intro

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

Monday, 29 April 2013

EU to ban pesticides that might harm bees. Reading and listening lesson

Level: Advanced / C1

Please use the 'Print Friendly' button if you want to print this lesson.

The European Commission will limit the use of pesticides which are linked to bee deaths.

A:
Read this article about the problem and them answer the following questions:
1) How many countries voted for the ban?
2) When does the EU want the ban (moratorium) to begin?
3) What percentage of the world's crops are pollinated by bees?
4) Which countries already have restrictions on the main chemical (neonicotinoids)
5) Who is against the ban?


B:
Now watch this short video (three minutes) and answer these questions:
1) Pete Douglas has seen his colonies ''decline                                     '' (00:05 in the video)
2) Emma Hockridge says that neonicotinoids have a big impact ''on                                                        and                                               '' (00:43)
3) According to Mike Brown, the other factors affecting bees are ''                                          ,                        and                                    '' (01:01)
4) They have studied bumble bees and found ''no                                             '' (01:20)
5) Chris Hartfield says that neonicotinoids are a useful group of pesticides for ''                        and                      ''



Answers below!






ANSWERS!


A:
1) 15
2) No later than December 1st this year
3) Around one-third
4) France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia
5) Chemical companies and pesticide manufacturers


B:
1) Pete Douglas has seen his colonies ''decline  drastically  '' (00:05 in the video)
2) Emma Hockridge says that neonicotinoids have a big impact ''on  honey   bees  and  wild   pollenators  '' (00:43)
3) According to Mike Brown, the other factors affecting bees are '' weather conditions  ,  pests and diseases  and  colony management  '' (01:01)
4) They have studied bumble bees and found ''no  adverse    effects'' (01:20)
5) Chris Hartfield says that neonicotinoids are a useful group of pesticides for '' farmers  and  growers  ''

Friday, 26 April 2013

Bison released into the wild in Germany

Level: Intermediate / B1

Please use the 'Print Friendly' icon if you want to print this exercise.

Here is a short article from Wildlife Extra about Bison being released into the wild in Germany.

Read the article and then answer the following questions:

1) What is the European Bison also known as?
2) How many Bison were released?
3) In which German state is Bad Berleburg?
4) How big is the heard expected to get?
5) How big was their old enclosure?

Answers below!





ANSWERS!


1) Wisent
2) Eight
3) North Rhine-Westphalia
4) About 25 animals
5) 88 ha (hectares)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Penguin Day quiz

Here is something fun to celebrate World Penguin Day!
The Pew Charitable Trusts have made a Penguin quiz to find your penguin personality (click on the green 'start quiz' button below the big picture).
So, have a go at the quiz and see what type of penguin you are (I am a Chinstrap Penguin!).

Friday, 19 April 2013

Future tenses: using will - grammar lesson 10

Level: pre-intermediate / A2

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Future: will questions
A reporter is asking an engineer about the world’s largest new offshore wind farm near the coast of Ireland. Use the words in brackets to write the questions (the first one is done for you).


REPORTER:  Where will the wind farm be                                                                 ?
                             (be / the wind farm / where / will)
ENGINEER:  It will be ten kilometres out at sea, south of Dublin.
REPORTER:                                                                                                                 ?
                             (will / to operate / the wind farm / when / start)
ENGINEER:  The first stage will start to produce power in four years.
REPORTER:                                                                                                                 ?
                             (will / they construct / how many / wind turbines)
ENGINEER:  There are plans to construct 200.
REPORTER:                                                                                                                 ?
                             (be / the wind turbines / will / how big)
ENGINEER:  Each rotor will be 104 metres long!.
REPORTER:                                                                                                                 ?
                             (be / the wind farm / to build / will / very expensive)
ENGINEER:  Yes, it will cost about £630 million.
REPORTER:                                                                                                                 ?
                             (electricity / it produce / how much / will)
ENGINEER:  Up to 520 megawatts – 10% of Ireland’s power.
REPORTER:                                                                                                                 ?
                             (there be / more offshore wind farms / will)
ENGINEER:  Yes, there will be many more in the future.

Adapted from New Headway Pre-intermediate OUP


Answers below!





ANSWERS!


