Exercise 1

A. You’re going to listen to Martin Cinert from Prague talking about the night the River Vltava flooded. Mark the sentences T (true) or F (false).

 His office wasn’t at risk, but his flat was.

 He took his wife and child to his parents’ house.

 He went back to the flat because he was excited by the situation.

 Martin went to a place near his flat to watch the water level rising.

 He looked out of the window and saw that his car park was starting to flood.

 He was the last person to leave his block of flats.

 All of the roads he tried were flooded now.

 He decided to follow another car through the water.

 Martin’s car broke down as he drove through the water.

10   All the flats in his building were seriously damaged.

B. Listen again. Correct the false sentences.



1 F   2 F   3 T   4 F   5 F

6 T   7 T   8 T   9 F   10 F


1   He was in danger both at work and at home.

2   He took them to her parent’s house.

4   He watched from inside his flat.

5   He saw that it was almost empty.

9   The engine made a funny noise but it didn’t break down.

10   Only the ground floor flats were badly damaged.


I was at work when I heard the news on TV. It had been pouring with rain for several days and I could see that the River Vltava was swollen. Now it appeared that there was a real danger that the river would overflow. All of us who lived or worked near the river were being advised to get out and move to a place of safety. My office is in the centre of Prague only a hundred metres from the river bank and I live in a flat in a small town just a few kilometres north of Prague, right on the banks of the River Vltava, so I was in danger both at work and at home.

My wife and baby were at my flat, so I did the sensible thing and went home immediately. I packed my wife and my child into the car and I drove them to her parents’ house. They would be completely safe there. So far, so good! But then I stopped being sensible, and I jumped back into the car and went back to our flat. Why did I do that? I told myself that it was because I was afraid of looters breaking into our flat and stealing things, but the truth was that I felt that I wanted to be in the middle of things, to be involved in what was happening.

I stayed up all night watching the TV bulletins. They were giving regular reports on how fast the water level was rising at various places throughout the Czech Republic. There was a journalist reporting from just down the road from where I was, north of Prague, so I could sit in my sitting room and watch the danger increase as the minutes passed, but I still didn’t move. I suppose I had a kind of perverse desire to be the last person to leave our block of flats. I could hear cars starting up and setting off all evening, and from time to time I looked out at our car park and I could see that it was almost empty. At about three in the morning, my car was the only one left in the car park and my nerves gave out – or maybe I just came to my senses, because I finally decided to get into the car and escape.

The roads towards Prague were flooded, so I decided to try to get to a relative’s house, which was a few kilometres away in the opposite direction, away from the river. I tried various escape routes but even these roads were impassable now. I was about to give up – I thought I’d left it too late. On my last attempt, I drove until I met another car which was blocking the road. The road ahead was flooded, but the driver of the other car was wading into the water to see how deep it was. He said he thought he could make it, so I decided to follow him.

The water was rising quickly now, but he drove really really slowly through the water and I felt a bit impatient. Anyway, he managed to get through the water safely. I followed him, but I went much more quickly. Water was coming into the car under the door, and the engine make a funny noise like a cough a couple of times, but I got through and finally arrived safely at my relative’s house.

I was one of the lucky ones. My office escaped the flood and my flat wasn’t damaged at all as it’s on the third floor. But the poor people who lived on the ground floor – their flats were very badly damaged. They had been completely under water.

Exercise 2

A. Listen to the first part of a news story about a woman called Barbara Haddrill. What did she do? Why?

B. Listen to the first part again and answer the questions.

1   What was Barbara’s dilemma? Why?

2   What changes has she made to her lifestyle over the last six years? Why?

3   How did Barbara travel? Through which countries?

4   How was she able to take such a long holiday?



She travelled to Australia overland because she didn’t want to fly and produce a lot of carbon emissions.


1   To fly or not to fly. She wanted to go to Australia, but on the other hand she didn’t want to cause a lot of CO2 emissions.

2   She has stopped driving, has started buying organic food from local shops, and uses a wood fire to heat her house.

3   She travelled overland through Russia, China, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.

4   Because she works for the Centre for Alternative Technology and they allowed her to take a long holiday.


More and more of us are trying to do our bit for the environment. But would you go as far as Barbara Haddrill? Six years ago, Barbara, from Powys in Wales, decided to make big changes to her lifestyle because she was worried about climate change, especially about the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that she herself was producing. So she stopped driving, and she started buying organic food from local shops and using a wood fire to heat her home.

But then Barbara was invited to be a bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding in Australia. The flight to Australia takes 24 hours and produces a huge amount of carbon dioxide emissions. But she really wanted to go to the wedding. So now she had a terrible dilemma. To fly or not to fly?

Instead of flying, Barbara decided to travel to Australia over land! She travelled by train and bus through Russia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, then by boat to Singapore, and finally to Australia. The epic journey took her nearly two months. Fortunately, Barbara works part-time at the Centre for Alternative Technology and they were happy to give her such a long holiday.

C. Listen to the second part and complete the information in the chart.






CO2 emissions



_____ miles

_____ days

_____ tonnes



_____ miles

_____ hours

_____ tonnes





CO2 emissions


14,004 miles

51 days

1.65 tonnes


10,273 miles

25 hours

2.7 tonnes


But… how much has Barbara really done to help the planet? Let’s compare the two journeys. Barbara’s trip cost her £2,000. She travelled 14,004 miles, and it took her 51 days. The total amount of CO2 emissions her trip produced was 1.65 tonnes. If she had travelled by plane, it would have cost her a quarter of the price, only £450, she would have travelled 10,273 miles, and it would have taken her just 25 hours. But the CO2 emissions would have been 2.7 tonnes.

So yes, Barbara’s overland journey did produce less carbon dioxide. On the other hand, of course, if she hadn’t gone at all, she wouldn’t have produced any emissions. So, what do you think of Barbara’s trip? We would be very interested in hearing your comments. You can email us at newsday@radio24.co.uk.

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