Vocabulary: English Expressions for Global Problems

In today’s lesson, we’ll focus on several major global problems.

One critical issue is preserving and protecting the environment. The burning of fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) produces greenhouse gases (gases that heat up the atmosphere) that deplete the ozone layer and result in global warming and climate change (changes in the earth’s temperature and weather patterns).

Some scientists believe that we have already done irreparable damage to the planet, and now we are suffering the consequences of rising sea levels and increasingly frequent natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornados. A number of animal species have gone extinct, and many more are endangered.

To reverse this trend, we must invest in clean energy (energy sources that do not pollute the environment) with renewable resources (elements like water and air, which can be re-used) and utilize manufacturing methods that are not harmful to the environment.

There are still many regions of the world where children die of hunger/starvation (die from not having enough food). Unfortunately, extreme poverty is common in the rural areas of developing countries, where the population often suffers from food shortages (not enough food) and lack of access to clean water.

In the cities, homeless people sleep on the streets if there is not enough room in local homeless shelters. There are also many families on the margins of society (outside the dominant society and culture) who are living below the poverty line and struggle to make ends meet every month.

Although many governments create welfare programs (programs that give money to poor people) to alleviate poverty, the widening gap between rich and poor suggests that poverty may never be completely eradicated.

Poverty and underdevelopment contribute to a host of additional problems as well. For example, many people die of preventable diseases because they have no access the safe and effective vaccines that exist. A number of large corporations use child labor in the manufacturing of their products, as poor families may feel they have no other option for survival.

In addition, young women from disadvantaged backgrounds (poor families and situations) are prime targets for human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

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