Modern humans have lived on Earth for about 300,000 years, but it took until 1960 for the population to reach 3 billion. However, in just 40 years, that figure has doubled – and by the year 2050 it is predicted that many as 10 billion people may inhabit the Earth.
Since life first appeared on Earth more than 3,5 billion years ago, many living things have become extinct as a result of natural events. These have included the eruption of volcanoes as well as meteorite showers hitting the earth. In 1980, the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington devastated nearby forests and killed 2 million birds, fish and mammals.
Despite continuing research and discoveries, the natural world is still full of mysteries and unsolved puzzles. Scientists are still unsure why animal life suddenly flourished about 550 million years ago, more than 3 billion years after life itself appeared. This relatively short period, called “Cambrian explosion” produced a vast range of new species in the world’s seas.
Notes: It took for the population… – Населению понадобилось…
topredict – предсказывать mammal - млекопитающее
toinhabit – населять despite – несмотря на
eruption – извержение to flourish – процветать
to devastate – опустошение Cambrian – кембрийский (геол.), уэльский
2. Find in the text the equivalents to the following word combinations:
современные люди; населять землю; живые существа; природные явления; извержение вулканов; метеоритные дожди; близлежащие леса; продолжающееся исследование; неразгаданные загадки; относительно короткий период; огромное количество
3. Select the statement that best expresses the main idea of the text.
It is predicted that as many as 10 billion people may inhabit the Earth.
Eruptions of volcanoes and meteorite showers hit the Earth.
The natural world is still full of mysteries and unsolved puzzles.
Scientists are still unsure why animal life suddenly flourished about 550 million years ago.
4. Is it true or false? Correct the wrong statements.
Modern humans have lived on Earth for about 500,000 years ago.
It is predicted that as many as 10 billion people may live on the Earth.
Life on Earth appeared more than 3,6 billion years ago.
Many living things have become extinct as a result of natural events.
Very often the eruption of volcanoes devastate nearby forests and kill birds, fish and animals.
Nowadays the mysteries of natural world are solved.
About 550 million years ago, animal life suddenly flourished.
The “Cambrian explosion” produced a vast number of new species.
5. Retell the text.
6. Read the following English proverbs and learn them by heart. Match the right Russian equivalents from the given below.
Nature abhors a vacuum.
Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians.
To sit on a barrel of gun-powder.
To play with fire.
Nature is stronger than rearing.
(Жить как на вулкане. Как волка ни корми, он всё в лес смотрит. Природа не терпит пустоты. Играть с огнём. Природа, время и терпение – три лучших доктора.)
7. Global warming, ozone holes, acid rains are just a few challenges we are facing nowadays. What other ecological problems can you name? Find the information on the Internet and retell it.
Reading for Translating
Habitats in Danger The Earth is a home to millions of different kinds of living things, which are linked in many ways. Together, they make up the complex world of nature. Some are rivals or enemies while others depend on each other for survival.
Wild plants and animals live in a particular set of surroundings, called their habitat. Nowadays people are in a hurry to change habitats to suit their own needs – to create farmlands or build cities, for example. The way people live threatens the delicate balance between living things and their habitats.
People create pollution, which travels through the air and water from one habitat to another. They also destroy wildlife habitats by digging the ground up for mining, or by building roads through them.
A quarter of all the plants in the world are known to be in danger or threatened with extinction.
The most serious threat to plants is the destruction of their habitat. This includes cutting down rainforests, draining wetlands, and plowing up grasslands. As population increases, people demand more space. The trees are cut down for timber or make way for farms and mines, but forest clearance causes many long-term problems such as soil erosion, floods, and droughts. An area of a football field is cut down every second. If this continues, the rest of the rainforests could disappear within 40 years.
Marshes, peat bogs, and other wetlands are important habitats. Coastal wetlands are spawning grounds for fish, lobsters, and shrimps. More than half of European wetlands has been drained for agriculture, flood control or tourism. Pollution from farms and towns also damages wetlands. Conservation laws, pollution control, and less intensive farming would help them recover.
Speaking Read the dialogue and learn it by heart. Act it out. Bessy: It’s an interesting world we live in, isn’t it?
Linda: Yes, indeed. We fly to other planets and discover old manuscripts.
Bessy: We build, build, and build…
Linda: …And pollute our beautiful planet.
Bessy: Yes. When I went with my parents to the seaside last summer, I was surprised to see
that the water was not blue but brown with rubbish floating in it.
Linda: Besides, millions of tons of oil are released into the sea every year.
Bessy: We can only imagine how many seabirds and animals die because of it.
Linda: And those ozone holes…
Bessy: I think people will be able to solve this problem.
Linda: Let’s stop using our aerosol spray right now.
Bessy: That’s a great idea!
PART II ECOLOGY Unit 1
Ecology as a Science “The first law of ecology is
that everything is related to everything else.”
~ Barry Commoner
“If we do not permit the Earth to produce beauty and joy,
it will in the end not produce food either.”
~ Joseph Woodkrutch
Warm up The bright blue of the sky, fresh, crystal-clear mountain lake water, the rich green of the mountains slopes, wild flower, picturesque views – all these sceneries of nature fill us with admiration. That’s why those who live in cities prefer spending their days off and their holidays far from the noise of the city, to be closer to nature. Perhaps they like to breathe fresh air or to swim in clear water because the ecology is not so poor as in the cities.
Ecology is a science, which studies the relationship between all forms of life on our planet with its environment. This word came from the Greek "oikos" which means "home". This idea of "home" includes the whole planet of ours: its population, the Nature, animals, birds, fish, insects, all other living beings and even the atmosphere around our planet.
- Do you think that Ecology as a science is very important nowadays? Why?
Word Study 1. Give the Russian equivalents to the following words:
symbol, publish, combination, icon, popularity, poster, banner, associate, discipline, abiotic, biotic, biochemical, cycling, maximum, molecular, paleoecology, theoretical, expedition, association, analyze, observe, limit, atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, familiarity, conservation, commerce, scale
2. Guess the meaning of the underlined words. Translate the sentences.
1) Biomes are the classification of globally similar areas, including ecosystems, such as ecologicalcommunities of plants and animals, soil organisms and climatic conditions. 2) Biomes are based on various factors such as plant structures, leaf types, plant spacing and climate. 3) The word “ecology” is also used in the medical field and has a somewhat different meaning. 4) Ecology is a study of the interactions between bio-life and its physical environment. 5) A major component of ecological study usually focuses on the ecosystem of an area. 6) The discipline of ecology emerged from the natural sciences in the late 19th century. 7) Ecology is closely related to the disciplines of physiology, evolution, genetics and behavior.
3. Translate the following word combinations:
the study of ecology; varied ecosystems; the field of ecology; to gain popularity; the founding of Earth Day; widely popular; the problems associated with ecology ;to venture into living green; at the right place; interdisciplinary scientific study; distribution and abundance of organisms; from population processes to biochemical cycling; a multidisciplinary science; aside from pure scientific inquiry; to range from large to small scale; to extend maritime commerce; early in the 20th century; due to the discoveries of new chemistry; within the strict limits of earth’s layer
4. Match the word from list A with its definition in list B.
be involved in
a) state precisely the meaning of
b) investigation, question
c) collision; strong impression or effect
d) general direction, tendency
e) gas without colour, taste or smell, forming about four-fifth of the atmosphere