Climate Change Podcast to learn English
Welcome to our final episode in our current podcast series. We hope you’ve enjoyed the stories we’ve told and we’re delighted to dedicate our final installment to the topic of climate change. We’ll hear a personal story from an Irish person making a real difference, we’ll listen to ten tips for making a difference in your own life, and we’ll hear about teenager Greta Thunberg and the protests she inspired around the world.
As always, you’ll find the scripts for each part of this episode here and don’t forget to check out the English Vocabulary about Climate Change at the end for words and phrases you may not have encountered before.
Episode Six: Vocabulary about the climate crisis
English Vocabulary about Climate Change
When it comes to tackling climate change, people often think, I am only one person, how can I truly make a difference? But the answer is: a lot. Not only can your small actions make an impact, it can also serve to inspire others. This episode is about climate action, and our first story is about Treasa, a 21 year old from Cape Clear Island.
My plans for 2020, like everyone else’s, took a big turn back in March. From planning an internship in Vietnam working with a fair trade cooperative for five months to living at home for seven months with my parents.
I’m from Cape Clear Island in West Cork. It’s just 3 miles long and one-mile wide, and has a population of about 120 people depending on the time of year. On Cape Clear, like on any island, the most basic of tasks aren’t that easy because everything has to go in and out on the ferry. Living here has shaped and strengthened my passion for sustainability.
Throughout the year, I took part in several climate actions. One of my personal favourites was the conservation project with my uncle and cousins. We repaired over 400m of dry stone wall on our family farm. This was an amazing experience. I learned a traditional skill which has been around for hundreds of years. This has given me a whole new appreciation and perspective for the land and the importance of preserving our natural habitats. I also organised a couple of beach clean-ups during spring and summer and received great support.
It was also during the lockdown that I worked on my main action: co-founding the first ever Cape Clear farmers market. I strongly believe in buying local, and in-season food, to the best of our abilities, so while I was home I realised we were importing all our food from the mainland. Living on an island in a rural area where agriculture is our biggest industry I questioned this. Why could we not buy at least some of our food from local producers on the island? It was in the weeks that followed that I came up with a solution with support from others, and we launched the first ever farmers market in July. It ran every week until mid September. The market gives farmers and producers a place to sell their produce locally and for locals and visitors to buy in season and local produce. We estimate that you can do around a third of your weekly shop at the market whilst also increasing the community’s awareness of their food system. At the market, there was a large emphasis put on packaging for both the stallholders and the customers as we encouraged them to bring their own containers.
We received great media reaction to this as I was involved in two United Nations’ events at the time speaking about food systems. It just goes to show how one small action can lead to great change. A few things I’ve learnt,
- is to question things.
- To take opportunities as they come along.
And finally 3.to make small changes. Because if not you, who, if not now, when.
So have you been inspired by Treasa’s story?
Well here are ten ways you can take Climate Action, and remember, you can just start with one.
- Limit your amount of fossil fuel:
Have a car-free day a week. Walk and cycle for short trips. Reduce your heating thermostat. Change to energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Climate conversations
Talk to family and friends about climate change, listen to them and through conversation we can help bring everyone along with us. Talk to your politicians and ask them what climate action they are taking to address the climate and biodiversity emergencies.
- Eat a more plant-based diet
Save money and improve your health. If cattle were their own nation they would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases!
- Reduce air miles
By taking less flights throughout the year you reduce your carbon footprint. Think before you fly.
- Refuse, reduce, recycle and rot
Prevent the waste from entering your home in the first place and refuse what you don’t need, especially single use plastics. Reduce the amount of waste you are producing by reducing the amount you are buying. Recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce, or reuse, and finally rot, or compost! Does your community provide a food waste bin, or a composting program? If not, welcome to the wonderful world of home composting!
- Shop local, organic and fair trade.
Look out for your local farmer’s market. By shopping for local grown food not only are you supporting local producers but also reducing how far your food has had to travel.
- Grow your own food
Even if you have a small garden, or just a balcony, you can have fun watching your delicious, fresh food grow, or why not try your hand at growing a few herbs!
- Avoid food waste
One third of all food currently goes to waste. So instead of throwing out your food, why not cook up meals in advance and put them in your freezer.
- Plant trees
Planting native trees in your area is an excellent way to help remove carbon from the atmosphere, benefiting your locality and the environment.
- Consume less, waste less
When you buy less, you in turn are wasting less. This gives you more time to go outside and connect with nature, and can make you feel much better than buying stuff.
Story Three: Greta Thunberg
If you are looking for more inspiration, then look no further than Greta Thunberg who has become a leading voice when it comes to climate change. Not only did she spark an international movement, but she inspired millions to join protests around the world. This is only part of her journey so far.
Aged just 15, Greta started protesting in front of the Swedish parliament building, and vowed to continue until the government met the carbon emissions target agreed by world leaders in Paris, in 2015.
Every Friday she would sit and hold a sign that read “School Strike for Climate”. It started small but soon her protests went viral spreading with the hashtag #FridaysForFuture. By December 2018, more than 20,000 students around the world had joined her in countries including Australia, the UK, Belgium, the US and Japan. She joined strikes around Europe, choosing to travel by train to limit her impact on the environment.
Greta then decided to take 2019 off school to continue campaigning, and attended key climate conferences, and joined other student protests around the world. She even addressed the UN climate conference where she scolded politicians for relying on young people for answers to climate change. She was later named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.
Thanks to Greta millions of people around the world have woken up to climate change. Sir David Attenborough summed it up well when he told her she had achieved things many others had failed to do, saying: “you have aroused the world. I’m very grateful to you.”
Thanks for listening, we hope you enjoyed today’s episode and the stories you heard. That’s it for now. Goodbye from all of us.
English Vocabulary about Climate Change:
This glossary accompanies Episode 5 of the podcast series and will provide short definitions of words and terms you heard or read which may be new or unfamiliar to you.
- tackling – dealing with or trying to manage
- dry stone wall – an ancient way of building walls in Ireland without using wet products, such as mud or cement
- in-season food – food that is available and at its best in a particular season, for example, in Ireland, in-season food in January would include kale, broccoli and carrots, but not tomatoes!
- stallholders – people who sell things at a stall (a temporary outdoor shop at a market)
- fossil fuel – fuels such as coal, gas, oil or peat
- rot – the process by which plant and animal materials break down (decay), adjective: rotten
- composting – a process which uses rotting plant material (from, for example, household rubbish) to create new material for growing plants
- spark – to start
- vowed – promised
- scolded – how you speak to someone (often a child) who has done something wrong. In Ireland we use the phrasal verb “give out to someone” to mean the same thing