The Environment & Environmental Problems, Pollution, Recycling, Fossil Fuels, Natural Resources

IELTS speaking Part 3 questions about environmental problems

[-]Do you ever discuss the topic of the environment with your friends? [sample answer]

    Sample Answer
    Yes, quite often, it's a hot topic. The government are always talking about their 'green policies' and what we need to be doing to protect the environement, recycle and save energy and natural resources.

    That affects us all in some way, just the other day I was complainng to another student because of a new policy in our class of not printing out handouts but asking students to download them instead. It's some sort of plan to reduce the amount of paper the university is consuming, but it doesn't seem like a very sensible policy to me because of the way they have implemented it.

[-]Do you think that air-conditioning in buildings is a form of environmental pollution? [sample answer]

    Sample Answer
    Well, I suppose most people wouldn't consider it as something which pollutes, in fact most air conditioning systems actually help purify the air within the environment they are serving, making it cleaner for people in the office or building in question.

    Personally, I don't think that an air conditioning system causes environmental pollution, directly. If that was the case then almost everything we use causes environmental pollution.

    You could argue that the energy used by such systems causes natural resources to be consumed, therefore contributing to the impact on the environment. Most systems run on electricity and that has to be generated somehow, either by burning coal, oil or using a nuclear power station for example, all of which cause environmental pollution at different levels.

[-]How do you think cutting down all the trees in a forest affects the environment? [sample answer]

    Sample Answer
    It surely has a big impact because trees are the main source of oxygen on the planet, which is essential for us to survive, so a whole forest would certainly make an impact. That's why reforestation is so important and controlled logging. There are programs that protect extreme practices of clearing complete forests. It's important to replace each tree we use so as to ensure a future supply of timber as well as maintain oxygen levels.

    Another consideration is the wildlife and other plants which depend on the forest for survival, so it's not just a case of destroying a forest, the consequences are much wider spread. A forest provides coverage and protection for all kinds of plants and the soil itself.

[-]Do you think the environment will be improved in the future or do you think it will get worse? [sample answer]

    Sample Answer
    It's difficult to say, I mean we are certainly more aware of the impact we are having on the environment than we were a generstion ago, but who can predict the future? The major source of pollution is still the burniing of fossil fuels such as oil and coal for energy , whether it's for industry, homes or to drive your car.

    We've seen some changes recently in national energy policies and now of course electric cars are beginning to be produced, so you might assume that we will at some point in the future solve our energy requirements without relying on oil and similar natural resources.

    If that happens then I think we will see a big decrease in the amount of pollution we generate. Of course, it may take another two or three generations to make those changes, but at least we are moving in the right direction, so personally I'm quite optimistic for the long term future.

[-]What do you think your country's environment will be like in the future (e.g., 20 or 50 years in the future)? [sample answer]

    Sample Answer
    In the long term future I don't think it will be much different from how it is at the moment. There will probably be a little less open space because the population is growing and they will need to build more housing, but that will probably be the biggest change.

    Hopefully there will be less pollution, but it's not something that you can really see here in the air or feel, it's something scientists measure. If you asked my parents what the envionment was like 20 or 30 years ago here, they would probably describe it as very simialr to now, but with less houses.

[-]Do older people in your country have the same attitudes towards the environment as young people? [sample answer]

    Sample Answer
    Personally I think they care for it a lot more than most young people, they understand the need for recycling and they've heard all the arguments about global warming and climate change. The reality is that older people were more in touch with nature than younger peope are now. While climate change and all the clean energy policies seem to be a current trend, older people had less impact on the enviornment because they basically consumed less and they didn't have the 'disposable culture' that we have today.

[-]What are some ways that the government could use to help educate people about the environment? [sample answer]

    Sample Answer
    The government already use many different ways such as TV, newspapers and magazines to tell people about problems regarding the environment and also to introduce new energy policies and envionmental initiatives.

    Advertising, whether it's on TV or the internet makes people aware of changes that are happeneing. It coud be the latest community environmental program or the release of the latest model electric car or hybrid vehicle.

