Архипова Елена Афанасьевна ЧОУ «Гимназия №1»
THIS FRAGILE PLANET
The word environment means simply what is around us. The air we breathe, the soil on which we stand and walk, the water we drink are all parts of the environment.
The most important environmental problems are:
pollution in its many forms(water pollution, air pollution, nuclear pollution),
noise from cars, buses, planes, etc.,
destruction of wildlife and the beauty of the countryside,
shortage of natural recourses,
the growth of population.
Sea water today is dangerous. There is no ocean or sea which is not used as a dump. Many seas are used for dumping industrial and nuclear waste. This poisons and kills fish and sea animals. Many rivers and lakes are poisoned, too. There is not enough oxygen in the water. It happens so because factories and plants produce a lot of waste and pour it into rivers. If people drink this water, they can die.
The polluted air mixes with the rain and damages the atmosphere. Most of the pollution in big cities comes from cars and buses.
More and more often people are told not to spend too much time in direct sunlight because ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause skin cancer.
Nuclear power stations can go wrong and cause nuclear pollution.
To make air clean again we need good filters at nuclear power stations, at factories and plants and also in cars and buses.
Both clean air and clean water are necessary for our health. If people want to survive, they must solve these problems quickly. That’s why people all over the world think and speak so much about ecology.
The United Kingdom is very small, but in Great Britain one can find practically any type of scenery. Britain is an unusually beautiful country.
England, the largest part of the UK, consists of the Southeast, the Southwest, East Anglia, the Midlands and the North of England.
The Southeast is a highly populated region with a lot of industry. London, the capital of the UK, and such historical cities as Windsor, Dover and Brighton are situated here. Heathrow airport is about 33 kilometers west of central London. The County of Kent situated here is known as the garden of England. The Southeast is famous for its resorts, for example, Brighton.
The Southwest is the farming region. The Southwest used to be known for its pirates. Two principal cities of the region are Bristol and Bath. The famous Stonehenge and the most westerly point of Great Britain Land’s End are in the Southwest.
East Anglia is another farming region. It has beautiful cities, such as Cambridge, with fine historic buildings. The Fens area produces good harvest. Oliver Cromwell, an English general and politician, was born in the Fens area. East Anglia is isolated from the rest of Britain and is more than half surrounded by sea.
The Midlands is the heart of England and the largest part of the country. The most important industrial cities are Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Birmingham. Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford are connected with English culture: Stratford is the birthplace of the great William Shakespeare and Oxford is famous for its university.
The North of England is rich in coal which is important for the region’s industry. The main attractions of the North of England are: the Lake District, the cities of York and Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall.
Many places in London are closely connected with the Crown. There are royal palaces, royal parks, roads and streets. The most important building is Buckingham Palace which is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II. The Mall used for royal processions runs from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace.
All together there are ten royal parks in and around London. Hyde Park used to be a hunting forest. Regent’s Park was also a hunting place and is now the home of London Zoo and an open-air theatre which gives performances of Shakespeare’s plays in summer.
Though nowadays the Queen reigns but does not rule, the Royal Family plays a very important role in the country. Kings and Queens whose names are specially remembered in the country are well-known in the whole world.
King Henry VIII was a very important monarch. Under him Britain became independent of the Roman Catholic Church, it got richer and more powerful. The Parliament gave the king all the power in the country.
Henry’s daughter, Elizabeth I, is remembered as a very popular and strong queen. During her reign England became very important in European politics, the Spanish Armada was defeated, arts and especially the theatre developed, and the country became very powerful.
Another strong queen was Queen Victoria whose monument is in front of Buckingham Palace. She ruled for the longest period in the English history, for 64 years. Victoria married a German Prince Albert, but he died at the age of 42. There are places in London that remind us of their love. They are: the Royal Albert Hall and the Victoria and Albert Museum. During her reign Britain became a rich industrial country with a developed trade, an empire with a lot of colonies.
Queen Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter, Elizabeth II, is on the British Throne now. She came to the throne in 1952.
On April 23, 1564 a son William was born to John and Mary Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon. His mother was the daughter of a farmer. His father was a glove-maker. William went to a grammar school in Stratford and had quite a good education. There he learned to love reading.
While still a teenager, William married Anne Hathaway, a farmer’s daughter some years older than himself. We don’t know how he earned his living during his early years, perhaps he helped his father in the family business. During these years his three children were born: Susannah, the eldest, then twins – a son, Hamnet, and another girl, Judith.
