IELTS Speaking topic - Nature and the environment #1 -
IELTS Speaking topic - nature and the environment 1

IELTS Speaking topic – Nature and the environment #1

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe a memorable visit to a park or the countryside.
You should say:

  • where it was
  • who you went with
  • what you did there

and explain what made the visit memorable.

Model answer

About two years ago, when I was still studying at school, we went on a field trip to a local natural reserve. It was situated pretty far from the city, so the school had to rent a bus to get there.
Even though attendance wasn’t mandatory, almost all of my classmates showed up. I guess they were pretty excited to see the famous cliffs and the abundant wildlife the reserve had to offer.

We spent almost the entire day hiking, climbing up the steep hills, and taking pictures of various birds and rodents there. It was a nice change from our regular classroom activities. The teacher imparted some wisdom to us about the local wildlife variety.

What made the trip stick in my mind was the perfect combination of fresh air, gentle summer sun, and feeling pleasantly tired at the end of that day. After coming back, I felt fresh and well-rested, despite having walked over 20 miles on that day.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Nature and humanity

Some say that almost all emissions come from industries rather than people. Do you agree or disagree?
First of all, I believe the data is published out there somewhere, so if one were so inclined, it would be fairly easy to answer this question. However, owners of such industries and other parties with vested interests might try to hide the real statistics in order to stay in business. To be frank, seeing thousands of cars on the street puffing and blowing clouds of smoke, and leaving puddles of oil, it is difficult to say that the contribution to emissions is solely the responsibility of industries.

Do you believe that humanity will be able to coexist peacefully with nature in the future?
To address this question, we have to take a look at the current trend in the human-nature relationship. We’ve been systematically destroying the environment over the past 150 years, and only recently have we realised the extent of harm we are causing. If we focus on mitigating the damage we have done, nature might be saved, and yes, in this case, peaceful coexistence is possible. However, if the situation gets out of hand and we go back to our old ways of production, which disregard the environment, then the definition of ‘nature’ might change itself. Consequently, it will turn into a different kind of question.

Understanding the environment

What is the importance of nature in human life?
The first reason why nature is important lies in biodiversity – the number of different species existing and coexisting. This is a very delicately balanced system where animals and plants are interdependent. For instance, a common result of deforestation is the loss of habitat for many animals who have no choice but to migrate to other areas, creating an excessive presence of certain species there. This triggers backlash, and nature tries to balance itself, sometimes at the expense of humans. One example is thousands of fish jumping out of the sea onto the shore, displaced by oil spills, and consequently leaving bigger species who rely on it as food hungry.

Has society’s attitude towards nature changed over the years?
It definitely has, mostly thanks to the media coverage of the issue. They show us the heart-rending pictures of orphaned polar bears – such imagery is a very powerful tool. Many documentaries set out to depict the scale of the problem we have on our hands. Thankfully, it did have an effect, and people have become more environmentally conscious. On the flip side, however, one particular movement has been on the rise – one that denies climate change. These people state that climate and mean temperatures are cyclical and change all the time over the course of hundreds of years. The bottom line here is that people are no longer indifferent to the issue, and that is what really counts.

What are the ways to raise environmental awareness?
I can see at least two rather different approaches to this – to educate or to penalise. Educating both young and old about the importance of the natural world and how fragile the biosphere and the environment in general are likely to be effective. Once an individual learns the true scope of their impact, and how it affects future generations, is a truly eye-opening experience. The other way is to introduce penalties and fines for littering, improper oil disposal, and similar infractions. Penalties could be as harsh as prison sentences, especially if the individual (or the business) has broken the rules several times.

Nature and the environment vocabulary

Field trip – a visit to the countryside, usually as a part of school curriculum, led by one or several teachers.
Natural reserve – a piece of land with its animals and plants protected by the government. It is normally forbidden to do any development in such an area.
Hiking (n) – a recreational activity that involves walking in hilly or mountainous areas.
Rodent (n) – a group of animals such as rats, mice, squirrels.
Emissions (n) – (here) a collective word for all the harmful gases produced as a part of production or existence.
Mitigate the damage – make or try to make the harm lower.
Habitat (n) – the area where a particular animal or plant exists naturally.
Heart-rending – making somebody cry or regret something.
Fragile (adj) – very easily broken, brittle.

General vocabulary

Mandatory (adj) – if something is mandatory, you must do it and have no choice about it (see ‘compulsory’).
Show up – (also ‘turn up’) to attend a meeting, a party, or other gathering. Note that ‘turn up’ means to come without invitation or unexpectedly.
Abundant (adj) – if something is abundant, it is present in high quantity and easily available.
Impart wisdom – if you impart wisdom to somebody, you share valuable knowledge and experience to them, especially if you are older.
Stick in one’s mind – be very memorable, difficult to forget.
If one were so inclined – if you (or somebody else) really wanted to. Shows a hypothetical, imaginary situation (similar to Second Conditional grammar).
Vested interest – if someone has vested interest in something, they are interested in it to succeed because they will profit from it in some way.
Systematically (adv) – done following some plan at even intervals of time and successfully.
The extent of – the amount of something, how much something has been done or caused.
Get out of hand – go out of control, to lose control over something.
Disregard (v) – to deliberately pay no attention to something.
At the expense of – if something is done at the expense of someone or something, it means it is done at their disadvantage, they lose or suffer something because of it.
Media coverage – how media (the news, TV, radio, press) present something, such as an event or a situation.
Imagery (n) – visual materials, e. g. pictures.
On the flip side – on the other side.
Eye-opening experience – experience that changes your attitude towards something.
Harsh (adj) – rough, hard, unforgiving.

More IELTS Speaking questions, same topic :: More IELTS Speaking questions, next topic :: List of all IELTS Speaking topics

PDF Click to download this IELTS Speaking worksheet in PDF