    I suppose all the media channels are effective. Using schools certainly seems to have produced a generation which is more aware of enviornmental impact regarding many things such as industry and consumerism.

[-]Why do you think some people don't pay much attention to environmental problems? [sample answer]

    Sample Answer
    It could be because they don't really believe that the problems are serious. It's also difficult to actually see the impact sometiimes, I mean it's almost impossible to see air pollution in most places, you can't really feel climate change on a daily basis either.

    There's a lot of evidence and statistics presented by scientists and governments to support their ideas about the environment, but a lot of older people would say that it's just another fashion a trend, it's just another way of introducing some new ideas and that the problems they describe are not so serious.

    A good example is how it used to be called global warming, but now it's called climate change. Maybe they will invent another name for it in the future.

[-]Compared to before, do you think people's awareness (consciousness) of environmental problems has increased or decreased? How? Why? [sample answer]

    Sample Answer
    Nowadays, I think most people are more concerned about the economic conditions in their country than the environment. Many people are still suffering with bad debt, some of them are struggling to find a job, earn enough money and pay their bills.

    People have been more focused on the consequences of the latest financial crisis than on enviornmental problems ... it has produced more immediate problems such as higher unemployment, being more difficult to get a bank loan and other types of credit. These things affect people more directly today than some envionmental problems which may have an effect on future generations.

    So people may be more aware, but the environmental problems are not the hot topic anymore, it's the economy and its associated problems.

[-]What do you think will be the result if we ignore these environmental problems? [sample answer]

    sample answer
    Well, if we just carry on without making any changes, then one day in the future we will find ourselves confronted with disaster and chaos. Imagine if one day we just ran out of fuel; no gas, no oil, no energy. The world as we know it now would come to a halt.

    If we continue polluting, and the world population continues growing - who knows what new problems may develop in the future; lack of food, clean water, bad air and new illnesses maybe. Thankfully, we are making some changes and it's very likely that our lives will be very different in the future.

[-]Do you think these problems will be solved in the future? [sample answer]

    sample answer
    Based on history, yes. We have created some problems but we have also managed to solve most of our problems. We are very innovative and creative and we can already see another explosion of innovation at the moment. The technology and computer revolution, much like the industrial revolution.

    In the next few years we'll see electric cars and self-driving cars becoming more popular and widespread as well as new ways to communicate and access information such as Google Glass. It's very probable that over the next five years our lives will change dramatically as all these new inventions become part of our everyday world.

[-]Do you think pollution will be less severe in the future or do you think it will get worse? [sample answer]

    sample answer
    It's almost sure to be less. I mean, in recent years there have been attempts to tackle the problem retroactively such as adding catalytic converters to cars. But now cars are designed with their envionmental impact taken into account from the very beginning; energy consumption, emissions, recylcing and so on.

    We now have a more total approach to the envionmental impact of everything we do, so in the future it's likely we will see almost zero pollution from many of the offending sources today such as cars, factories and such like.

[-]What are some things that individuals can do to help solve environmental problems? [sample answer]

    sample answer
    Small changes people can make would include being more aware of their energy consumption; using their cars only when necessary, reducing the energy they use at home, and recycling as much as possible. Bigger changes might include investing in alternative energy sources such as using solar panels to generate energy or heat pumps for domestic use rather than relying on traditional energy sources and buying an electric or hybrid car when they replace their existing car.

[-]Do you think it is the government's responsibility to solve environmental problems or is it the responsibility of each individual? [sample answer]

    sample answer
    Well, if you think about it, the government can't solve the problem because it concerns the behavior of everyone and they only control ur behavior in certain aspects of life. It is up to the people to change they way they do things and adopt new habits and change the way we perceive the world we live in.

    Governments can help, educate, monitor and stimulate change but at the end of the day - it's ordinary people who need to change how they live. It's the only way there will be any real impact.

[-]If you were a government official, how would you try to solve these environmental problems? [sample answer]

    sample answer
    As in most cases it's a case of stimulating change. People need to be shown the need for change and then given encouragement and motivation to make that change. It's normally done through education, media campaigns and stimulus plans. For example, at the moment there are many countries which offer financial assistance for people who want to invest in alternative energy systems for their homes.

