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An Earth Day micro problem

Earth Day is, in fact, the birthday of the modern environmental movement that started in 1970. This was the year when students started a massive movement against the Vietnam War.After the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson had an idea. He wanted to start a similar movement for the environment. (It was the period when pollution was accepted by the public in the US, it was thought to be the price of prosperity.)

Extent of the spill on the ocean surface


Since then a lot has happened. We are aware of the damage we do to our planet, although we could do much better.

Let’s just see one example. We produce huge amounts of plastic waste. A big part of it is recycled and used again and again, this is what our fuzzy polar jumpers or yoga pants are made of. It sounds great, but there is a little problem.

Watch the video and you will see. If you have another 5 minutes and want a challenge (and improve your listening skills), do the exercise below.

After you have watched the video, read the text and put the missing words into the right gaps.

yoga      companies      eat      microfibers      wash

Did you know that a lot of your clothes (__________(1) pants, fleeces, even underwear) are made of recycled polyester?

We throw away billions of plastic bottles daily, which is not at all environmentally friendly.  We can do two things to solve this problem: use less disposable plastic or recycle it. The latter one seems to work: factories turn plastic bottles into clothes, we wear them, __________(2) them, and wear them again.

This isn’t a good solution, however. On the one hand, people tend to throw away plastic if they think recycling is a green solution, on the other hand, these clothes release __________(3) when being washed, which are then released into natural waters.

The tiny fibers collect pollutants in the oceans (motor oil, pesticides, industrial chemicals), fish eat these little toxic bombs and eventually we __________(4) those fish.

Recycling is a very good idea, but a lot more needs to be done. We should put a pressure on __________(5) to make them figure out real solutions to make clothes safe for the environment.




1-yoga; 2-wash; 3-microfibers; 4-eat; 5-companies


>>>You can read more about the history of Earth Day.

>>>The video is by The Story of Stuff, a project that teaches us about how we buy and dump things that we don’t actually need.

>>> A video summarizing what has happened since 1970.