Unit 10 The world around us A ARE WE ENDANGERED? Steve Jones is an environmental expert who tries to keep animals and plants from becoming endangered. "We are not alone in the world. We
human beings could not survive without all the plants and animals around us. We often talk about how important it is to take good care of ourselves and our planet, but we don't always do as we say," Steve says as he takes us on a tour of Green Park in Birmingham. Many of the earth's plants and animals have already died out, and several other species are endangered. If we want to live a better life and have a bright future, we must learn to act in ways that do not harm other living things. If we know more about what causes endangerment, we may be able to take measures before it is too late. A species can become endangered for different reasons. Animals and plants must have a habitat, or home, which is comfortable and clean, and where there is enough food and other resources. They are all used to their environment; that is, they have learnt how to live successfully in their habitat. When the habitat of a species is changed or destroyed, the animal or plant has to either adapt to the change or find a new home. If this is not possible, the species becomes endangered. If a new species arrives, the animals and plants of the habitat must change again. If the new species is too strong or uses too much of the resources in the habitat, some of the original species may become endangered. A species may also die out if humans or other animals use too much of a plant or kill too many animals. The good news is that there is a lot we can do to help. First of all, we need to learn more about animals, plants and the environment. Experts tell us that we need to think about what we can do to keep animals and plants from becoming endangered. Steve says that we can help by creating more space for animals and plants: "You can plant a tree or build a birdhouse. It is simple but useful." Steve also wants us to think about what we do: "Please don't pollute the environment." If we find out more about what we should do, we can help Steve and others like him keep animals and plants — and ourselves — from becoming endangered. B Without air, water and sunlight there would be no living things. Because they are so important, ecosystems try to be very careful with these valuable resources. Human beings often throw away things they have used only once. In good ecosystems, resources are used many times. The waste of plants and animals will become food for another. In fact, nature is much better at recycling than we humans are. Maybe we should learn from nature and become better recyclers — if we throw away too much, we may be throwing away our future. We all care about nature and the environment, but we may not always do everything we could or should. Scientists who know a lot about the environment say that we should "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Respond". Let's see what that means.