新视野大学英语2读写教程课文原文unit 2 Environmental Protection
Please listen to a short passage carefully and prepare to answer some questions.
Listen to the tape again. Then answer the following questions with your own experiences.
1) Why are most countries not concerned about environmental awareness?
2) Which two countries have taken steps to protect their rain forests?
3) Which is the most polluted industrial area in the world? What is the result of this pollution?
Environmental Protection Throughout the World
In most parts of the world, environmental awareness does not exist. The great majority of nations concern themselves with economic development, regardless of its effect on the global ecology. But in recent years, as environmental damage has increased, signs of change have sprung up in various pockets around the world. The following are a few examples of countries undertaking new environmental initiatives.
When European explorers first came to the New World, the fishing grounds off what would become eastern Canada and New England held abundant cod and other species. The area, called the Grand Banks, was the most abundant fishing ground in the world.
Now, 500 years later, excessive fishing has reduced the number of fish to dangerously low levels. In response, Canada has closed the area to cod fishing and set strict limits on catches of other species.
When Canada took similar measures to protect the supply of herring in the 1970s, the fish eventually recovered. But experts say that some species today have been so wasted, they may never recover. The government also faces protests from Canadian fishermen. About 40,000 are now unemployed as a result of the fishing bans and loss of their fish supply.
This Central American country has one of the most ambitious programs in the world to preserve the ecological diversity of its tropical rain forests. Much of the country has already been clear-cut, and soil erosion has been extensive. But a series of new environmental laws, together with the creation of parks and nature preserves that cover one quarter of the country, are aimed at protecting Costa Rica's remaining forests.
Brazil is home to the world's largest jungle rain forest, the Amazon. For decades, the government sought to colonize and develop the Amazon, bringing severe environmental disaster to the area and its people.
But in 1991, under pressure from environmentalists around the world, Brazil reversed course. It ended tax favors that had encouraged clearing of the Amazon rain forest, and agreed to a plan to finance new forest protection projects.
Cattle farmers, miners, and settlers have protested the move and continue to destroy the forests, although at a slower pace than before. The conflict enlarged last year when miners killed a group of Amazon Indians in order to seize their land. The government promises it will protect the region's native people, but questions remain as to its true level of commitment.
The nations of Eastern Europe, including Poland, Hungary, and the Czech and Slovak Republics, are considered the most polluted of all the world's industrialized countries. Heavy metals from coal mining have contaminated much of the area's waters. Rivers, land, and forests are so contaminated that many are now biologically dead.
In a special series of treaties, Eastern European countries and other nations, including the United States, have set up special funds for environmental cleanups and improving the region's power plants. In addition, Germany and the Czech Republic have signed a treaty to protect the Elbe River from further contamination. Experts say the treaty could serve as a model for protecting other rivers in the region, including the Oder and Danube.
Ghana's population has been growing by 3.2 percent a year. This explosive growth has led to removal of forests in much of the country, and excessive use of existing farmland. Forests have been cut down at the rate of 278 square miles a year.
In response, the government has urged local villages to create more shared farmland. It has sponsored the growing of cash crops such as cassava, maize, cotton, and the planting of trees to regenerate waste land. Observers say the program has succeeded in strengthening the country's agricultural base and bringing a new source of wealth to villagers. But it remains to be seen whether these measures will have enough impact to slow the rate of removing the forests.
Indonesians have traditionally favored large families, and their major religion, Islam, frowns on birth control. But with 188 million people, the country is now struggling to provide enough food, shelter, and employment for its people. In recent years, the government has waged a massive ad campaign to encourage birth control, offering inducements such as free trips to Mecca, the birthplace of Islam in Saudi Arabia.
The government has succeeded in increasing use of birth control from 10 percent of the population 20 years ago to 49 percent today. As a result, the average number of births has been cut from 5.6 children per woman to 3. The government hopes to reduce this average to 2.1 children per woman by 2005. But with such a large population base, the country must still convert millions more to the idea of birth control if it is to reach its population targets.