Let’s talk about environment.
Let’s talk about environment. People say that our planet is in danger. Do you share this opinion?
No doubt the protection of nature is a matter of paramount importance. Ecological problems are so acute nowadays that mankind may soon face the problem: to be or not to be. On the one hand, our life has become much more comfortable due to the progress of science and technology, but on the other hand, our environment is being more and more polluted with every passing day. There are different types of pollution: air pollution, water pollution, nuclear pollution, even noise pollution. Factories, plants and cars pollute the air in big cities. Rivers that used to be so beautiful and full of fish are poisoned by industrial waste. It is not always pleasant to bathe in the sea because the water is not blue but brown with rubbish floating in it. Besides, millions of tons of oil are released into the seas every year and a lot of seabirds and animals die because of it. It is dangerous for human beings too.
Nuclear power stations are hazardous too. They can cause nuclear pollution as in the case of Chernobyl or Fucusima. Our republic and our Mogilev region in particular have greatly suffered from the after-effects of the Chernobyl disaster.
The ozone holes present a serious problem as well. The ozone layer that protects the Earth from the dangerous ultraviolet rays of the sun is constantly destroyed. The dangerous rays penetrate through the atmosphere and cause skin cancer and other diseases.
The problem of deforestation is also very acute. Deforestation destroys the environmental balance and reduces biodiversity. More and more species of animals and plants are becoming extinct. It also has a big impact on the world climate because the rain forests are natural recyclers, protectors and providers for our planet.
The most dramatic of the environmental issues is, probably, climate change. It is caused by the so-called “greenhouse effect” which is the result of a massive release of carbon dioxide [dai’oksaid] into the atmosphere. When living creatures breathe out and when things are burnt, carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere. Until recently it was absorbed by trees and plants, which converted it back into oxygen. But now factories, power stations and cars are burning more and more coal, oil and natural gas. And the destruction of forests means that there are fewer trees to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. It acts like the glass in a greenhouse, allowing sunshine and heat to pass in but not out again. As a result we have hotter and drier summers, warmer and wetter winters, more storms and rainfall, extreme weather conditions and raising sea-levels.
What do you think people should do to protect the environment?
We must realize that the problems of ecology are everybody’s concern and we must do everything in our power to protect nature. Members of Greenpeace set us a good example how to do it. They get information about activities harmful to the environment and try to prevent them. I think that our authorities must do more when it concerns environmental problems. For example, some factories and plants can be removed from cities, purifying systems should be improved, environmentally friendly sources of energy such as wind or solar energy should be used. Well, I suppose there are many more things that can be done by our authorities, but I’m too young to see all the aspects of the problem on a large scale.
There are many things that every person can do to protect nature. We must review our wasteful, careless ways, we must consume less and recycle more. We must plant more trees and we mustn’t break them. We must not do any harm to our lesser brothers – animals. Cars are major polluters, so it is much better for us and for other people if we walk or bike. We should not smoke as smoking is harmful to us and those around us. To reduce noise pollution we must not make our CD players sound too loud. Well, there are many more things we can do to protect nature. We should always remember that the Earth is our home and we must take care of it for ourselves and for the next generations.
What questions would you ask a Greenpeace member?
A friend of yours wants to develop a program to protect the city where he lives. Give him a piece of advice.
I think that this program should include removing some factories and plants from the city, improving purifying systems, using environmentally friendly sources of energy such as wind or solar energy.
Your school is going to take part in the contest ‘Green School of the Year’. Give ideas for some green events.
One of the items of the contest can be helping to find a shelter for stray animals. Another item can be connected with recycling. Some green events can be connected with planting trees and some other practical things. As they say: Don’t fight for cleanliness, just take a broom and sweep the streets.