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Dominic Cole’s IELTS Blog

Environment Vocabulary
The natural world

word/phrase notes/explanations

the natural world includes both animal and plant life

the Earth note the capital letter and “the”

the planet a synonym for the Earth

a habitat the natural habitat of an animal is where it lives

biodiversity variety of plant and animal life in a region

(endangered) species examples include the Giant Panda

an ecosystem the system where plants and animals support one
rainforests a useful example when discussing environmental

deforestation cutting down forests


word/phrase notes/explanation

conserve energy another way ot saying “to save energy”

sources of energy a good collocation

renewable sources sources of energy such as wind power and solar

natural resources for example water, coal and gas

fossil fuels a collective term for coal, petrol and gas

solar energy energy from the sun

solar panels the implement used to create solar energy

wind turbines modern windmills used to create power from the wind

clean energy energy that does not create pollution

Dominic Cole’s IELTS Blog


word/phrase notes/explanation
pollution remember “air and water pollution”: other forms of the
word include “pollute” and “pollutants”

smog an extreme form of air pollution almost like fog

air/water quality this can be affected by pollution

(industrial) waste we also talk about waste products

chemicals and fertilisers useful examples of products that cause water
fumes/emissions these are the gases that are produced by cars and
factories that cause pollution
carbon monoxide and names of two gases useful for discussing acid rain
carbon dioxide and the green house effect
factories and power two examples of sources of pollution

acid rain rain that is “poisonous” because of the poor air quality
dump waste if factories dump waste, they illegally deposit
(normally dangerous) waste

Global warming

word/phrase notes/explanation

green (issues) a very common synonym for “environmental”

global warming an example of man’s effect on the environment

the greenhouse effect connected to global warming

Dominic Cole’s IELTS Blog

Useful verbs

word/phrase notes/explanation

harm cause or do harm to/ harmful

endanger the verb of “danger”/endangered species

impact “have an impact on”

contaminate almost the same meaning as poison: another form of the
word is “contaminated”

threat a threat to/be under threat/ to threaten/to be threatened by

exercises and examples on how to use this vocabulary

The ideas
In this section, you will find 4 sample part 3 speakings (slightly long) to listen and
read. I have highlighted the environmental vocabulary.

Our effect on the natural world

content/uploads/2011/09/environ4.mp3|titles=natural world idea]
When we’re the discussing the environment, it’s important not to forget that our
actions have an impact not only on us but on the natural world and
other species. So, for example, certain species are now endangered because of our
actions. it’s not just because of hunting, but because we have destroyed
their natural habitats: they do not enough food or anywhere to live. If we carry
on in this way, the biodiversity of the planet is under threat.

content/uploads/2011/09/environ2.mp3|titles=pollution ideas]
I would have said that one of the most serious environmental problems today is
of course pollution. It’s a very pressing green issue and if you travel to any of the
large cities in China, for example, you’ll find that there is very bad air
pollution and there is a layer of smog hanging over the cities. It’s just air

pollution, there is also water pollution. in many parts of the world, the quality of
the water is not good because rivers have been contaminated by all sorts of
industrial waste, by chemicals and fertilisers. And what we need to do is
to recycle our waste and take care of the planet and try use renewable
resources where we possibly can.

content/uploads/2011/09/energy.mp3|titles=energy ideas]
Another extremely important green issue is of course energy. There are two points
to be made here. The first point is that the way we use energy is causing harm to
the environment. Most of us get energy in the form of electricity. This electricity is
produced by power stations. These power stations emit all sorts of
dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide up into the atmosphere. And these
gases cause acid rain which does harm to our ecosystem and environment. the
second point to make about energy is we need to make sure that we are using
energy in a sustainable way. There is a limit to the Earth’s natural
resources and there is a danger that we use so much energy the Earth is no longer
going to be able to provide us with sufficient coal and fossil fuels. What we need
to do is look for more renewable sources of energy such as wind or perhaps solar
energy from the sun.

Global warming
content/uploads/2011/09/environ1.mp3|titles=Global warming ideas]
What’s the greatest threat to the Earth today? I’d have to say it’s probably a
combination of global warming and the greenhouse effect. I don’t understand all
the science behind it, but I understand it’s to do with the build up of gases such as
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which means that the planet is slowly but
steadily getting warmer. and one of the results of this is that the polar icecap is
melting and the levels of the oceans are rising. And it’s caused I understand
by deforestation, particularly of rainforests and particularly in the Amazonian
Basin. And what this means is that we may be doing irreparable harm to the
planet and the future of the planet for our children and our children’s children
looks really rather bleak.