RELATED VOCABULARY: Talking about the environment

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In this lesson, we are focusing on IELTS vocabulary for the environment – pollution, solutions to the problem etc.

Take a look at the list below. How many words do you know? We will soon be adding vocabulary exercises to these pages, but for now, we hope the lists help!

Other words for environment

  • habitat – the natural home of an animal or plant
  • the natural world – used when talking about nature
  • ecology – the relationship between animals and plants to their natural environment
  • Dwelling – place where animals or plants live

IELTS vocabulary for the environmentEnvironmental issues

  • Deforestation – clearing trees; changing forest into bare land
  • Overpopulation – when there are too many of a species, more than available resources can support
  • Intensive farming – farming techniques that can have a long term effect on the land
  • Extinction – where an entire species of animal or plant is completely killed off; there are no more on the planet
  • Greenhouse effect – where the sun’s warmth is trapped inside the atmosphere due to greenhouse gases
  • Renewable energy – where electricity is generated from sources that are not reduced by using them (e.g. hydro power or solar power)
  • Fossil fuels – a natural fuel that often has an environmental impact when used (coal, gas and oil)

Types of pollution / other words you can use

  • Acid rain – this is caused by rain becoming acidic due to air pollution
  • contamination – this is where something is damaged or affected by another form of pollution (a secondary effect)
  • Emissions – these are gases that are released into the atmosphere (e.g. car exhaust emissions)
  • Soil erosion – when soil is easily washed away because trees or other plants are no longer holding it in place. Commonly happens after deforestation
  • Toxic waste – this is the by product of producing something that is dangerous to the environment. Nuclear power has a lot of toxic waste.
  • Smog – a thick form of air pollution that is like a fog (common in many large cities like London or Beijing)

Solutions to environmental problems

  • Recycling – converting waste into something that is reusable
  • Conservation – to keep something safe / protected; preventing damage of injury
  • biodegradable – packaging or a product that decay (break down) naturally and harmlessly, therefore avoiding pollution
  • Preservation – this is similar to conservation. The main difference is that conservation does allow changes that are not dangerous – preservation aims to maintain the present condition without changes.
  • sustainable development – economic development where natural resources are used in a limited way and can therefore continue (e.g. planting new trees after cutting down existing trees)

The people involved

  • Activists – people who campaign for the environment / environmental protection (Greenpeace, for example)
  • Conservationists – people who acts to protect the environment. NOTE: we do not use the word ‘preservationist’

We hope you found this IELTS vocabulary for the environment useful – now take a look at the other pages in the vocabulary section!



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