You want to learn how to speak English fluently, but do not know where to start? Rather than force you to read a lot, I will give you the answer up front. To improve your English-speaking skills, you need to listen to native English speakers.
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Most traditional approaches to learning to speak the English language focus on reading and writing in English. How they expect this to help you “speak” English is crazy. How anyone expects to solve a speaking problem when they spend 80% of their time reading and writing is beyond us.
To improve your speaking skills, you need to focus on listening to native English speakers until you can understand much more than you can speak. While you listen to English being spoken you will build your English vocabulary and grammar automatically.
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Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. If you’re keen on improving your English, want to speak more like a native, want to understand English better, then keep listening regularly to authentic English. Speak English already? Then use Adept English to keep your conversation skill polished and current. So let’s practice your understanding of spoken English today.
Let’s do a lesson today, which is related to one we touched on last week. Apparently there is due to be disruption through central London this week, because of climate change protests. So today’s topic is related to last week’s article about Greta Thunberg and worries about climate change. So ‘disruption’? ‘Disruption’ is a noun and it means disturbance, getting in the way of how something normally works. If there’s disruption on the roads, it means that there will be lots of cars queuing, for example, traffic jams, if you like. And ‘climate change protest’? Well the ‘climate’, as we said last week means the weather, the rainfall, the temperature, the seasons of the year – and ‘climate change’ is the observation that say the overall temperature is rising, the weather’s doing strange things, ice in the Arctic is melting etc. That’s climate change. And usually this goes with the sense that these things are not natural, not reversible.
So ‘climate change protest’? So ‘protest’, that’s P-R-O-T-E-S-T. Well, that’s one of those words which is both a noun – you can say ‘a protest’ - and a verb, ‘to protest’. Notice the different emphasis on there – PROtest and proTEST. ‘To protest’ means that you are raising your objection, you’re saying NO to something. So disruption in central London next week, because of climate change protest.
So the organisation which is planning the disruption - they’re called XR or Extinction Rebellion. ‘Extinction’ is a noun – there’s a lot of vocabulary here, isn’t there? And ‘extinction’ is when something stops existing, stops being. For example, animals face ‘extinction’, when the number of a particular species is so low that they’re in danger. ‘Extinction’ means ‘ending’ - there are no more. And ‘Rebellion’ again is a noun, related to the verb ‘to rebel’. If you ‘rebel’ or you ‘stage a rebellion’, it means you’re refusing to accept something, you go against what’s expected of you. Rebellion is similar to protest, but it has a stronger meaning – rebellion implies action, whereas protest tends to mean that you say no by speaking or you make your feelings known in a gentle way or by refusing to do something. And Extinction Rebellion or XR, well, it’s a British organisation, led by someone called Roger Hallam.
Roger Hallam used to be a farmer, but because of his concerns about global warming and his concern about changes in the weather, he went to Kings College London to study what’s known as ‘civil disobediance’ and he’s become somewhat of an expert in this field. ‘Civil’, C-I-V-I-L – means ‘to do with your citizenship’. And ‘disobediance’ is the act of ‘not doing what you’re told’. If you tell a child to do something – and then they don’t do it, you might say that this was ‘disobediance’. It comes from the verb ‘to disobey’ - meaning to refuse to do what you are told to. And ‘disobey’ comes from the verb ‘to obey’. So ‘to obey’ and ‘to disobey’ - they’re opposites. So if you ‘obey’ someone, you do what they tell you to. So if ‘civil disobediance’ is part of what you want to do, you do things which are purposefully disruptive, which you hope will make your point, get your point, your opinion across. Previously XR protesters have done things like spraying buildings with fake blood, or sitting down in the middle or the road – and stopping the trafiic and refusing to move. Despite the name Extinction Rebellion, the proposed aim is for peaceful, non-violent protest.
