Here are just a few of the environmental problems our world is experiencing in 2022. Match the pictures to the terms below.

___ Water Pollution
___ Endangered Species
___ Land Pollution
___ Deforestation
___ Air Pollution
___ Climate Change



Discuss: Besides the problems mentioned in the first activity, can you name some other environmental issues? What are the top three most critical environmental issues, in your opinion? Choose one and write a few sentences about why you think it’s such a big problem.

 When you really start to look into all the problems our planet is facing right now, and the possible solutions that environmentalists have been debating and trying to implement1 for decades already, you’ll see that there is no simple solution to fix our planet.

Maybe one individual can’t do much to make massive changes that would bring all issues to a halt2; otherwise someone would’ve done that already. But luckily, there are some things we each can do to help, and if everyone does them, together we can slowly turn the tide and
save our planet.
There are three commonly known ways to change your environmental impact3; you probably already learned them at school:

Reduce means that you use fewer things that have a negative impact on the environment, e.g., by using reusable bags at the grocery store instead of buying plastic ones every time. Or instead of wrapping4 your sandwich in several layers of plastic wrap, you carry it in a little reusable box.

Reusing means that you use something more than once to get more use out of it. Like if you buy a pair of shoes, instead of tossing out5 the box, you can use it to store something. And if you do use a plastic grocery bag, use it as many times as possible to get the most use out of it as possible.

Recycling is a term I hope you’re already familiar with. Don’t be lazy; separate your paper and rinse out6 your plastics so they can be turned into new products.
Ok, ok, I can just hear you saying that you already know those ways to help the environment, and you want to read some more ways to decrease your carbon footprint. You’re in luck, there are 5 more R’s for you to practice!

How many things do you toss out without even trying to fix them first? Instead of sending more junk to the landfill7, pull out your screwdriver8 or needle and thread, and see if you can make your broken things just like (almost) new.

You can find all sorts of helpful tutorials9 online to help you turn something that you would normally toss out into something useful. This is known as „upcycling.“ Did you know you can turn an old t-shirt into a mini skirt? Or any plastic bottle into a planter? Or many plastic bottles into a couch or a chair? Upcycling not only keeps good stuff out of the landfills, it also helps you not need to buy as much new stuff. That’s good for your wallet, and it keeps some of your money out of the hands of the companies that have factories that cause so much pollution.

You can bring your own reusable cup when you have a coffee to go, so you can skip out on wasting a disposable10 one. If you want to get really drastic, you can refuse to buy brands that over-package their products, or always carry your own cutlery11 with you so that you never have to use the plastic throw-away kind.

Just having a collection of cloth shopping bags and reusable cups and bottles isn’t going to do any good for the environment if they just sit at home on your kitchen counter. Even your good intentions aren’t good enough. You’ve got to remember to practice the other R’s in order to actually have an impact.

Respecting the planet is a mindset12 you have to adopt in order to get yourself to put the other R’s into practice. Think about it, if we don’t take care of the planet, the consequences could be dire13, and we’re already starting to see that.

Leah Ráczová

Vocabulary: 1 realizovať – realizovat; 2 zastaviť – zastavit; 3 dopad, vplyv – dopad, vliv; 4 /ræp/ zabaliť – zabalit; 5 vyhodiť – vyhodit; 6 vypláchnuť – vypláchnout; 7 skládka odpadu – skládka odpadu; 8 skrutkovač – šroubovák; 9 konzultácia, cvičenie – konzultace, cvičení; 10 nevratný, na jedno použitie – nevratný, na jedno použití; 11 príbor (na jedenie) – příbor; 12 prístup, postoj – přístup, postoj; 13 katastrofálne – katastrofální; 14 holý, pustý