Environment conversation questions

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  • Are you concerned about the environment? If so, what do you think is the biggest issue?
  • What do you know about these issues - and what solutions are there?
    • Global warming - the greenhouse effect.
    • Damage to the ozone layer.
    • Pollution. (How many types can you think of?)
    • Acid rain.
    • Deforestation.
    • Desertification.

Cars and the environment

  • Should cars be banned from city centresBrE/downtownsAmE? What do you think the effects of such a ban would be?
  • How much more would you be prepared to pay for an environmentally-friendly car?
  • Would you like to own a hybrid or electric car?


  • What should we "conserve" when we consider conservation issues? Only plants and animals, or should we seek to conserve human activities and traditions as well?
  • If these things are in conflict - for example re-introduced wolves causing problems for traditional farmers - what/who should get priority?
  • In some parts of the world farmers are giving up a farming lifestyle and moving to the cities. This leaves the land to eventually revert to forest, or to be bought up by land speculators. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? What might be lost or gained in the process?


  • In some parts of the world endangered animal species are hunted because they are believed to have medicinal properties. In such cases, should local culture and traditions be respected or should it be made illegal worldwide to hunt and consume exotic animals?
  • Where whaling has been carried out for centuries by local indigenous peoples should it be allowed to continue?
  • There is a lower limit to the size of many fish which may be legally caught and sold in many parts of the world including the European Union. Have you ever been served a fish which you thought was suspiciously small? What did you do?
  • What difference - if any - would it make to the world if polar bears became extinct?


  • Do you think that it is necessary to recycle things?
  • What things (if any) do you recycle?
  • What things could you additionally recycle?
  • What facilities does your government provide to help you to recycle?
  • Packaging uses a lot of energy. What ways can you think of to reduce the amount of packaging used?
  • Are you recycling?

Renewable energy

  • How many types of renewable energy can you think of?
  • Consider the following ways of generating energy. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each one:
    • Wind power.
    • Dams.
    • Wave power.
    • Tidal power.
    • Geothermal power.
    • Solar power.
    • Biomass.
  • How would you define renewable energy? Over what time-scale should it be "renewable"?
  • Consider your definition again and decide if the following are examples of renewable energy: Dams, solar power, geothermal power, coal, nuclear energy, biomass, tidal power. Why does each one fit, or not fit, your definition?

Every little bit helps

  • What little things do you think you could do to help protect the environment?
  • Do you go to school/work on foot / by bike / motorbike / bus / car / other?
  • What means of transport do you use most regularly ?
  • Look at the following list of things which could help the environment. Work with the class or a partner to establish which are very important, which are good ideas and which are irrelevant. Then say which ones you do or don't do and explain why.
    • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth.
    • Turn off your computer when you are not using it.
    • Turn down the thermostat or air conditioning at home.
    • Don't buy bottled water.
    • Use public transport whenever you can.
    • Recycle everything you can.
    • Don't buy products with excess packaging.
    • Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
    • Obey the speed limits when driving.

Eating the world

  • What impact do you think that eating frozen food has on the environment?
  • It is claimed that eating animal products has a negative effect on the environment. What do you think of this idea?
  • What impact - if any - do you think that eating organic food has on the environment?
  • How would eating locally-produced fruit/vegetables as opposed to imported fruit/vegetables help the environment?
  • What difference do you think that eating free-range or battery eggs would make?
  • What restrictions, if any, do you think there should be on deep-sea fishing?
  • If you wanted to only eat fish from "sustainable" stocks how would you go about it?


  • How much difference do you think energy-efficient home appliances and light bulbs make? What energy efficient appliances do you have installed?
  • How do you think we could encourage people to turn off lights and other appliances, such as the television, the radio, etc., when they are not being used?
  • Can you get a grant in your country to improve your home insulation? What would the process be?
  • Would you install a solar heating system just to help the environment or would you only do it if you got a lot of financial help from the government?

See also