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Making Green Choices

Traditionally many Americans have thought of their country as a nation with a limitless supply of resources. This perspective has caused a rather slow awakening of environmental awareness. But gradually most Americans seem to realise that they need to think differently about their consumption. Pre-reading activity:

Kelly about Environment

Some of the key issues in this text are recycling, renewable energy sources and the will to make “green choices”. Listen to what Kelly has to say about the situation.

Kelly Talking about the Environment

Kelly Talking about the Environment
  1. What does Kelly say about The USA compared to international environmental movements?
  2. She uses the expression “to go green”. What does she mean by that?
  3. What examples does she mention of environmental awareness in her school and local community?
  4. How do young people respond to environmental issues?

Protecting the environment is one of the major political issues today. It is discussed in high places, and scientists all over the world are dedicated to studying and mapping cause and effect. Most people feel that the various environmental threats will increase in impact and cause an imbalance in ecosystems and in the atmosphere. However, many of us are waiting for governments and international organizations to solve the issues for us.

Time for Action

Such a passive attitude will not solve any environmental problems. Saving our world from environmental disasters starts with the decisions and priorities we make in our everyday lives. Have you bought a smaller car? Do you cycle to work or go by train instead of plane? These are actions that contribute to protecting our environment. Do you throw out things that are still working, replacing them with new models? Keep this up and you may find yourself one day replaced by a hardier species.

Consumer Frenzy

Everything is so cheap these days that it is tempting to throw out perfectly good items and replace them with fancier versions. How old is your mobile, and how many have you had? There’s no denying that the new models are tempting to buy. But don’t. Throwing away the old one doesn’t mean it disappears. It just adds to the heaps of rubbish growing to mountain sized dumps on fertile land or sea beds. You may think it is being reused in some way, and a lot is recycled, but recycling and producing new goods requires huge amounts of energy – which again adds to the burning of fossil fuels. Energy is required to run factories and to power garbage trucks, garbage sorting facilities, delivery vans and so forth.

The Paradox of Bottled Water

It seems like we’re not even willing to bend down and turn on a faucet to drink tap water. We need fancy bottled water, even though it costs a lot more. Evidently, it is worth it. However, we waste money on producing plastic, transporting water, building production facilities, paying for advertising . . . .

Research shows that bottled water does not necessarily live up to its reputation as being healthier than tap water. In 2003, the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) published the findings of a 4-year study revealing that bottled water regulations in the US are inadequate to guarantee either purity or safety. In short, drinking "clean" water from a bottle has many consequences for the environment and probably no consequences for your health. Think about it, act upon it and spread the word. Recycling consumes energy and work, and burning it is no alternative. The solution is don’t buy it!

Tasks and Activities


The last two paragraphs are written with a sarcastic tone. How does the author express this tone? Why do you think he uses sarcasm? Do you think he will achieve his goal?

Project Work

Watch this video, and discuss the possibility of making a video yourself covering an environmental issue.

Make a list of equipment you will need, and write a script in which you lay out the various stages of your film production.

It may be a good idea to do this as a cross disciplinary subject (tverrfaglig).

Bottled Water

Learning content

Literature, culture and society

What is core content and additional content?



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