ECOLOGY Materials from the Conference on Ecology held by group 202 of the Faculty of Foreign Languages Yekaterinburg USPU, 2006 Aim of the project: - To create a source of information on topic “Ecology” for teachers of English and students. Tasks of the project: - To characterize the ecological situation in general; - To describe the most urgent and vital ecological problems; - To find out the ways of protection of our environment. Project Portfolio • Subject: ecological situation in the world, types of pollution and other ecological problems, environmental protection; • Language level: advanced; • Participants: students of group 202 of the Faculty of Foreign Languages; • Age: 17-19; • Number of participants: 13; • Way of work: in- and outclass work; • Time of project work: 4 weeks. Informational and Technical Sources: • Internet resources; • The USPU library; • Scientific archives of the conductors and participants of the project. CONTENTS 1. General Information (by Irene Melnikova) 2. Ecological Problems (by Olya Kokorina) 3. Ecological Situation Nowadays (by Mary Gorochkina) 4. Animals In Danger (by Lydia Tokareva) 5. Disappearing Life (by Kate Shostakh) 6. Environmental Protection (by Jane Terekhova) 7. Land Pollution (by Helen Vinogradova) 8. Greenhouse Effect (by Galya Sysolyatina) 9. Radioactive Contamination (by Kate Kalina and Ann Tokareva) 10. The Road To Destruction (by Ruslan Khudaibergenov) 11. Noise Pollution (by Tanya Glazyrina) 12. Light Pollution (by Kate Kataeva) General Information Man is facing an ecological crisis. For centuries he thought little about the consequences of the pressure he was placing upon nature. Today the by-products of man's activity can be compared to the results of global geological processes. The pollution of the atmosphere, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans has reached a dangerous level. Some of these ideas contain important constructive elements. It is as clear as day that as long as mankind continues to exploit nature in a blind barbarous way, it will be constantly threatened by ecological ruin. The solution to every problem of nature conservation, is becoming complicated and costly. These problems multiply with the development of every new oil deposit, the opening of new coal mines, the building of railways and power stations. That is why money and effort invested in conservation are vital. 1. What kind of crisis is man facing? 2. What is the result of man’s activity? 3. Why money and effort invested in conservation are vital? Ecological Problems For centuries our humanism has been developing in a lop-sided manner proclaiming man the lord and the king of nature and not the child. Human achievements in conquering nature are so great that the economic activity has an increasingly negative effect on the biosphere. Biodiversity describes the variety of life over a wide spectrum of levels. Human activity is causing serious destruction of biodiversity at all of these levels. If we lose variety within a system, will the system be able to keep going in a similar way? The "rules" of evolution game are wellknown. The winners are the "fittest", the losers are the "less fit". But today animals and plants perish not so much due to their physical extermination as due to the production of chemical and other industrial pollutants. We all want a higher quality environment for ourselves. Just as we now demand higher standards of healthcare, or education, or public service, we increasingly feel we have a right to a high quality environment. The first step is to know what your rights and responsibilities are. 1. In what way does man conquer nature? 2. Are there any systems and rules concerning biodiversity? 3. What do we need at last? Ecological Situation Nowadays Ecology is a very popular word today. But what does it mean? Ecology is a science which studies the relationship between all forms of life on our planet and the environment. This word came from Greek “oikos” which means home. The idea of home includes our whole planet, its population, Nature, animals, birds, fish, insets and all other living beings and even the atmosphere around our planet. So, pollution is one of the most burning problems of nowadays. Now millions of chimneys, cars, buses, trucks all over the world exhaust fumes and harmful substances into the atmosphere. These poisoned substances pollute everything: air, land, water, birds and animals. So, it is usually hard to breathe in the large cities where there are lots plants. Everything there is covered with soot and dirt. 1. What does the word “ecology” mean? 2. What country did the term “ecology” come from? 3. What may the reason of polluted atmosphere be? Animals In Danger Environmental protection is one of the main problems of today. Industrial civilization is characterized by numerous factories and power stations, automobiles and airplanes. Technological progress improves people's lives, but at the same time it causes numerous problems that were unimaginable in the past centuries. The blue whale is the largest animal which has ever lived. It is three times heavier than the biggest dinosaur. 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 animal. In 1970 there were about 3.3 million of them living in the wild. We, people, are the only species that can change the world, and we are the only species that can choose either to look after our world or to destroy it. 1. What is industrial civilization characterized by? 2. What species of animals are In great danger nowadays? 