The Earth is the only planet in the solar system where there is life. If you look down at the Earth from a plane you will see how wonderful our planet is. You will see blue seas and oceans, rivers and lakes, high snow-capped mountains, green forests and fields. For centuries the man had lived in harmony with nature until industrialization brought human society into conflict with the natural environment. Today, the contradictions between man and nature have acquired a dramatic character. With the development of civilization man’s interference in nature has increased. Every year the world’s industry pollutes the atmosphere with millions of tons of dust and other harmful substances. People who live in big cities are badly affected by harmful discharge from plants and city transport and by the increasing noise level which is as bad for human health as lack of fresh air and clean water.
People say that our planet is in danger. Do you share this opinion?
I’d say that “our planet is in danger” is not the opinion, it’s a fact. Among the most urgent problems are the ozone layer, acid rains, global warming, toxic pollution of atmosphere, disappearance of forests, contamination of underground waters by chemical elements, destruction of soil in some areas, threat to some flora and fauna representatives, etc.
One of the most important pollution problems is the oceans. Many ships sail in the ocean water- fishing ships, some ships carrying people, some carrying oil. If a ship loses some of the oil in the water, or waste the water becomes dirty. Many sea birds die because of the polluted water. Many fish are dying in the sea, others are getting contaminated. Fishermen catch contaminated fish which may be sold in markets, and people may get sick from eating them. Lakes and rivers are becoming polluted, too. Some beaches are dangerous for swimming.
Another important problem is air pollution. Cars and factories pollute the air we use. Their car exhaust fumes also destroy the ozone layer which protects the Earth from the dangerous light of the Sun. Aerosols create large “holes” in the ozone layer round the Earth.
A sore subject is that our forests are dying from acid rains. Deforestation, especially destruction of tropical forests, affects the balance of nature in many ways. It kills animals, changes the climate and ecosystem in the world. People’s activity is crowding animals out of their natural habitat.
There are a lot of places on our planet that need immediate help. Our country is not exception. The nuclear accident atChernobyl, which took place on April 26, 1986., has seriously aggravated the ecological situation inBelarus. That catastrophe can be considered as the largest disaster of the 20th century. As the result of that accident 18% of territories of our republic were contaminated by radioactive elements. The agriculture of our country suffered great losses. More than 20% of the population has also suffered. A death rate among children has increased considerably. The wide researches are carried out, but health state of the people living in polluted areas, is worsened. The level of thyroid gland cancer has increased, the immunity of children and women is weakened, many diseases appear out only a few years later. Everyone understands that this catastrophe is a threat to health of our nation, and though years have already passed, the results will be shown on the future generations.
I’d like to say a few words about animals in danger of extinction. The blue whale is the largest animal which has ever lived. Once there were over 200000 of these creatures living in theAtlanticand Pacific oceans. Since the seventeenth century they have been hunted for their oil and meat. In fact, so many of them were killed that by 1963 their population had been reduced to just 1000. Today it is even less than that. The African elephant is the world’s largest land animal. Today there are fewer than one million of these animals left. Even though they are now protected, they are still being hunted because of their tusks, which are used to make ornaments and jewellery.
2. What do you think people should do to protect the environment?
I believe that environment disasters can be avoided if people broaden ecological education and every person understands that the beauty of nature is extremely fragile and people must obey the unwritten laws of nature. Governments must be prepared to take action against pollution. Air pollution could be reduced if plants and factories were made to fit effective filters on chimneys and car exhausts. Green zones around big cities must be protected and extended. Natural resources should be used economically because their stocks are not unlimited.
The problem of “holes” in the ozone layer round the Earth could be solved by individual action: stop using ozone-depleting chemicals. However, global action was taken to control the problem. The international convention to stop the production of many ozone-depleting chemicals is one of the best examples.
One more problem, greenhouse warming, can also be solved by individual action – reducing energy use. We could do this by turning off lights, turning down heaters and air conditioners, building more energy efficient buildings, shutting doors. These are all simple actions which everyone must do if we are concerned about our planet, yet not many do so. New technology may help, but lifestyle change can have much more immediate affect.