In 1587 Shakespeare went to work in London, leaving Anne and the children at home. We don’t know exactly why he did it. Some people say that the reason was his love of poetry and reading. But there is another story which says that he had to run away from law because he killed some deer belonging to a rich man.
In London Shakespeare began to act and to write plays and soon became an important member of a well-known acting company. Most of his plays were performed in the new Globe Theatre built on the bank of the river Thames.
In 1613 he stopped writing and went to live in Stratford where he died in 1616.
Four hundred years later his plays are still acted – not only in England but in the whole world.
I know some of Shakespeare’s plays, for example Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Hamlet, King Lear and Macbeth.
Scotland is a country in the United Kingdom to the north of England. Its symbol is a thistle, its patron saint is St. Andrew. The population of Scotland is over 5 million people. One thing people associate with Scotland is the kilt. Each clan has its own tartan. Scotland is divided into Highlands and Lowlands. The Highlands of Scotland are among the oldest mountains in the world, the highest point is Ben Nevis.
Most of the population of Scotland is concentrated in the Lowlands. Here, in the Clyde Valley, there is Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. It is very busy, prosperous, dirty in some parts and smart in others. It has a large port and busy streets.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. It is rather cold but attractive, very proud but friendly. The most interesting parts of Edinburgh are the Old Town and the New Town. The Old Town lies between the Castle and Holyrood Palace. The Castle is older than the city. The first settlers built it and it used to be a fortress and then a royal palace. The Castle attracts a lot of tourists.
A line of streets from the Castle to Holyrood House is called the Royal Mile. Holyrood House is the residence of the Queen when she is in Edinburgh. The most picturesque part of the Royal Mile is the Cannongate. One of the best known monuments in Edinburgh is a monument to a dog called Bobby. It has become a symbol of devotion.
Princess Street is the most beautiful street of the New Town. It is a popular shopping centre. Princess Street is connected with the name of a famous writer Sir Walter Scott. You can find his monument there.
Edinburgh is the cultural centre of Scotland. It is associated with the names of George Gordon Byron and Walter Scott, Robert Burns and Conan Doyle. It is also connected with the world-famous Edinburgh Festival of Music and Drama, which was first held in 1947, and with the festival of military music, the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Wales is a country in the United Kingdom to the west of England. Its symbol is a leek or a daffodil. Its patron saint is St. David. The population of Wales is about two and a quarter million people. The national game of Wales is rugby, the rules of which are quite difficult. The Welsh call their country Cymru and themselves Cymry which means ‘a friend’.
Wales is an agricultural country, there are few cities there, rather small and unimportant. Cardiff is the capital of Wales and its main port. It is an industrial city with a Roman castle, a cathedral, a university and a modern shopping centre. The other big towns in Wales are Swansea and Newport.
The scenery of Wales is picturesque and wild. It is a land of green fields, forests and farms. It is also the land of mountains and valleys, streams and waterfalls. The west coast, mid Wales and North Wales are wild and beautiful. In North Wales you can follow mountain paths for miles and miles. Wales has high mountains, including Mount Snowdon, the second highest mountain in Britain. In summer, when the sun is shining, Snowdon looks very peaceful and beautiful. But in winter the mountain can become very dangerous. There are three National Parks in Wales.
The Welsh speak two languages, English and Welsh. They are taught side by side in schools. The Welsh language is spoken widely, especially in the north, and it is still the first language for many people. It is a Celtic language which is very difficult to learn.
Every year an international festival called Eisteddfod [ais'teδvod] is held in the town of Llangollen [læn'goθlәn]. People come from all over the world to recite poetry, sing and dance in this colourful competition.
THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE USA
The USA is situated in the north of North American continent. It is washed by the Pacific Ocean in the west, by the Atlantic Ocean in the east, by the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico in the south. In the north there are Great Lakes. The USA borders on Canada in the north and on Mexico in the south. The population of the USA is more than 250 million people. The USA has almost every kind of weather and many kinds of land – rocky coasts, dry empty deserts, powerful rivers, wide plains and grasslands, lakes of all sizes, high mountains, great forests, sunny beaches, and lands of endless winter.
