I: I have with me in the studio Karen Baker, a leading conservationist. Karen, can we really make a difference as individuals to improve the environment and save resources?
K: Oh yes, quite a lot actually. If lots of individuals work together they can often achieve a lot.
I: Could you give us some idea of what these actions might be?
K: Certainly. We’re all shoppers, aren’t we? Well, as shoppers we have tremendous power to influence manufacturers. An immediate action could be to buy goods that keep packaging to a minimum. Or if a shop assistant offers you a plastic bag you don’t need, simply refuse it …… politely of course.
I: Yes, yes, I see your point.
K: Also as consumers, we can refuse to buy products made from animals threatened with extinction, ivory products or fur coats, for example.
I: Yes, I suppose as customers we have a lot of power, don’t we? We have so many things in our homes, perfectly good things, that we don’t use any more. Couldn’t we make more use of these things instead of making even more waste?
K: Oh yes! That’s a really important point. I personally never throw anything away. Especially things that other people might be able to use. You must have friends or relations that could do with some of these things … Remember, don’t throw away your rubbish – recycle it!
I:Good idea. What about pollution? Is there anything we as individuals can do to clean up the environment? The problems of pollution are often so big that it’s easy to feel helpless, isn’t it?
K: I know. We often hear of terrible disasters on TV that require massive clean-up operations, but there are many smaller-scale problems that we can tackle. Get together with a few friends and make a study of pollution in your area. You could help to clear the rubbish from a local stream or river or even tidy up an area of wasteland. People can also join a campaign group, either a local or a national one, and get involved in action to improve your neighbourhood and to try and change people’s attitudes.
I: Now, I know you’re presently involved in a campaign to encourage people to save energy.
K: Well, the car is here to stay and it would be foolish to ask people not to use them, but we could all try to avoid unnecessary car journeys. Go by bike or public transport sometimes or if you work in the same area as your neighbour, try car-sharing. And in the home, don’t leave lights and other electrical equipment on. An enormous amount of energy is wasted this way.
I: Well, I’m afraid we’ve run out of time for now, but thanks for coming in to the studio. I’ll certainly try putting some of your ideas into practice.
► Now answer the questions.
1. What ideas do you agree with?
2. Do you have any personal opinion?
3. Which ideas you are not sure about?
2.23. Read the following statements of people about the places where they live. Say whether you think they are happy with their local environment, dissatisfied or concerned about it. Give reasons for your answers.
1. “This is a lovely place to live but if they build the new road through here, things will change. Instead of being able to hear birdsong we’ll just get the roar of heavy traffic.”
2. “It would be so nice to have a few trees around us rather than concrete and rubbish everywhere you look.”
3. “There’s a great view over the valley from the hill just up the road where I take the dog in the mornings.”
4. “This is a dirty old industrial area but we’ve got some nice parks and there are some pleasant walks down by the canal.”
2.24. Anything you do to your environment will have an effect back on you. Do you agree with this statement?
► Which of the following issues are taken seriously in our country?
● energy saving at home ● buying “green” products
● environmentally friendly transport ● anti-pollution campaigns
● recycling of waste material ● organic gardening and farming
● anti-litter campaigns ● clean park campaigns
► Have you ever noticed how you effect your own environment?
● Where is your food from?
● What happens to your rubbish?
● Do recycling facilities exist where you live?
● Have you ever planted trees?
● What animals and plants live around you?
● Which of the ecological problems you consider to be the most important?
2.25. Work in a group to discuss the following problems. Give your own examples. Suggest your solution.
1. The use of natural resources should be carefully monitored.
2. There are few laws that protect nature.
3. Man cuts down more trees to provide paper, wood, medicine, etc.
4. Factories are very dangerous for people, wildlife and the environment.