There is only one way to save wild animals and wild habitats – conservation. That means protecting endangered animals by law, opening more national parks, building fewer new roads, planting more new forests, cutting pollution. If this doesn’t happen, many wild animals will soon have just one habitat- the Zoo.
- Everyone should become an ecologically conscious person.
- We should broaden the system of ecological education
- We should be economical with natural recourses (water, gas, oil)
- We should buy and use only ecologically safe products (never use sprays)
- It is advisable to take part in the activities of different ecological organization sand volunteer work: planting trees, picketing …)
- New purifying systems should be fit
- We should be ecologically responsible people: stop littering to prevent air, land and water from being polluted
- We should never do harm to wildlife: stop hunting and killing wild animals
3. What would you like to ask your British friend about measures that are taken to protect the environment in Britain?
- Are there any environmental organizations in Britain?
- Does your school take part in any programmes to protect the environment?
- What measures are taken by your local authority to protect the environment?
4. A friend of yours wants to develop a programme to protect the city where he lives. Give him a piece of advice.
First of all I would recommend him to consult ecologists about the types of local problems. Then it would be easy to plan some activities. Sometimes financial support is necessary. That’s why looking for some sponsors may also be necessary. But the most important thing is great wish of people who take part in such programmes.
5. Ecological problems have no borders. Can you explain this statement?
Ecological problems have no borders because we live on one and the same planet. All people understand it.
European states solve ecological problems together: the necessary measures are taken, congresses and conferences on these questions are organized, and these questions have already the reflection in the legislation of many countries.
The activity of many public organizations is directed to protect environment. One of the best known organizations is “Greenpeace”, whose purpose is to protect and conserve the environment. This organization was founded in 1971 by the activists from theUSAandCanadaand it has representations in 25 countries of the world. “Greenpeace” acts against nuclear tests, radiating threat, pollution of the environment by waste industrial products, to protect the animal world, etc. This organization influences public opinion through mass media and protest actions.
For example, the “Greenpeace” sent its boats to protect whales, and today commercial whaling is banned. In the North Sea Greenpeace swimmers turned back dump ships carrying chemical waste, and a new laws to protect theNorth Seahave been considered.
If we don’t realize that we are all responsible for what’s happening around us we will never feel secure about the future of the world we live in.
What can you advise a student who is not very good at languages to do to achieve better results?
Nowadays it’s almost impossible to imagine any profession without global communication. You need a foreign language so as to contact your colleagues from different countries, to read about advanced ideas in your professional branch or to visit a conference. Your employer will prefer to have a person who is potentially able to manage all these things. So, if a person has got a strong motivation, it’ll be easy for him/ her to make progress in English. First of all it’s necessary to learn English after classes. For example to watch English films, listen to different educational programs, songs, read in English. The Internet can offer you a great variety of activities connected with learning languages.
Do you agree that Belarusian secondary school provides a person with good knowledge? Why (not)?
Generally speaking, I should say that children have got opportunities to get good knowledge. The programmes of Belarusian secondary school comprise all the subjects necessary for basic knowledge so as to have a chance to choose any profession. Students may be involved in different educational activities which provide not only theoretical base but also practical skills: such as making different projects and presentations, research work, making speeches. The aim of our secondary education is also to learn social skills, to develop critical thinking, to develop understanding of other people, to prepare for life in the workplace and many others.
Thus, those people who has got determination, persistence, self motivation will succeed in their future life.
Which school club would you advise your classmates to join?
Our school has a wide range of out-of-class activities. There is a number of school clubs and societies to meet the interests of each pupil. They offer opportunities to develop different talents and skills and test them in different school events.
For example if you are fond of music and singing you may join our “Singing club”. If you enjoy doing puzzles and brain teasers, or play board and maths games you may visit the club of “Brain teasers”. If you are keen on sports you’ll have a lot of opportunities to choose any kind of sport club in our school.
For those people who are fond of English and have got some artistic talent may join our “Theatre club”.
