Practice Listening English Exercises for B1 – Global Issues

Getting Ready

How important are these issues to you? Check (✓) your answers and compare them with a partner.

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

air pollution

water pollution

crime

global warming

overpopulation

poverty

unemployment

other: ________.

Show answers

your own answers

Listening 1

People are talking about issues. Which issue do they think is most important right now? Listen and circle the correct answer.

1   a  water pollution

b air pollution

2   a  unemployment

b crime

3   a  public transportation

b housing

4   a  government

b unemployment

5   a  public transportation

b unemployment

6   a  education

b health

Show answers & Transcript

1 b   2 b   3 b   4 b   5 a   6 b

Transcript

1

Well, the government has done quite a bit to reduce water pollution. It’s certainly better than it used to be. Now we have to do something about air pollution, which is still pretty bad.

2

Crime is a growing problem in the country right now. Sometimes it’s because people are unemployed. I think what we really have to do is reduce unemployment. That should help the crime problem.

3

The subway and bus services have definitely got to improve. But the government should really focus on improving conditions for people in the cities. So many people need better places to live and the problem is getting worse.

4

One of the biggest issues we’re facing right now is unemployment. If people can’t work, they can’t spend any money, and then the whole econo continues to suffer. The government really needs to help create more jobs.

5

Parking downtown is so expensive, and there’s so much traffic on the streets in the morning with so many people trying to get to work. We need a new subway system to make it easier for people to get to work so we don’t have to drive our cars all the time.

6

There has been an increase in life span throughout the world. People live longer now because of the availability of medicine and clean water. We need to make sure this continues.

Listening 2

Task 1

What issues are these people talking about? Listen and circle the correct answer.

1   a air pollution

b water pollution

     c  overpopulation

2   a global warming

b water pollution

     c  unemployment

3   a poverty

b overpopulation

     c  war

4   a crime

b traffic

     c  air pollution

5   a air pollution

b garbage

     c  unemployment

6   a housing

b poverty

     c  crime

Show answers

1 b   2 a   3 c   4 b   5 b   6 a

Task 2

Listen again. Are these statements true or false? Check (✓) the correct answer.

True

False

1 He wants to be the mayor of his city.

2 She’s going to move to Chicago.

3 He reads a lot of sports magazines.

4 She bought a new car.

5 She buys less packaged food, like frozen dinners.

6 He moved to a small apartment downtown.

Show answers & Transcript

1 False   2 True   3 True

4 False   5 True   6 False

Transcript

1

I grew up around here, and the river has always been really polluted. Industries were dumping all sorts of chemicals and waste into the water, so the river really smelled bad. You wouldn’t even think of swimming in it. Well, I decided to do something about it. neighbors and I wrote a letter to the mayor asking him to force these industries to clean up the river. I really hope the government listens to us and takes action.

2

Over the last few years we’ve been having much hotter summers and warmer winters. When I was a kid here, we used to have a lot of fluffy, white snow in the winter. Now we don’t get that. And there hasn’t been much rain for a couple of years. I guess this is the effect of that global warming I keep hearing about in the news. That’s why we’ve decided to move to Chicago. There’s plenty of snow and rain up there!

3

When did the world get so crazy? That’s what I’d like to know. For years, I thought everything was fine. Now all I read about in the newspaper is countries fighting each other, dropping bombs, and terrible things like that. You know what I did about it? I stopped reading the newspaper. Now, whenever I want to read something, I just pick up one of those sports magazines. No bad news in there!

4

It’s almost impossible to get across the city in less than an hour and a half during rush hour. There are too many cars on the roads. There are only two freeways, and they just can’t handle all the traffic. The only thing that moves quickly in this city is the subway. That’s why I took an apartment right next to the subway station.

5

One of the biggest problems we face is garbage. Where can we put it all? In the past, everything used to get buried in giant landfills, but in many countries today, the landfills are full and there is no room to start new ones. That’s why I’ve decided to try to create less garbage. I buy fewer packaged foods now. For example, instead of buying frozen prepared dinners in plastic trays and cardboard boxes, I buy fresh meats and produce. I also take own cup to the coffee shop so I don’t have to use paper cups. Creating less garbage is really the only solution.

6

In the future, everyone will have to live in giant high-rise buildings if they want to live in cities. These new buildings might be a hundred stories tall, or more. If cities keep getting bigger, the only way they can expand is upward. I can’t stand crowded cities self. That’s why I moved to a small town in the country.

Listening 3

Task 1

Listen to a talk on very large cities, or “megacities.” Why do people move from the country to megacities? Listen and check (✓) the reasons you hear.

Reason

Not a reason

1 They want to find work.

2 They want to be farmers.

3 They think salaries will be higher.

4 They think the work will be easier.

5 They think the people will be friendly.

6 They think city life will be glamorous.

7 They want to be on television.

8 They want better health care.

Show answers

The correct reasons are 1, 3, 6 and 8.

Task 2

Listen again. Are these statements true or false? Check (✓) the correct answer.

True

False

1 Jobs are often difficult to find in megacities.

2 Salaries in megacities are very low.

3 Many people end up in huge, expensive house.

4 Health care is much cheaper in megacities.

5 Air pollution is a problem in megacities.

6 The problems in megacities are becoming easier.

Show answers & Transcript

1 True   2 True   3 False

4 False   5 True   6 False

Transcript

In developing countries, more and more people are moving from the country to the cities in order to find work. This is because, in many countries, it is often no longer possible to make a living as a farmer. The result of this movement is the development of what are sometimes called “megacities.” These are huge cities with populations of up to 15 million people.

People who move to megacities usually believe that cities have many benefits to offer. They believe that there are more jobs available, and that salaries are much higher than they are in the countryside. They think there will be a lot of new, affordable housing to choose from. And of course, these people are attracted to the exciting, glamorous image of the big city that they have seen on television and in movies. They even expect to live longer and healthier lives in cities, because the health care is better there.

But, in reality, life in these megacities is not always as good as people hope. Jobs are often difficult to find because many of the people who move to the cities have little education and few job skills. As a result, there is a huge supply of unskilled workers to choose from, so salaries are very low. Housing can also be a problem. Many people end up in huge, crowded slums on the outskirts of these cities. And their families may become sick, because even though the health care is better in the cities, it is also much more expensive.

The growing population of megacities causes many other problems for city governments. Air pollution increases, for example, as does crime. Getting rid of garbage is extremely difficult. There is not much space available for public parks and gardens. And as these cities continue to grow, these problems will become even more difficult.

Conversation Corner: Talking about problems

Task 1

Listen to the conversation. Write the missing words.

A: There are ______ ______ ______ in the world today.

B: I know. There’s water pollution, air pollution, global warming, unemployment.

A: Yeah, and there’s the destruction of the rain ______, ______ ______, housing shortages__ It can get depressing if you think about it too much.

B:  No kidding. What do you think the biggest issues are?

A: I really think air pollution is the most important issue. If we don’t ______ ______ and improve air quality, we’ll all have health problems.

B: I agree that air pollution is a ________ The air in the city has become so dirty.

Task 2

Practice the conversation with a partner. Be sure to stress the correct syllable.

Show answers & Transcript

A: There are so many problems in the world today.

B: I know. There’s water pollution, air pollution, global warming, unemployment.

A: Yeah, and there’s the destruction of the rain foreststrafficproblems , housing shortages__ It can get depressing if you think about it too much.

B:  No kidding. What do you think the biggest issues are?

A: I really think air pollution is the most important issue. If we don’t reducepollution and improve air quality, we’ll all have health problems.

B: I agree that air pollution is a bigproblem . The air in the city has become so dirty.