain forests doesn’t help. By 2035 over 95 % of the rainforest in South East Asia (6)                                                                 (lose)
I (7)                                               (fly) out to Brazil next month to chair a conference on this very subject and we (8)                                                                         (discuss) the loss of the natural habitat in the Amazon region.

If we want the Earth to survive we (9)                                         (do) something about it soon.’’

Answers below!




‘‘I’m not too optimistic about the future. My main worry is the greenhouse effect.
The Earth is heating up and at current rates the sea level (1) will have risen (rise) by about 20 centimetres by the end of the 21st century.
It might not seem like much but it (2)     will have          (have) devastating effects.
Large parts of the Indian sub-continent (3)         will be             (be) under water during the monsoon season – an area that already suffers from famine.
We have an observation centre in Antarctica and we (4)            will be watching          (watch) the ice-caps carefully over the next decade.
From what I have seen so far it’s clear that the ice (5)   will continue                (continue) to melt at an accelerating rate in the future.
And the destruction of the rain forests doesn’t help. By 2035 over 95 % of the rainforest in South East Asia (6)    will be lost / will have been lost                      (lose)
I (7)          am flying                     (fly) out to Brazil next month to chair a conference on this very subject and we (8)            will discuss / will be discussing          (discuss) the loss of the natural habitat in the Amazon region.
If we want the Earth to survive we (9)    (will) have to do          (do) something about it soon.’’

Climate change explained

Level: Intermediate / B1


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Many people are saying that 2020 is crucial for climate change action. Why is that?

Watch this excellent BBC video * (3 minutes) about it and answer the following questions:

1) What three extreme events are mentioned early in the video?
2) What are fossil fuels? (Three examples given in the video.)
3) How much higher is the Earth's temperature than it was in pre-industrial times?
4) How much Arctic sea ice has been lost since the late-seventies?
5) Where and when is the next climate conference?

Bonus question - which was the warmest year on record? (You will have to do a bit of extra research for this one!)

And if you want to practice your grammar with a climate change theme, please have a look at grammar lesson 22: Future tenses - ecological disaster

* apologies for the link not working properly on the original post

Answers below!



1) Fires in Australia, floods in Indonesia, and record temperatures in Europe.
2) Coal, oil, gas.
3) 1.1 degrees
4) Half (of the volume)
5) Glasgow, 9-19 November 2020.

Bonus question: 2016 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrumental_temperature_record#Warmest_years)

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Travel by train, not plane!

Level: Intermediate / B1


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Many people have made a new year's resolution to fly less so they can reduce their carbon footprint.
But how do other forms of transport effect the environment?

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

1) How much does the aviation industry contribute to global carbon emissions?
2) Which form of transport emits forty-one grams of CO2 per kilometre travelled?
3) Germany has announced it will cut rail fares by how much?
4) When does Austria aim to be carbon-neutral?
5) How long did it take Elias Bohun to travel to Vietnam?

Bonus question - how many people fly every year? (You will have to do a bit of extra research for this one!)

Answers below!



1) About 2% of the total
2) Domestic rail
3) 10%
4) 2040
5) 16 days

Bonus question
The IATA said that in 2017 the number of air passengers exceeded four billion for the first time. Recently monthly figures show a rise of over 3% compared to the same month last year.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Could Victoria Falls dry up?

Level: Intermediate / B1


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The Victoria Falls is the biggest waterfall in the world. But it is under threat from drought and climate change.
Watch this short video (4 minutes) about it and answer the following questions, which focus on numbers.

1) How high is the Falls?
2) How wide are the Falls?
3) According to Mr Moyo, how much water passes through the Falls on average?
4) How much was it this year (2019)?
5) How many of its electricity does Zimbabwe get from Kariba hydro power station?

Bonus question - when was Victoria Falls/Mosi-oa-Tunya designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site? (You will have to do a bit of extra research for this one!)

Answers below!


1) More than 100m (108m)
2) More than 1km (1.7km)
3) 2,000 cubic metres per second
4) 1,200 cubic metres per second
5) 60%

Bonus question - 1989

Thursday, 24 October 2019

From the Olympics to a climate change activist

Level: Intermediate / B1


Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.
The Balkans is one of the last parts of Europe with free-flowing rivers. But they are under threat from dams.
Watch this short video (3 minutes) about it and answer the following questions, which focus on numbers.

1) How far did Rok Rozman kayak?
2) How many of the world's rivers remain free-flowing?
3) How long has Rok been working to set up the river movement?
4) How many dams has Balkan River Defence helped to stop?
5) How many hydropower projects have been proposed for the rivers in the region?

Bonus question - what is the highest mountain in the Balkans? How high is it? (you will have to do a bit of extra research for this one!)

Answers below!





1) 390 km (three hundred and ninety kilometres)
2) A third (or 'one-third')
3) Four years
4) More than seven
5) 3000 (three thousand)

Bonus question: Rila 2925 m (two thousand nine hundred and twenty five metres)

Friday, 20 September 2019

Germany's climate change deal

Level: Intermediate / B1


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On the day of global climate strike, Germany has agreed to set a price on carbon emissions.
Read this article about it and answer the following questions, which focus on numbers.

1) How much does the new climate deal cost? (In pounds please!)
2) What is the 2030 climate target?
3) How many protesters were estimated in Berlin?
4) What is the current cost of carbon under the EU scheme?
5) How long was the 'climate cabinet' in talks for?

Bonus question - what is the population density in Germany? (you will have to do a bit of extra research for this one!)

Answers below!


1) £48bn (''forty-eight billion pounds'')
2) Cutting green house gases by 55% (''fifty-five per cent'') on 1990 (''nineteen-ninety'') levels
3) 270,000 (''two hundred and seventy thousand'')
4)  26.30 (''twenty-six Euros and thirty cents'') per tonne of CO2
5) 19 (''nineteen'') hours

Bonus question:
232/km(two hundred and thirty-two per kilometre squared / square kilometre)

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Good and well: grammar lesson 21

Level: Intermediate / B1


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Time for another grammar lesson!
Last week we looked at Do and Make; today we look at a similar common problem for learners of English...


Good and well


Good is an adjective. Well is an adverb:

               Your English is good.             ×         You speak English well.
               He is a good football player.              ×         He plays football well.

BUT!!
Well is an adjective when used to describe health:

               ‘How are you?‘ ‘I am well thanks.‘
               ‘I don’t feel well.’


Practice: Complete the sentences with good or well:

1.  Our new equipment is running      well      .
2.  She’s quite                                      at languages.
3.  Did you have a                                            meal?
4.  My assistant didn’t work very                                            today.
5.  I’m not a                             cook, but my wife cooks                                 .
6.  Your exam results were very                                              .
7.  You did very                                               in your exams.
8.  How are you? Are you                                            ?
9.  She speaks English very                                         .
10. Her English is very                                                .





Answers below!



1.  Our new equipment is running      well      .
2.  She’s quite good                at languages.
3.  Did you have a                   good                meal?
4.  My assistant didn’t work very       well                  today.
5.  I’m not a                good    cook, but my wife cooks        well      .
6.  Your exam results were very         good    .
7.  You did very          well                  in your exams.
8.  How are you? Are you                   well                  ?
9.  She speaks English very                well                  .
10. Her English is very           good                .