REPORTER:  Where will the wind farm be?
                             (be / the wind farm / where / will)
ENGINEER:  It will be ten kilometres out at sea, south of Dublin.
REPORTER:  When will the wind farm start to operate?
                             (will / to operate / the wind farm / when / start)
ENGINEER:  The first stage will start to produce power in four years.
REPORTER:  How many wind turbines will they construct?
                             (will / they construct / how many / wind turbines)
ENGINEER:  There are plans to construct 200.
REPORTER:  How big will the wind turbines be?
                             (be / the wind turbines / will / how big)
ENGINEER:  Each rotor will be 104 metres long!.
REPORTER:  Will the wind farm be very expensive to build?
                             (be / the wind farm / to build / will / very expensive)
ENGINEER:  Yes, it will cost about £630 million.
REPORTER:  How much electricity will it produce?
                             (electricity / it produce / how much / will)
ENGINEER:  Up to 520 megawatts – 10% of Ireland’s power.
REPORTER:  Will there be more offshore wind farms?
                             (there be / more offshore wind farms / will)
ENGINEER:  Yes, there will be many more in the future.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Antarctica: Engine of ocean life. Video lesson 16

Level: Intermediate / B1

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Here is a short (four minute) film about Antarctica.

Watch the film and then answer the following questions:

1) Have humans ever lived in Antarctica? (video 00:17)
2) How does Dr Emily Shuckburgh describe Antarctica?
     ''It is                                               and                                              '' (00:57)
3) Does wildlife in Antarctica rely on the land or the sea for its food? (01:35)
4) Which three oceans connect around Antarctica? (02:39)
5) What does Dr M Sanjayan describe as (a) the largest mammal on the planet and (b) one of the most populous mammals on the planet (03:24)

Answers below!





ANSWERS!


1) No
2) ''It is  remote  and  inhospitable ''
3) The sea
4) The Atlantic, Pacific and Indian
5) (a) whales (b) humans

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Lead bullet fragments poison rare US condors

Level: Advanced / C1

Please use the 'Print Friendly' icon if you are going to print this lesson.


Check this vocabulary before reading the article. Match the word on the left with the definition on the right:

1. fragment                              A. a red-brown metal (Symbol: Cu)

2. lead                                        B. the dead body of an animal:

3. carcass                                  C. the decaying flesh of dead animals

4. scavenger                            D. a soft, heavy, ductile bluish-grey metal (Symbol: Pb)

5. carrion                                  E. an animal that feeds on carrion, dead plant material, or refuse

6. copper                                   F. a small part broken off or separated from something

Definition from OxfordDictionaries.com



Now read the article about a threat to rare Californian Condors and then answer the following questions:

1) How many condors have died in the Grand Canyon area since December?
2) How many birds have been reintroduced in Arizona and Utah?
3) How many of them have died from eating lead fragments?
4) What does the Arizona Game and Fishing Department give away free?
5) Who does Sandy Bahr work for?

Answers below!





ANSWERS!

1. F
2. D
3. B
4. E
5. C
6. A


1) 7
2) 166
3) At least 38
4) Copper ammunition
5) The Sierra Club



Wednesday, 10 April 2013

European Commissioner for the Environment - video lesson 15

Level: Intermediate / B1

Please use the 'Print Friendly' icon if you want to print this exercise.

Here is a short video (just under four minutes) about the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik.

Watch the video and answer the questions below.

A. In the video there is some text with numbers:
1) What percentage of Europeans believe that protecting the environment is important? (Video 00:06)
2) What percentage of birds are threatened? (00:37)
3) And amphibians? (00:57)
4) Fresh water fish? (02:01)

B. Complete the two quotes from Janez Potočnik:
5) ''Our future will be about                                     and                                   .'' (02:58)
6) ''It is pretty obvious that we should stop                               and start                                 .'' (03:19)

Answers below!



Answers!


1) 90%
2) 43%
3) 22%
4) 38%

5) ''Our future will be about  water  and  clean air  .'' (02:58)
6) ''It is pretty obvious that we should stop  talking  and start  acting  .''

Sebastião Salgado Genesis exhibition - video lesson 14

Level: Upper intermediate / B2


The famous photographer Sebastiao Selgado has a new exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London.
Watch the great video (three minutes long) and read the text (What's in the exhibition) on the Natural History Museum webpage, then answer the questions below.

A. From the video:
1) The iceberg looks to him like what? (Video 00:47)
2) What huge animal did he photograph on Galapagos? (01:19)
3) How did Salgado build his reputation? (01:49)
4) What did he want to show with his photos? (02:12)
5) Which group of people did he work with in Siberia? ( 02:25)

B. From the text:
6) How many years did it take Salgado to take his photos?
7) How many countries did Salgado visit?
8) How many photos are in the exhibition?
9) How many themes are in the exhibition design?
10) When did Salgado get his first camera?