    This type of scheme helps people make a good choice withoout it costing them too much personally. It's a gradual process, but you can see how older cars are being phased out and newer more environmentally friendly cars are being introduced. People are encouraged to buy these new smaller and more fuel efficient cars through advertising and making them more socially aware of the negative impact of cars on the enviornment.

    Of course, this is backed up by legislation in many cases to make certain things illegal when they are deemed to be harmful.

[-]How is your country planning to tackle these problems? [sample answer]

    sample answer
    In my country there has already been a lot of investment in alternative energy experiments such as using windmills, tidal energy and similar projects. There are also many governments schemes to help people insulate their homes more effectively to reduce energy consumption as well as aid for installing solar panels and other alternative energy generating systems in the home.

    There are now taxes and other restrictions on traffic in the cities to try and reduce pollution on the roads and recycling is much more advanced and mainstream than it was years ago.

    Generally, there is also a lot more legislation to control, limit or restrict certain harmful activities such as the discharge of industrial effluent into rivers, logging, deforestation, agriculture and almosy every area of industry and commercial activity.

[-]What is the government doing to tackle this problem? [sample answer]

    sample answer
    The government is tackling the problem of envionmental damage in a variety of ways. They are encouraging more efficient use of existing energy sources as well as encouraging the use of alternative energy generation and use.

    There are more controls on industrial and commercial processes now in order to reduce pollution and the impact it has on the environment. Waste disposal and recycling have been targeted and now use much more efficient procedures for dealing with waste and garbage generated.

    Many educational campaigns and a lot of media coverage has gradually introduced the idea of changes which are necessary and the government also back many schemes, some with financial aid, so that people can reduce their impact on their enviornment and their carbon footprint in particular. I'm sure there are many more things, but these are some of the ways that government is dealing with this problem.

[-]Do you ever discuss the topic of the environment with your friends? [sample answer]

    sample answers No, not really. I mean sometimes it comes up in conversation but not very often. I think it was more common before when global warming was 'big news' and a relatoively new concept for most people. Now there are so many different aspects to climate change and the environment that it's more common to hear a friend simply mention they bought a new hybrid car or replaced the lightbulbs in their house with LED bulbs than have a discussion about the environment.

[-]What are the different kinds of environmental problems that exist right now? [sample answer]

    sample answer
    Well, there are many, but maybe the well-known ones are the impact of industry and commercial activities and the pollution they cause, the pollution caused by our transportation, the use of non-renewable energy resources such as petroleum, gas and oil, along with waste management and a growing world population.

    These are probably the areas that most effort is being targeted at: reducing industrial and commercial waste and inefficiency, developing alternative energy sources which we can use to replace fossil fuels, more efficient and less envionmentally impacting waste disposal and better planning in terms of accommodating and looking after a much larger population.

[-]Whose fault is it that we have these environment problems? [sample answer]

    sample answer
    Honestly, you can't blame anyone. When they invented the car the people at that time in history had no idea of global warming or the environmental impact of traffic emissions, nor when they invented the airplane or large ships.

    It's only because science has advanced that we are now aware of the consequences, and we are now beginning to make changes to reduce the negative impoact of some of these things. It's likely that some of the technology we have seen introduced recently will become a problem in the future. Who knows, maybe in another 50 years we will discover that using smartphones or Google Glass is bad for you!

[-]Do you think environmental problems are worse than they used to be? Why? [sample answer]

    sample answer
    I saw a news report last week which claimed that a lot of the indicators have not increased in recent years so it would appear that it's not as bad as it was. But we are also much more aware than we were in the past and measuring and monitoring many more aspects of life for their environmental impact, so it's natural that we might think that everything is worse.

    We are discovering new problems all the time, but the good news is that we have become very good at coming up with solutions for those problems quickly. Overall, I think things are better and improving rather than getting worse.

[-]Why do people create pollution? [sample answer]

    sample answer

[-]What are the causes of these problems? [sample answer]

    sample answer

[-]What do you think is the most serious environmental problem in your country? Why? [sample answer]

    sample answer

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