Learn English | A new lesson every week
Book your course now

In the news: talking about the environment

Average: 3.8 (25 votes)

'Think globally, act locally.'

How 'green' are you? Are you interested in the environment are you worried about it?

There is no escape from it: pick up a newspaper or switch on the news and you will see countless stories about the environment.

The natural environment (noun) refers to anything that naturally occurs on earth. The air, water and land on which people, animals and plants live all make up the natural environment.
Here we take a look at some of the vocabulary you need to know to be able to follow news stories and talk about the environment.

First let's check out some words that have 'environment' as a root:

environmental - (adjective) relating to the environment:
'Environmental issues are always on the news.'

environmentally friendly - (adjective) something which does not harm the environment:
'Car makers are trying to make them more environmentally-friendly.'

environmentalist (noun) - a person who is interested in the environment and who tries to protect it.
'My sister is a big environmentalist. She works for Greenpeace.'

useful words

conserve (verb) - to keep and protect something from damage, change or waste:
'Try to conserve water - use as little of it as possible.'
'To conserve electricity you should turn off the light when you leave a room.'

damage (verb/noun) - to harm something:
'The smoke from factories is damaging the environment.'
'We are unable to fix the damage that has already been done to the earth.'

deforestation (noun) - the cutting down of trees over a large area of forest.
deforest (verb)
'Deforestation is making the rain forests smaller and smaller.'

ecology (noun) - used to describe the environment of a particular area.
'The ecology of this sea is being harmed by too much fishing.'

emission (noun) - when gas, heat, light, etc. is sent out.
emit (verb)
'Our government needs to try and lower the amount of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.'

endangered (adjective) - in danger. Someone or something is in danger of becoming extinct - disappearing forever.
'There are only 500 Siberian tigers in the world. They are an endangered species.'

extinct (adjective) - no longer living.
extinction (noun)
'The dinosaurs became extinct millions of years ago.'
'Many wild animals are facing extinction.'

global warming (noun) - the temperature of the earth increasing because of the levels of CO2 in the air.
'I think that humans are responsible for global warming.'

litter (verb/noun) - to throw garbage in the street/ garbage on the streets.
'Please do not litter. Put your garbage in the garbage bin.'
'School children often volunteer to help pick up litter in my neighbourhood.'

pollute (verb) - to make the air, water or land dirty/unclean.
pollution (noun)
'Air pollution in my city is a big problem. Sometimes it is difficult to breathe.'
'Big businesses who pollute the environment should be fined.'

protect (verb) - to keep someone or something safe.
protection (noun)
'We will do all we can to protect these rare flowers from being destroyed.'

scare-mongering (noun) - trying to scare people with false information, lies or rumours.
scaremonger (person) - a person who spreads false information to scare people.
'I believe that environmental groups are scaremongering. I don't think things are as bad as they say.'

recycle (verb) - to reuse or make something available for reuse.
recycling (noun)
'I take my old newspapers to be recycled.'

key words in context

Unless you think that the bad news about the environment is scare-mongering, you should do what you can to protect the environment. To reduce CO2 emissions it is better to use public transport than to drive because cars pollute the air and are responsible, in part, for global warming.
Deforestation is damaging forests and bringing many endangered species of animals to the brink of extinction; therefore, it is a good idea to recycle paper and to buy books which have been printed on recycled paper - they are a lot more environmentally-friendly.
'Think globally, act locally' is a good philosophy. For you, it means there are many things that you can do to protect your local ecology. Never litter the streets, recycle whenever possible and conserve electricity and water.'

  • Try to ___ water by taking showers instead of baths.

  • Make sure that you ___ plastic bottles.

  • Gorillas are an ___ species.

  • If ___ continues there might not be any rain forests left in the near future.

  • Cars cause harmful ___ into the atmosphere.

  • When tigers become ___ , we will only be able to see them in books.

  • I saw a young boy throwing a plastic bottle on the floor in my street. I hate ___!

  • This river is too ___ to swim in.

  • How do you feel about ___ issues?

  • I do all I can to ___ the wildlife in my area.