3. Who is responsible for our world? Disappearing Life Vast regions of the Earth have plenty of sunshine and rain. This hot, wet climate makes trees and plants grow quickly, forming huge dense forests. They are called tropical rain forests. Meanwhile, what is happening to the plant and animal life there? Animals, having lost their food and home, move on to the remaining forests. They are followed by other animals in the food chain. Soon, the remaining forest is overcrowded and is unable to support all the animals. What happens next. The land that has been cleared from the forests is used for farming. But, without the protection of the trees, the soil quickly dries out and soon it is worn out. So what can be done to save tropical rain forests? There are two ways to prevent them from disappearing altogether. One way is to stop their cutting down. The other way is to replant trees on the land that has been cleared. 1. What are tropical rain forests and what can we value them for? 2. What is happening to the wild life there and what does it mean? 3. What should be done to save the forests? Environmental Protection Air pollution is the result of man’s use of chemicals, and is a common hazard in both industrial and developing countries. One form of air pollution is acid rains. Acid rain results from the release into the atmosphere of sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide. Electrical plants, industrial boilers and automobiles are among chief sources of these emissions. The gases react with water droplets, forming a mixture of sulfuric acid and nitric acid, this mixture returns to earth in the form of acid rain, mist or snow. Acid rain is killing vast stretches of forests in Canada, the United States, and central and northern Europe. Acid rain has acidified lakes and streams making them unable to support fish, wildlife, plants or insects. Scientists predict that by the year 2025 the population will rise to 8,5 billion, and by the year 2050 it will double. Most people find these figures alarming. They are afraid that we will run out of land, energy and minerals. Optimists are sure that new generations will find a way out. 1. What is air pollution the result of? 2. What do you know about acid rains? 3. What awaits us in the nearest future? Land Pollution Both human activities and natural events cause land pollution. Soil contamination is often the first stage of а chain of events that lead to air and water pollution. Major contributors to land pollution include chemical plants, oil refineries, nuclear waste dumps, garbage dumps, corporal animal farms. What are the sources and impacts of litter pollution? Residential and commercial communities contribute to land, air and water pollution when motor oil, antifreeze, household chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers drain into soil and water. You can participate in land, water, and air pollution prevention by following these tips: 1. Reduce. 2. Reuse. 3. Recycle. 4. Аvoid chemicals in your home and yard. Substitute green cleaning practices for chemical cleaners. If you do use household chemicals or fertilizers, dispose of them safely. 1. What are main contributors to land pollution? 2. What are the sources and impacts of litter pollution? 3. How can we participate in land protection? Greenhouse Effect Carbon dioxide is not very poisonous and it is present in the atmosphere in so small a quantity that it does us no harm. But here is what this apparently harmless and certainly essential gas is doing to us. The sea level is rising very slowly from year to year. Eventually many cities will be drowned. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is going up steadily. This means that in the coming decades Earth’s average temperature will go up slightly. The glaciers will retreat, the mountain tops will grow more bare, and the polar ice caps will begin to melt. It will drip down into the ocean and slowly the sea level will rise. What is to be done? First, we must save our forests, and even replant them. We must have new sources of fuel. For example, nuclear fission. There is also the energy of waves, tides, wind, and the Earth’s interior heat. Most of all, there is the direct use of solar energy. 1. What are the consequences of the increase of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? 2. Why is it dangerous if Earth’s average temperature goes up? 3. What should we do concerning the problem of the “greenhouse effect”? Radioactive Contamination ULTRA-VIOLET EMANATION is electromagnetic waves, which length varies from 0,1 to 0,4 micro meter. NEGATIVE ASPECT: the influence of UV waves on the skin & eyes may be destroyable. Eye & skin diseases, violent burns & skin cancer (that is melanoma), other biological effects are proven consequences of redundant intensity of UV radiation. ATOMIC POWER STATIONS & ARTIFICIAL RADIOACTIVE SUBSTENCES which appear as a result of nuclear weapon tests are also important sources of radiation. Nowadays they are very important producers of energy. In recent years the pollution problems have received great publicity. The environmental movement has gained widespread trust & support. The protection of natural resources & wildlife is becoming a political program in every country. In the end of the XXth century atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs was stopped in different countries to prevent radioactive contamination of the atmosphere. 1. In what ways can UV rays influence man’s health? 2. Do you think that people nowadays can live without nuclear power plants? 3. What are the ways of protecting our Nature from radioactive contamination? The Road To Destruction Anger and stress are nothing compared to the real costs of the motor car: over 3 thousand people die every year in road accidents in Britain; 25 thousand deaths per year are caused by air pollution; every seventh child in Britain suffers from asthma; in London cars produce 99% of all carbon monoxide in the atmosphere; some types of cancer are related to traffic pollution; traffic is one of the major causes of global warming and climate change. And now some advice from “Greenpeace” how to solve these problems: 1. Use your legs. 2. Use public transport. 