Today’s theme is the environment. As with our previous entries, we’ll be looking at creating relevant vocabulary sets to improve your IELTS vocabulary. So let’s get started!
Vocabulary sets related to the environment
As you may already know by now, the environment is a very popular IELTS theme. It's particularly common in Speaking Part 3, where you’re expected to discuss the topic more broadly and in greater depth. Likewise, you could be asked to write about environmental issues in Writing Task 2.
Here, you might have to identify causes for specific environmental problems, suggest solutions, predict consequences and/or give your opinion on the subject in a discussion. Below are three sub-topics related to the environment, each containing words or phrases that you can use to elaborate your answers in both the Speaking and Writing modules of the test:
part of speech
the natural environment where an animal or plant lives
natural habitat, wildlife habitat, threatened/endangered habitat, damage/destroy a habitat, conserve/protect a habitat, loss of habitat
I believe new measures are necessary to protect wildlife habitats.
the number and types of plants and animals in a specific area or in the world
biodiversity loss, biodiversity conservation, global biodiversity, preserve biodiversity
Biodiversity conservation plans should be a priority for governments around the world.
/ ˈsɝː.vɪs ˌroʊd/
all the people, animals and plants living in an area and the way they affect each other and the environment
forest ecosystem, healthy ecosystem, maintain the ecosystem, benefit the ecosystem, damage the ecosystem, species in an ecosystem
It is well known that commercial fishing can have a very negative impact on the ecosystem, yet little has been done to address this.
a type of plant or animal that might stop existing
save endangered species, critically endangered species
There are many organizations that are committed to saving endangered species.
plants in general
natural vegetation, green vegetation, dense/lush/thick vegetation, native vegetation, destroy the vegetation
The Costa Rican jungles are characterized by thick, green vegetation.
2. Environmental problems
part of speech
a gradual increase in the earth’s temperature caused by gases surrounding the earth
contribute to global warming, combat/fight/tackle global warming
We have to fight global warming before it’s too late.
to make air, water or soil dirty
pollute the environment, pollute the air/water/soil
If we continue to pollute our environment, our children and grandchildren will have to pay the consequences.
the cutting down of trees in an area
mass deforestation, illegal deforestation, reduce deforestation
Forest biodiversity is threatened by mass deforestation carried out around the world.
changes in the world’s weather, in particular an increase in temperature, caused by human activity
the impacts/results of climate change, climate change talks, climate change sceptic/denier (someone who does not believe in climate change)
Personally, I don’t think that climate change can do us any good.
no longer existing
be extinct, become/go extinct, completely/totally extinct, almost/nearly/practically/virtually extinct
Many species of plants and animals have become extinct due to human activity.
3. Protecting the environment
part of speech
causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to be continued over a long period of time
sustainable growth, sustainable development, sustainable communities, sustainable energy sources
Big companies should donate a percentage of their profits to support sustainable development.
energy that is produced using natural resources such as the wind, sun, etc.
renewable energy industry, renewable energy projects/sources/technology, demand for renewable energy
The environmental benefits of renewable energy are countless.
the protection of animals, plants, natural areas and natural substances
wildlife conservation, energy conservation, water conservation, nature/environmental conservation, conservation area
Energy conservation saves us money and helps the environment.
the practice of not eating or using animal products (e.g. meat, fish, eggs, etc.)
I believe that veganism, clean energy and environmental conservation are the solution to climate change.
the study of or an interest in the environment and the belief that it must be protected from harmful human activity
Some believe that eco-tourism can promote environmentalism.
Idioms related to the environment
reduce, reuse, recycle
phrase used to encourage people to waste less and use things again to protect the environment
The three R’s - reduce, reuse and recycle - all help to cut down on the amount of waste we produce.
to go green
to change one’s lifestyle to help protect the environment
Grocery stores should go green by using paper bags instead of plastic.
to have a green thumb
to have the ability to grow plants well
My mother has a green thumb and grows most of the fruit and veggies she consumes.
to go solar
to collect solar energy by using solar energy panels
What many people don’t know is that by going solar, they’re also saving money.
Finally, remember that the topic of the environment often goes hand in hand with other common IELTS themes, such as transportation. This increases the chances of having to discuss environmental issues to some extent at some point during the test. It's important that you’re able to determine when you’re being asked to connect topics in order to use this vocabulary in a flexible way.