THE ENVIRONMENT is a common topic in IELTS. Here is a list of words that you need to know to get a good score.
1. to discharge chemical waste
Meaning: to dispose of waste products from chemical processes.
Example: Nowadays, more and more company and industrial zones have beendischarging chemical waste into rivers, causing death to many fish and other aquatic animals.
2. environmental degradation
Meaning: the process or fact of the environment becoming worse
Example: Africa is a continent in which environmental degradation is evident in the spread of deserts and the extinction of animal species.
3. to take action on global warming
Meaning: to do what has to be done on problems related to global warming
Example: There have been numerous international conferences to warn of the dangers, but many governments have refused to take action on global warming.
4. to be bio-degradable
Meaning: a substance or chemical that can be changed to a natural harmless state by the action of bacteria
Example: Most plastics are not biodegradable, and remain as waste products in the environment for thousands of years.
5. to deplete natural resources
Meaning: To reduce the amount of natural resources.
Example: Timber companies must not be allowed to deplete naturalresources by cutting down trees without planting new trees to replace them.
6. ozone layer depletion
Meaning: refers to a steady decline in the total amount of ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere
Example: Ozone layer depletion has the effect of allowing harmful radiation from the sun to penetrate the atmosphere and this increases the risk to humans of skin cancer.
7. an ecological crisis
Meaning: a serious situation that occurs when the environment of a species or a population changes in a way that destabilizes its continued survival
Example: Environmental degradation caused by human activity is provoking an ecological crisis which threatens our existence.
8. carbon footprint
Meaning: a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced by the daily activities of a company or person
Example: By providing subsidies, governments should encourage companies to reduce their carbon footprint through energy efficiency or other ‘green measures’.
9. to cut down on emissions
Meaning: to reduce the amount of gases sent out into the air
Example: People must be made aware of the need tocut down on emissions from their cars if we are to reduce air pollution.
10. to fight climate change
Meaning: To try to prevent changes in climate patterns, such as rainfall, temperature and winds.
Example: Unless we consume less of the Earth’s natural resources, it will be impossible to fight climate change and safeguard our future.
11. to reduce the dependence/reliance on fossil fuels
Meaning: to decrease people’s consumption of fossil fuels, like oil, coal or gas.
Example: Governments must invest heavily in solar and wind energy projects in order to reduce our dependence/reliance on fossil fuels.
12. to alleviate environmental problems
Meaning: to make bad environmental problems less severe
Example: Everyone can assist in the effort to alleviate environmentalproblems in the local community through simple actions such as recycling waste or planting a tree in their garden.
13. to throw one’s weigh behind sth
Meaning: To use one’s influence to help support
Example: The council is to throw its weight behind a campaign to save one of the borough’s best-loved beauty spots.
14. to hold sbdy accountable for + noun/gerund
Meaning: to consider someone responsible for something; to blame something on someone
Example: Companies which discharge chemical waste from their factories into the sea or into rivers must be held accountable for their actions and be fined heavily.
15. to achieve sustainable development
Meaning: economic development that is achieved without depleting natural resources
Example: Organic methods must be introduced everywhere in order to achieve sustainable development in agriculture.
16. alternative energy sources
Meaning: refers to any energy source that is an alternative to fossil fuel
Example: Clean energy which does not pollute the Earth can only come from greater reliance on alternative energy sources.
17. food miles
Meaning: Distance food has to travel between where it is grown or made and where it is consumed
Example: We can all reduce our carbon footprint by flying less, and reduce our food miles by buying local products.
18. captive breeding
Meaning: the reproduction of animals in confinement, not in their natural habitats.
Example: A successful captive breeding program in zoos has resulted in an increase in the world’s panda population.
19. to stem from
Meaning: to be caused by
Example: Scientists say that global warming partly stems from the increase in car exhaust emissions.
20. environmental impact assessment
Meaning: a study into how a development, like a new road, a new dam or other construction activity will affect the plants, animals and local communities living in an area.
Example: The government must commission an independent environmental impact assessment whenever a new development is proposed.
21. the greenhouse effect
Meaning: the natural process by which the sun warms the surface of the Earth. The greenhouse effect occurs when Earth’s atmosphere traps solar radiation because of the presence of certain gases, which causes short wavelength visible sunlight shines through the glass panes and warms the air and the plants inside.
Example: Our burning of fossil fuels is increasing the greenhouse effect and making the Earth hotter, endangering all life on the planet.
22. global warming
Meaning: the process by which the Earth is getting hotter, as a result of the greenhouse effect – in particular the increase in carbon dioxide in the air.
Example: Perhaps the major environmental challenge which faces humanity today is global warming, because it threatens our survival.
23. habitat destruction
Meaning: the process that occurs when a natural habitat, like a forest or wetland, is changed so dramatically by humans that plants and animals which live there.
Example: The elephant population in the world is declining because of habitat destruction caused by human exploitation of the environment.
24. endangered species
Meaning: plants or animals that only exist in very small numbers, so that in future they may disappear forever
Example: One example of an endangered species is the lowland gorilla, which has almost disappeared as a result of the destruction of its forest habitat.
25. on the brink of extinction
Meaning: an animal or plant which has almost disappeared from the planet
Example: Before the captive breeding program in zoos, the giant panda was on the brink of extinction.
26. renewable energy
Meaning: energy is renewable when it source, like the sun or wind, cannot be exhausted or can easily be replaced (like wood, as we can plant trees for energy)
Example: More funding is required from government funds to help companies to develop renewable energy, such as companies which produce solar panels for buildings.
27. wind farms
Meaning: an area of land on which there are a lot of windmills or wind
turbines for producing electricity
Example: Wind farms should be constructed in mountainous areas or in the sea, close to land.
28. environmentally friendly
Meaning: behavior or products that do not harm the environment
Example: We can help to protect the environment by using detergents and cosmetics that are environmentally friendly.
29. toxic waste
Meaning: poisonous, unwanted waste produced by factories
Example: Many species of fish are endangered as a result of the toxic waste dumped by industries into the rivers and the sea.
30. the green movement
Meaning: all the organisations concerned with the protection of the environment
Example: Individuals should join one of the organisations which form part of the green movement, in order to campaign for changes in official policy on the environment.