3. Think before you go. 4. Share cars. 5. Don’t believe adverts! 6. Take action! There is always something we can do about the noise, pollution and danger of traffic. Talk to your neighbours, write to the papers, go to the town council, get a protest group together. Don’t just sit around and complain! 1. What is meant by the real costs of the motor car? 2. What are the ways to improve our environment? 3. Do you think that it is possible to stop using cars? Noise Pollution A number of experiments confirm that industrial and car noise has a negative influence on people’s health and make their lives shorter, because it is impossible to get accustomed to this noise. A person may not notice sounds, but it doesn’t save him from problems with ears. Cars give about 80% of noise. Japan is one of the noisiest country in the world. 82% of the population live in such regions where industrial and car noise is higher than it should be. Many young people who listen to loud music may become deaf. This conclusion was made by Swedish and Japanese specialists, when they examined students and senior schoolchildren. Scientists try to make cars less noisy, airports and plants are built in some distance from the cities. People have to observe some rules to reduce noise in flats. 1. Is it possible to get accustomed to the noise? 2. How many people in Japan live in regions where car and industrial noise is higher than it should be? 3. What conclusion was made by Swedish and Japanese specialists? Light Pollution Night satellite photographs of the Earth from space show that light pollution fills the night sky all over the world. Until recently, bright night skies were аn issue опlу for scientists and astronomers. Today, light pollution is а public concern that affects wildlife, ecosystems, human health, and the financial well-being of communities. Unlike most pollution, light pollution is not persistent. Turn the lights off, and the dark sky comes back immediately. Mitigating light pollution, however, has proven to be particularly difficult. One solution to light pollution problems is to control poor night lighting with laws codes or ordinances. Local officials can cite аnd prosecute those who violate these codes. You can do your part by learning more about light pollution and taking steps to reduce the extraneous night lighting in your own backyard and town. These steps wi11 save you money оn electricity bi1ls and help mitigate the world's energy crisis. 1. Where is light pollution most clearly seen from? 2. What is the difference between light pollution and other types of pollution? 3. How can we reduce light pollution? GLOSSARY (some terms relating to the topic “Ecology”) Ecology Environment Ecosystem The atmosphere The biosphere Nature Civilization Humanity Population Diversity Biodiversity Wildlife Species Threat Disaster Disturbance Starvation Extinction Survival Habitat Evolution Natural selection Natural resources Rainforest Deforestation Climate Global warming The greenhouse effect Solar energy Carbon dioxide Acid rain Smog Emission Nuclear fission Radiation Ultraviolet Emanation Sedimentation Sediment Pathogen Pesticide Fertilizer Fertility Traffic jam Accident Sewage Pollution Contamination Recycling Sustainability Destruction Exploitation Elimination Mitigation Conservation Preservation Protection Defence Test on Vocabulary Translate these sentences using the vocabulary on the topic “Ecology”: Variant 21 1. Парниковый Экология – это эффект наука возникает об окружающей из-за повышения среде и экосистемах концентрации Земли. углекислого газа в воздухе. 2. Один Выхлопные из самых газыбезопасных ежедневновидов засоряют энергии атмосферу. – это солнечная энергия. 3. Выбросы Природа –вредных главноевеществ богатство в атмосферу цивилизации, вызывают поэтомукислотные мы должныдожди. её охранять. 4. Густой Население туман, нашей окутавший планеты Лондон, стремительно стал причиной растёт,задержки что можетмоего в скором самолёта. времени привести к плохим последствиям. 5. После взрыва на Чернобыльской атомной станции выброс радиации превышал все допустимые 5. В нормы. настоящие дни человеческая цивилизация – главная угроза существования дикой жизни в мире. 6. Загар В красную появляется книгу заносятся в результате все воздействия исчезающие виды ультрафиолетовых животных, птиц лучей и растений. на кожу человека. 7. Современные Не только охота пестициды на диких животных, помогают вно борьбе и их смерть с вредителями. от голода уменьшает численность редких видов животных на Земле. 8. Я опоздал на пару из-за пробок. 8. и мамонтовсказывается – яркий пример, доказывающий, что надо непременно 9. Вымирание Загрязнениединозавров воздуха отрицательно также на состоянии воды и почвы в данном заботиться о животных, живущих на нашей планете сейчас. районе. 9. некоторых видовчто животных так жеисточник опасно, самой как и отсутствие хотя бы 10.Разрушение Загрязнениесреды озераобитания Байкал приведёт к тому, мы потеряем чистой воды в мире. одногоиз звена в пищевой цепочке. 11. Одним способов избавления от продуктов жизнедеятельности человека является переработка. 10. В результате эволюции обезьяна стала человеком. 12. Ответственность за защиту окружающей среды полностью лежит на плечах всего человечества. 11. Действия современного общества привели к полному истощению природных ресурсов. 13. Горы необходимы как средство защиты против безумной жары в жарких широтах. 12. Вырубка лесов является одной из главных проблем в странах Южной Америки. 13. Глобальное потепление стало следствием парникового эффекта, о котором сейчас часто пишут в газетах. THE END.