Carbon Neutral

I nave noticed more and more articles about the environment in the news in recent years. I think this is great because it is very important for people to be aware of the effect that their actions have on the whole world.

One of the key phrases in the environmental news over the last years has been ‘carbon neutral’ but what does it mean? There is a good explanation along with a lot of other useful words fro talking about the environment on the Carbon Neutral Journal’s website.

The basic idea behind it is not to release any carbon dioxide into the atmosphere or to compensate for any carbon released by doing something to consume carbon dioxide from the air or paying a company to do it for you. The amount of carbon a person or process releases into the atmosphere is called a ‘carbon footprint’.

There was an article on the BBC website a few days ago which puts this vocabulary into context nicely. It also contains some other interesting pieces of vocabulary. I spotted this near the end of the article:

But many environmentalists say their stance is nevertheless important, as they provide a lead for other countries to follow.

‘Stance’ can mean a way of standing but in this example it means their opinion or policy on the matter. We can also say ‘Where do you stand on this matter?’, meaning ‘what is your opinion/policy on this matter?’.

The next phrase is in the penultimate paragraph where Nick Nuttal is quoted as saying:

“In a sense, they are paving the way for medium and larger economies which have to move if we are going combat climate change,”

Here, ‘paving the way’ means that they are providing an example for others and that is will be easier for people to do it in the future. We often see this expression in a more complete way of saying this would be ‘paving the way for others to follow’. There is a more detailed description of ‘paving’ in this post.

What do you do to help protect the environment?

New Monkey

There was an interesting article in the science news on Reuters.com last week about a new sub-species of monkey discovered in the Amazon rain forest. It think it’s amazing that scientists continue to discover more animals and it makes me feel excited that there are parts of the words that are still so remote and unexplored.

The first interesting piece of vocabulary is in the sixth paragraph:

The study found that the monkey is threatened by development projects in the region, including a major highway through the forest that is being paved and which could fuel deforestation.

In this example, the word ‘paved’ means to build the road, especially to lay the covering surface of the road (E.g. asphalt or concrete).

The second interesting phrase is in the following paragraph. Fabio Rohe is quoted as saying:

“This discovery should serve as a wake-up call that there is still so much to learn from the world’s wild places, yet humans continue to threaten these areas with destruction,”

A ‘wake-up call’ is usually a when someone calls you on the telephone in the morning in order to way you up. Lots of hotels offer this service and it’s very useful if you have forgotten to pack your alarm clock! In the example above, it has a slightly different meaning. It means to draw attention to a matter that may be dangerous or have a negative effect on people in the future.

Are you worried about the environment? If so, what do you do to help protect it?