IELTS Speaking topic - Nature and the environment #2 -
IELTS Speaking topic - nature environment 2 with questions, sample answers and topical vocabulary

IELTS Speaking topic – Nature and the environment #2

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe an environmental initiative your city or country had
You should say:

  • when it was
  • what was the initiative
  • whether it was effective

and say how people of your city or country reacted to the initiative.

Model answer

Traffic congestion in general and parking in the city centre in particular are two of the bigger problems in our city. The mayor decided to kill two birds with one stone and enforce paid parking throughout the centre of our city. In short, people would park their cars in the usual spots, but they would have to pay for that on per-hour basis. On paper, this would dissuade people from using their vehicles to get to work at the same time helping people to find parking spots who need to make a short stop and continue on their way. All of this made a lot of sense on paper, but life proved this plan to be less than optimal

It didn’t really work, in fact it truly backfired. If you ask people to pay for something they have always had for free, you only ask for trouble. There was a public outcry, a major one.  Leaving your car at a paid parking spot for 8 hours made no financial sense at all for most people, but old habits die hard. I think they ended up singing a petition to overrule the whole thing. It is currently in the process of being decided, a compromise is allegedly in in the works. Personally, I am not really sure about where they stand on the issue right now. I hope it gets resolved in a way that pleases everyone, even though it sounds a bit naïve.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Nature and humanity

Do you think spending time with nature is important for children’s development? Why or why not?

Interacting with nature definitely does help children to develop physically and cognitively, as well as emotionally and mentally. Children who spend time outside, like playing in the woods, tend to be more fit, have improved attention spans, and even better academic performance. An equally important aspect is that exposure to the natural world improves a child’s empathy. They get better at relating to other living things’ feelings, whether it is animals, other kids or even adults. Another important aspects is a long-overdue break from mobile devices. You know how kids can be nowadays – spending their entire day on their phone, playing their silly games. A day in the woods or a national park can be a welcome change from that.

How can people living in urban areas feel a stronger connection with nature?

Occasional visits to the countryside can remind them of where people naturally belong. Even though civilised humanity has been living in big metropolitan areas for thousands of years, at the end of the day man is one with nature and should live in closer connection to it. Small wonder the vast majority of upper class chooses to move out of the city and live in the suburbs or the countryside. To get back to the matter at hand, there aren’t many options for the urbanites to get much closer to nature. There are parks and squares, but they are mere artificial inserts into highly-urbanised landscapes and they feel accordingly. Another options is to cultivate plants in your own apartment. Vegetation tends to really liven one’s place up. Naturally, it takes a bit of looking after, but admittedly it’s a small price to pay for the benefits of feeling more connected with nature.

Should there be stricter penalties for those who harm the environment?

I agree that the general legislation regarding environmental damage is not severe enough. More often than not the fines are perfunctory at best. Individuals and businesses should both be held accountable for such infraction, not matter how insignificant they might be. By doing so the state will send a clear message to others. It is a necessary evil until the mindset of people changes and such penalties become unnecessary.

The environment

In your opinion, what should businesses prioritize – profit or environmental sustainability? Can they balance both?

By its definition, business is created for a scalable and consistent revenue. Naturally, it prioritises profits over everything else. This, however, doesn’t mean that it should be this way, especially given the current state of our planet. Caring about money and the environment are not always mutually exclusive though. Excessive environmental damage caused by having a business can stem from multiple sources. Potentially, one of them can be generally inefficiency of running your operation. Optimising overheads, streamlining processes and getting rid of excessive expenses can do wonders both to profit margins and carbon footprint. So in short, yes, the balance can be realistically achieved.

Do you think that international cooperation is necessary for sustainable environmental practices?

Carbon emission standards should be made stricter to make up for the ever-increasing volume of production. Moreover, there should be an international governing and monitoring body that would concern itself with enforcing said standards. Without cooperative effort individual endeavours of some countries will amount to nothing. A good case in point is the current CO emission of China, which has a much more lax environmental regulations to have a more competitive industrial sector. This is understandable from economic standpoint, but environmentally this is completely unacceptable. Another example is personal transportation. Countries like Norway plan to completely ban traditional gas and diesel engines by 2035, moving to much greener alternatives. At the same time, many third-world countries still have to use very old cars that don’t even have to pass any emission tests.

Are there any environmental challenges that you believe are too large to overcome?

One indirect environmental concern that we are unlikely to be able to control is demographic projection. World population is estimated to reach 10 billion people sometime around 2055. This doesn’t sound too bad compared to the current 8 billion, but the situation is not so straightforward. An average person’s carbon footprint has been slowly increasing over the years and this is now compounded by general population growth. Generally such projections are not necessarily accurate. However, the model is based on scientifically-proven data and seem fairly trustworthy. Ultimately, reproduction volume is one thing that cannot be controlled directly so  it is an issue of enormous scale with no evident solution.

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