Roger Hallam says he is ‘dedicated to telling the truth’ about climate change. He says that the government is not telling the truth about climate change - they’re hiding the data. He has quite a difficult message to get across. He thinks that there will be ‘social collapse’, that the world will not be able to carry on within the next 10 years. He says that there is a ‘climate emergency’ - and calls for zero carbon emissions by 2025. Carbon, C-A-R-B-O-N is a chemical atom, it’s all around us – the symbol is C like in Carbon Dioxide or CO2. And ‘carbon emission’ means the amount of carbon that’s released from various actions. So ‘carbon emissions’ happen in farming, like if you grow something – so like cows for beef for a hamburger.
Or there is a ‘carbon emission’ if you take a flight on an aeroplane. Or there are ‘carbon emissions’ from driving your car – and you might measure this per year in grammes. Do you remember how German car maker Volkswagen were in trouble for not telling the truth about carbon emissions from their cars? So we might also talk about your ‘carbon footprint’. A footprint is what your foot might leave behind in the snow, so your ‘carbon footprint’ is the amount of carbon emission that your particular choices, your lifestyle causes. So the current government target, what the government are aiming for, is that we are carbon neutral – that is we make no overall carbon emission – by the year 2050. But Roger Hallam’s organisation, Extinction Rebellion or XR are calling for the UK to be carbon neutral by 2025. This is a much more aggressive target and would mean really big lifestyle changes for us all. 2025 – that’s only five years away!
So a ‘climate emergency’ means there is an emergency, an urgent, critical situation for the climate. Roger Hallam thinks that ‘social collapse’ will happen because people will starve, they’ll be without food, because the weather systems will become so disrupted that our sources of food will end within the next few years. He calls for fundamental change in the systems which deliver food and in the ‘normality of our lives’.
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Description: A photograph of a man holding a baby you cannot tell the gender of the baby. Used to help explain English grammar she, he and they.
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So back to the subject. Whether or not you agree with Roger Hallam, one of his arguments is rather like Greta Thunberg’s argument. If you are young, you have more investment in the continuation of our planet, because you are going to be around for that much longer. What will the world’s ecology be like in 60 or 70 years time? How much damage will we have done by then? It’s perhaps difficult to imagine, but in that length of time, whether or not we take notice of climate change and what we do about it, choices we make now will really start to matter in that length of time.
However Extinction Rebellion and Roger Hallam are the more extreme end of the climate change opinion – and protest and protesters. His predictions are terrible – and it’s really difficult to listen to. The message is challenging! If you listen to what he suggests, then you have to become not just vegetarian, but vegan – meaning that you eat no animal products, not even dairy. It means you mustn’t own a car, and that you mustn’t travel – you must never take an aeroplane flight again. That’s a hard message for people, difficult lifestyle changes to make. They say that we need ‘complete system change’. Everything will have to work differently.
Lots of people also disagree with the methods, the strategies employed by Extinction Rebellion, even though they are peaceful and supposedly non-violent. Recently they threatened to disrupt Heathrow Airport, by flying drones into the air space. In fact, the people with the drones were arrested pretty quickly and the airport operated as normal. So what’s planned for central London this week?
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Well apparently they‘re going to try and close down the district of Westminster and Lambeth in central London. And that’s of course where the British Parliament is – and where the famous Westminster Bridge is. They’re also planning to disrupt the operation of London’s City Airport. They’re hoping that as many as 20,000 to 30,000 people will be involved in the protests. Similar disruption is planned in other cities in the world too – Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid, New York, Washington etc.
So let us know if you get caught up in these demonstrations, these protests. And let us know also if you’re one of the protesters. I’ve got to go into London as normal on Monday 7th October. Will I get to work? Mmm. Let’s see what happens!
This podcast is designed to help you improve your understanding of spoken English. Speak better English with Adept English. And also have better English conversation!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming https://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/exercises.php https://preply.com/en/blog/2018/07/03/improve-your-english-pronunciation/ https://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/speaking.php https://www.talkenglish.com/vocabulary/english-vocabulary.aspx