You see, “Where is a will there is a way.”
Let’s talk about studying at school
Everyone remembers his or her school and the first school day. It’s an unforgettable event. When I think of my school some pictures come to my memory: I’m on my way to school, flowers in hand, my parents accompany me, saying some kind words and encouraging me, many children with bags and flowers.
Happiness, sadness and other emotions, or even love sick, we all can find in our school time. That’s why school life is the best time in human life. During this time, we will develop many things like physical development, emotions, relationships, and especially knowledge. Various subjects are studied at school. So we have a great variety of things to choose for our future interest in our professional life.
My school is an ordinary building in a residential area. It’s a 3-storeyed building with a swimming pool and a spacious gym. Of course there is a lot to be improved. For example our canteen could be more pleasant in its design. Also I’d like to have a bigger library with a reading hall. But in spite of all I love my Gymnasium and I’m proud of it.
Most of our classrooms are quite good, light and spacious. When you enter this or that classroom you understand what subject is taught here as you see special devices or equipment in every room.
At school we work at many things like physical development, emotions, relationships, and which is the most important we get knowledge. Various subjects are studied at our gymnasium: History, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, English, Belarusian, Russian, Literature, Geography, Astronomy, Drawing and Singing. So we have a great variety of things to choose for our future interest in our professional life. As for me I’m fond of … I work hard so as to gain appropriate knowledge and to pass my future exams successfully.
School provides children not only with knowledge. It’s also a place where children spend their free time. There are many amateur groups or circles and sport sections in my school. Special teachers help children to develop their creative abilities either in sport sections, a school choir or theatre, or to improve English after classes. Ecology and tourism are also very popular today. So, schoolchildren can also be engaged in these activities.
Going to school also means you will have a lot of friends. There is nothing better than belonging to a great group of friends and nothing worse than feeling like an outcast. Friends are important. They are shoulders for you to cry on when you are sad or happy so your sadness will be less, and your happiness will be twice.
Talking about school time, you can never forget the time you share your sweet dreams to your friends, and they tell you theirs; the time you have fun with them playing on the school yard or going shopping or even playing truant together! … No matter how good or bad those memories are, school time is still unforgettable with sweet friendship and platonic love. Going to school also means you will have new family, new moms who teach you many things about life.
When I’m talking about school I mean all those things that influenced my views, broadened my outlook and shaped my character. I’m sure that school plays an important role in everyone’s life. School doesn’t only provide us with knowledge in Science and Humanities, it is also a place where we develop our talents and skills, make friends and learn to appreciate honesty and sincerity, patience and tolerance.
School is our second home. No one can ever forget it.
Do you agree that our school gives a person a good start in life? Why (not)?
Education plays a very important role in our life. It is one of the most valuable possessions a man can get in his life. We get our knowledge of this world and life through education. Many famous discoveries would have been impossible if people were not interested in learning something. Education develops different sides of human personality, reveals his abilities. Besides, it helps a person to understand himself, to choose the right way in this world. During all the periods of human history education ranked high among people. Human progress mostly depended upon well-educated people.
The aim of our secondary education is to learn social skills, to develop critical thinking, to develop understanding of other people, to prepare for life in the workplace and many others.
Thus, those people who has got determination, persistence, self motivation will succeed in their future life.
Nowadays some young people complain that they have lots of problems at school. Do you agree with them?
There are always people who complain about something. The same thing happens at school. Personally, I don’t like these wet blankets. They may not like teachers or subjects or timetables or what not. They are always complaining about their huge home tasks or something else. There may be two reasons for such behavior: either they are lazy or depressed. To tell you the truth, this group is not a numerous one. I try to avoid such people.
Today some young people want to study abroad because they believe that the level of education is higher there. Would you do the same?
Yes it’s true about some people. But they want to go abroad not because the level of education is better there. They go there because in future they will have more opportunities. The level of living conditions is much better in some other countries. Besides they will improve their knowledge of foreign languages. Also there are people who are looking for adventures and want to be independent from their parents. Going abroad is the best opportunity to enjoy both.