There is also a BBC article about the exhibition, showing some of the photos.

Answers below!

For more about Salgado, over 150 of his works, as well as up-to-date Salgado exhibition listings, visit Artsy's Sebastio Selgado page.




Answers!


1) A Scottish castle
2) Tortoise
3) Photographing people
4) ''The planet in total equilibrium: us in equilibrium with our nature''
5) The Nenets

6) 8
7) 32
8) 216
9) 5
10) 1970

Prepositions in linking phrases - grammar lesson 9

Level: Intermediate / B1

We can use some prepositional phrases to:

        ~        give extra information or examples to support what we are saying:
for example                 in particular                in fact             

~        give a summary or a conclusion about what we have said:
in other words             in brief/short                in conclusion

~        explain or give reasons for things:
due to              thanks to          because of                  

Some prepositional phrases are connected to time:
at night                        in the morning/afternoon/evening                   in a hurry/rush
in time (= not late)      on time (= at the agreed time)                         in the meantime

Lost in the forest
Tom and Ann are on a walking holiday. Complete their conversation using the following prepositional phrases:
in a hurry        in other words             in the meantime           because of
at night            for example                 thanks to                      in fact

Tom:    I’m sorry Ann, I really don’t know where we are!
Ann:     So, in other words, we’re lost!
Tom:    Yes.                                     , I don’t think we are going to find the campsite before it gets dark.
Ann:     But there might be wild animals out here,                                      bears and wolves – I don’t want to be out in the forest                                    .
Tom:    Neither do I, so we’ll keep walking for now. But                                             , we should look for a good place to put up the tent, just in case.
Ann:     Erm, the tent?!
Tom:    Don’t tell me you forgot to bring the tent! So,                                            you, we have nowhere to sleep tonight!
Ann:     Well, I forgot it because you were                                             to leave this morning.
Tom:    Okay, don’t worry. We shouldn’t argue                                    this. We’ll survive!

Adapted from: Oxford Living Grammar. Intermediate, 2009.

Answers below!





ANSWERS!

Tom:    I’m sorry Ann, I really don’t know where we are!
Ann:     So, in other words, we’re lost!
Tom:    Yes.   in fact  , I don’t think we are going to find the campsite before it gets dark.
Ann:     But there might be wild animals out here,   for example  bears and wolves – I don’t want to be out in the forest  at night .
Tom:    Neither do I, so we’ll keep walking for now. But  in the meantime  , we should look for a good place to put up the tent, just in case.
Ann:     Erm, the tent?!
Tom:    Don’t tell me you forgot to bring the tent! So,  thanks to   you, we have nowhere to sleep tonight!
Ann:     Well, I forgot it because you were  in a hurry  to leave this morning.
Tom:    Okay, don’t worry. We shouldn’t argue  because of this. We’ll survive!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Nepal's rhino hunters become the hunted

Level: Advanced / C1


Here is an article and video (three minutes long) about trying to stop poaching of rhinos in Chitwan National Park in Nepal.

Read the article and then answer the following questions:
1) Which wild animals have been killed by poachers in Nepal?
2) What is the One-horned Rhinoceros also known as?
3) What is the IUCN?
4) According to the last census, how many rhinos are there?
5) How many poachers have been convicted in the last few years?

Watch the video and answer these questions:
1) Which species of animal can be found in Chitwan National Park (00:05 in the video)
2) How big is Chitwan National Park? (00:51)
3) How much can a single rhino horn sell for? (01:58)


Answers below!





ANSWERS!


1) Tigers, rhinos, elephant and leopards
2) Great Indian Rhinoceros
3) International Union for Conservation of Nature
4) More than 500
5) Around 150

Watch the video and answer these questions:
1) Royal Bengal Tiger, One-horned Rhinoceros, wild elephants
2) More than 900 km2
3) $40,000

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Using tree food to fight malnutrition

Level: Advanced / C1


Here is an interesting article from the BBC about using tree products to fight malnutrition in Africa.
Read the article and then answer the following questions:
1) Where is Malcolm Riley originally from?
2) Where is the Sahel?
3) Moringa is rich in which vitamins?
4) How long can a Baobab survive without water?
5) Why is Moringa a great thickening agent?


Answers below!




Answers!


1) Zambia
2) Africa, south of the Sahara
3) A, B and C
4) Ten years
5) Because of its high pectin content