IELTS Speaking topic - nature and the environment 1

IELTS Speaking topic – Nature and the environment #1

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 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 we had to rent a bus to get there.
Even though attendance wasn’t mandatory almost all of my classmates turned up – they were so 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, taking pictures of various birds and rodents there. It was a nice change from our regular classroom activities. The teacher imparted some wisdom on 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 the pleasant physical exertion. 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 was so inclined it would be fairly easy to answer this question. However, owners of such industries and other parties with vested interest 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, leaving puddles of oil it is difficult to say that contribution to emissions is sole responsibility of industries.

Do you believe that humanity will be able to coexist with nature peacefully in the future?
To address this question we have to take a look at the current trend of 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 the 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 of nature being important is biodiversity – the number 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 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 to 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 periods of hundreds of years. 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 natural world, how fragile the biosphere and the environment in general is likely to be effective. Once an individual learns the true scope of their impact and how it affects next generations is a truly eye-opening experience. The other way is to introduce penalties and fines for littering, improper oil disposal and other such 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 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, use must do it and have no choice about it, (see ‘compulsory’)
Turn up – (also ‘show up’) to attend a meeting, a party or other gathering where you should come to
Abundant (adj) – if something is abundant it is present in high quantity and easily available
Stick in one’s mind – be very memorable, difficult to forget
If one was so inclined – if you (or somebody else) really wanted to
Vested interest – if someone has vested interested 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 to something
Harsh (adj) – rough, hard, unforgiving

PDF Click to download this IELTS Speaking worksheet in PDF