Why reading about the Rio Earth Summit is useful IELTS reading practice and more
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) starts this week, and there are many reasons for following this story in the news as part of your IELTS preparation.
For those of you who haven’t already heard about this event, Rio+20 is a conference where many of the world’s leaders and other people concerned about social development and the environment are going to discuss how we can reduce poverty and protect the environment in the future.
Here’s why I think you should read about this event:
1. Reading about this conference will give you some reading practice on the common IELTS topics of social development and environmental issues.
If you’ve got time now, you could read the summary of what Rio+20 is all about at the link below, and then read what people from around the world think about the issues being discussed in ‘Voices from around the world’ from the Guardian newspaper.
2. Reading about this conference will give you some ideas to talk about if you get asked IELTS Speaking questions like these:
- Why do you think world leaders often have meetings together?
- What possible difficulties might be involved in organising meetings between world leaders?
- Do you think that meetings between world leaders will become more frequent in the future?
(I got these questions from the book Cambridge IELTS 8).
3. Reading about this conference will help you improve your vocabulary related to the common IELTS topics of social development and environmental issues.
Here’s some vocabulary related to these topics used in ‘What is Rio+20?‘:
- sustainable development (i.e. environmentally-friendly development)
- a green economy (i.e. an economic system that promotes environmentally-friendly development)
- clean energy (i.e. energy sources that do not pollute the atmosphere when used, e.g. solar power)
4. Reading about this conference will help you improve your academic vocabulary.
Here are some words on the Academic Word List (a list of words that are commonly used in academic texts but not so common in everyday conversation) that are used in ‘What is Rio+20?‘:
- ensure (e.g. “World leaders will come together to ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet”)
- focus (e.g. “The official discussions will focus on two main themes…”)
- achieve (e.g. “The official discussions will focus on two main themes: how to build a green economy to achieve sustainable development…”)
- define (e.g. “It is a historic opportunity to define pathways to a sustainable future…”)
5. Reading about this conference will make you more aware of some of the most important issues in the world today, i.e. poverty and the state of the environment.
The conference starts tomorrow (June the 20th) and is a great opportunity for you to improve your English and get some ideas on common IELTS topics. (If you’re not familiar with the topics of development and environmental issues, try reading the news about the conference in your language first).
PS The photo above is of Rio de Janeiro and was taken by Xavier Donat in 2009.
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