Exercise 1

Listen to an announcement from an election campaign. What kinds of problems does Grace Medina want to fix?

Answers & Audioscripts

water, roads, community center, streets, parks, low-income families being displaced



Grace Medina’s ideas for Riverside!

Have you noticed these problems in our city?

– Our fresh water supply is being contaminated by toxic chemicals.

– Our community center has been closed because of high maintenance costs.

– Our city streets are being damaged as a result of heavy traffic.

– Many public parks have been lost through overbuilding.

– Low-income families are being displaced from their homes due to high rental prices.


Exercise 2

A. Listen to three people describe some serious environmental problems. Check (✓) the problem each person talks about.



1  Morgan


poor farmland

2  Dalton



3  Kendall

air pollution

water pollution

B. Listen again. What can be done to solve each problem?

What can be done about it?

1   …………………………………….

2   …………………………………….

3   …………………………………….

Answers & Audioscripts




 water pollution


1   do more recycling

2   dispose of it responsibly; take products to e-waste processing centers and reuse parts

3   treat all waste products more carefully


1   Morgan

Morgan:   Wait, don’t throw that out!

Man:   Why not?

Morgan:   Recycle it. I’ve been reading a lot about how much trash we produce and what happens to all of it – and it really has me worried.

Man:   Why?

Morgan:   Well, it seems that the easiest way to dispose of trash is by burying it in landfills – land that could be used by farmers to grow food and other things. The problem is that in many countries the dumping areas have already been filled up, and it’s hard to find places to start new ones. Of course, no one wants trash buried in their neighborhood, but it has to go somewhere!

Man:   So what’s the solution?

Morgan:   Well, there is no easy solution; however, many cities are trying to do more recycling so that they can reduce the amount of stuff that goes into the landfills.

2   Dalton

Woman:   I love my new computer, but I don’t know what to do with my old one. It’s so outdated. I know I shouldn’t just throw it away.

Dalton:   Well, you’re right about that. Not disposing of electronic devices and other appliances properly is a huge problem these days, not just here but all over the world. Many people don’t know what to do with their old phones, computers, video game systems, TV sets, refrigerators. . . . There are dangerous chemicals in these products, and they have to be handled in the right way.

Woman:   So what are we supposed to do?

Dalton:   Well, e-waste is not going away. With all the new technology these days, there’s more e-waste than ever before. The solution is to dispose of it responsibly.

The good news is that there are more and more e-waste processing centers where professionals take these products and separate them into their various parts. Many of the parts can be reused, of course.

3   Kendall

Kendall:   You know, you always hear about air pollution, but not many people are aware of the problem of water pollution.

Man:   You mean in the oceans?

Kendall:   No. I mean polluted drinking water. It’s a problem in almost every major city in the world. Almost all our rivers and lakes – where we get our drinking water – are being polluted in some way by businesses, farms, homes, industries, and other sources. And even though the water most of us drink is treated, it’s still not a hundred percent pure.

Man:   So what’s the solution?

Kendall:   Well, it’s a complicated problem to solve, but basically what’s involved is treating all waste products more carefully so that dangerous chemicals and bacteria don’t get into our water supply.

Exercise 3

Listen to the conversation. What do Cindy and Otis decide to do?

Answers & Audioscripts

They decide to monitor the situation by taking pictures of the river and taking water samples (to see how bad the situation is).


Otis:   Wait a minute. Before we do anything, shouldn’t we make sure that we’ve got our facts straight?

Cindy:   Absolutely. The best thing to do is to monitor the situation over the next couple of weeks to see what exactly is happening.

Otis:   How do we do that?

Cindy:   Well, we can take pictures of the river and even take water samples to see how bad the situation is. We can get some friends to help.

Otis:   OK. And then maybe I should talk to my uncle about it.

Cindy:   That would be fantastic.

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