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The Environment and Global Economies

As we enter the new millennium, the challenge for humankind is to transform the existing economy into one that does not, threaten or destroy the environment. This Environmental Revolution can be compared to the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution of the past.

Archaeological findings reveal that the great civilizations at the dawn of history pursued economies that were fairly destructive to the environment. However, the people then were unable to change what they were doing because they did not understand what was happening. Either that or they could not persuade their governments to bring about the necessary changes.

Today, however, we have the power to bring about changes to stop the destruction of the environment because we are becoming more aware of how our lives are shaped by the environment. Even when events do not directly affect us, reports in the mass media expose us to the extensive damage caused by such events. Fishery collapses, water shortages, rainforests burning uncontrollably, sudden deaths of birds, dolphins and fish, record heat waves, and raging storms that cause widespread destruction only serve to increase our awareness that our survival depends on the weather which in turn depends on our ability to maintain the ecological balance.

Decades before, it was mainly environmental activists who played a dominant role in drawing attention to the gradual destruction of the environment. Today, directors of large corporations, government ministers, prominent scientists and intelligence agencies are speaking out on the need to change. They have a clear sense of what has to be done for they know that the current economy cannot take us as far as we want to go under the present circumstances.

People can now make decisions that will help restructure economies. For example, companies who want to buy timber products can decide whether to buy from companies that are managing forests in a responsible manner or from companies suspected of illegal logging practices. Consumers in the United States, for example, can choose to buy power from 'green' sources as consumers become more aware of different energy sources available. Governments can also decide to become a 'green consumer' by opting for sources of electricity that are climate-friendly and buy paper that has a high recycled content.

Time is of the essence and the new economic practices must be accepted quickly. The only way this can be done is to spread accurate information quickly and on a regular basis. For example, information on climatic changes, and of how the inefficient use of water can lead to food shortages must be shared. Media coverage of environmental trends and events must also be stepped up. Can the global economy be restructured in time before environmental deterioration in turn, leads to economic decline?


Why do you think the author compared the Environmental Revolution to the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution ?


These Revolutions had a great impact on the lives of people.

    (B) These Revolutions took place a long time ago.
    (C) These Revolutions took place over many, many years.
    (D) These Revolutions brought about bloodshed.

Why couldn't people in the past stop the destruction of the environment ?

    (A) They were ignorant simple peaceful people.

They did not realize that their actions were slowly destroying the environment.

    (C) They did not know people in the governments.
    (D) Their governments did not believe that the environment was being destroyed.

The people of today have become more aware of the relationship between the weather, environment and global economies because of

    (A) the havoc caused by storms and beat waves
    (B) the efforts of governments

extensive media coverage

    (D) collapsed fisheries

Who is paying more attention to preserving the environment today ?

    (A) Environmental activists as opposed to big companies
    (B) Strong individuals as opposed to weak individuals

Public corporations as opposed to individuals

    (D) Ecologists as opposed to economists

How can business decisions affect economies and consequently, the environment ?

    (A) If a country buys paper from only one company, the other paper-producing companies will have no market and so their revenue will decrease.

If countries decide to buy paper with a high recycled content, then paper-producing countries must heed to this demand, otherwise there will be no demand for their products.

    (C) Paper-producing countries must plant more trees to meet the demand for paper, otherwise they may not have any more trees to produce paper.
    (D) Companies wishing to buy paper often scrutinize the type of paper because they only want to buy paper with a high recycled content.
  6. What is the writer trying to convey in the expression Time is of the essence.
    (A) The very essence of life is time
    (B) it is important

We must not delay

    (D) Time is life
  7. The writer emphasizes two elements in the last paragraph : time and
    (A) climatic changes
    (B) environmental trends

the sharing of information

    (D) food shortages
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  Answers : 1) A    2) B    3) C    4) C    5) B     6) C     7) C

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Comprehension 1


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