Latest IELTS Writing Questions & Answers Task 1 | Task 2

The Environment & Environmental Problems | IELTS Speaking Test Questions and Answers


IELTS Speaking Test Part 2 Cue Card Topic Question

Describe an environmental problem

You should say:
  • what it is
  • how long it has existed
  • how it has affected people's lives
and explain what we can do to solve the problem.



IELTS Speaking Answer | An environmental problem

I'd like to talk about the problems related to the use of fossil fuels and how it has affected us and our enviornment. We have traditionally used coal, gas and oil for many of our energy needs, in countries all over the world. But, this has caused a lot of the pollution that experts claim to be one of the causes of climate change and rising temperatures. It's not just using gas in your car or maybe LPG to heat your home, it's the scale of the energy consumption in industry and manufacturing companies in particular which is a concern, sometimes energy costs are around 40% of their overall operational costs. The maritime transport and aviation industries also contribute to envionmental problems, more than the regular population does through driving their cars or wasting energy in their homes.

Experts identified what they referred to as global warming back in the 1970s, but the idea didn't really catch on with the mainstream media and public until much later. When it finally became a public and political hot potato, normal people were still quite unaware of the extent of the problem as most of the focus was on the reduction of greenhouse gases, as they were called. Nowadays, the experts talk about climate change which seems to cover all aspects of our lives and how they affect the enviornment.

Over the years, we've seen many changes in government policies and also everyday products. For example, we've seen unleaded gas for cars, aerosol sprays being modified to remove CFCs which were deemed to be harmful to the environment. Now, various governments have a variety of plans and schemes to invest in alternative and renewal energy sources and encourage the public to adopt these as part of their energy consumption.

Some of the solutions we've seen being offered to the public include hybrid and electric cars, solar powered heating systems and of course the many recycling campaigns which encourage people to think about how they dispose of things when they no longer need them, and also their consumer habits in general. I'm sure in the future we'll be expected to make even more changes and will be offered even more options which are environmentally friendly.

IELTS Speaking Test Part 3 Questions | The Environment

What causes environmental problems?

Well, really there could be many different causes depending on the type of environmental problem in question. For example, there's noise pollution caused by factories, loud music and other such things. Then we could talk about traffic pollution caused by cars, trucks, buses and planes. Then there's using too many of nature's natural resources without replenishing them and the big one... we're still using fossil fuels to generate most of our energy. All these things cause problems for or in the environment.

What should governments do to protect the environment?

They need to enact the necessary legislation and laws to control the use of certain substances and resources and also to impose fines and penalties when appropriate to try and prevent the environment from being trashed. But the most important changes are the ones that individual people make - not so much what the government do. Peopl need to change the way they live - that will have the most dramatic impact on protecting the environment.

What should people do to care for the environment?

We need to simply be more aware of how our actions impact it and avoid doing things which have a detrimental affect on the environment. People need to stop using their cars as much - and walk more. Avoid unecessary travel or use public transport more. Don't over consume - everything people buy comes in packaging and all that packaging has to be disposed of eventually. And conserving energy at home and in the workplace is also a key thing people can do without having to be inconvenienced.

What other measures can you think of to protect the environment?

Well, recycling is always a good thing, and if you have a garden then growing some of your own food such as vegetables means you can avoid buying food from the supermarket, food which has been packaged and transported - two activities which directly impact the environment. If you own your own home, then installing solar panels and using alternative forms of energy generation for some of your electricity could also be very beneficial in the long run.

How could we educate children to look after the environment?

We already have - it's already happened in many countries - children do projects on the environment at school and they have a better understanding of how things impact on the enviornment than many adults. I guess you could say that as the younger generation has never known life without the internet - they have also never known a world where 'climate change' hasn't been discussed and talked about. They accept it whereas a lot of older people still seem to doubt that there is really any problem. Children now will be the ones in the future who are driving electric cars and using alternative energy sources - they will be 'looking after the environment' by simply not doing many of the harmful activities their parents did, and for them it will be normal.
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