Many rivers cross the United States. The greatest of them is the mighty Mississippi which is called “the father of waters”. It has been an important waterway since early times. Among other big rivers are the Colorado and the Missouri. The Colorado River rises in the Rocky Mountains that stretch from Alaska down to the south of the country. Another big mountain chain is the Appalachians in the east. The Grand Canyon, situated in the Rockies, is one of the America’s main tourist attractions. The Colorado River formed it over millions of years. The Grand Canyon is one mile deep and 277 miles long.
The United States is a young country with the written history of only a few hundred years. Americans are not afraid of new ideas. They built the first skyscrapers and they put the first man on the moon. They like modern cities, new houses and new cars. At the same time, Americans love old things. They build old pioneer houses and remember the days of the “Wild West”. Americans are interested in old traditions and are good at making new traditions too.
The people of the United States are a mixture of many different nationalities. It is often called the big “melting pot”. In one city you can find people whose parents, grandparents or great-grandparents came from China, Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, and every European country. These different people brought to their new land a wonderful mixture of customs and traditions.
THE POLYTICAL SYSTEM OF THE USA
The US government consists of three branches. People choose the men to make American laws.
The first branch of government is the Congress. The Congress makes the laws of the country. It is divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives. Every state sends two people who are called senators to the Senate. So, there are one hundred senators in the Senate. Their term is six years. Each state also sends people to the House of Representatives. They are called congressmen. The number of congressmen depends on the number of people who live in the state. All in all there are 435 congressmen in the House of Representatives. Their term is two years. One important power of the Congress is the power to declare war.
The second branch of government is the President, the Vice President and members of the Cabinet. They carry out the laws that the Congress makes. The US President is Commander in Chief of the country’s armed forces. The President’s term is four years. Americans vote for the president in November of every leap year.
The third branch of government is the Supreme Court. It is made up of nine judges who have to make sure that the President and the Congress follow the Constitution. The judges work in the Supreme Court as long as they live.
Americans are proud of their Constitution which was written in 1787 in Philadelphia after the War of Independence (1775 - 1783). Changes in the Constitution are called amendments. There are 26 amendments to the constitution. The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights. It guarantees freedom of press, freedom of religion, the right to go to court and have a lawyer. After the Civil War (1861 - 1865) the 13th amendment ended slavery, the 14th amendment made all Black people citizens of the United States, the 15th amendment gave Blacks the right to vote.
The first US President George Washington is known to all Americans as “The Father of the Nation”. He was born in Virginia in a planter’s family in 1732. The family was rather rich. The boy went to a private school and, later, two private teachers taught him to ride a horse, to hunt, shoot, sail and swim, to be a soldier and a Virginia gentleman. When he was eleven, his father died. When a young man, George went to faraway parts of the country to measure land for those who built their houses there. He learned to sleep out, cook his own meals and work very hard.
George Washington began his career in the service of his country as a major in the Virginia militia. Later he became Commander in Chief of the Colonial Army during the Revolutionary War. He was among those who wrote the US Constitution in Philadelphia. People respected him for his courage, honesty and wisdom.
After the Revolutionary War Washington wanted to retire and live in Mount Vernon where he had a big plantation. But he knew that his duty was to serve his country. On April, 30, 1789, before a large crowd Washington promised to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.
George Washington became the first President of the country and served two terms. He refused a third term and in 1797 he retired to Mount Vernon where he died two years later in 1799.
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the USA. He was born in the family of pioneers, in a small log cabin in the woods, in 1809. The family lived in poverty. When Abe was 7, the family moved from Kentucky to Indiana. Soon the mother died. Abe’s stepmother encouraged the boy to study. He had little chance to go to school, but he liked to read and taught himself by reading books he could get. Abe learned to do the hard work of the pioneer: to cut trees and to take care of the crops. He usually won in tests of strength with other boys. Everybody liked him and said he was a born story-teller.
When Abe Lincoln was twenty – one, the family moved to Illinois. There he joined the militia and fought in an Indian War.
Later Abraham Lincoln became a lawyer and a politician. People called him “honest Abe” and trusted him to do what was right and honest. He was elected to the House of Representatives in US Congress. In 1861 he became the 16th American President. In the same year the Civil War began and Lincoln led the Union through the four years of terrible war. He wanted the northern and southern states to stay together and he hated slavery. In 1863 he signed the Emancipation Proclamation which made all the slaves free. This was a great event in the history of the United States.
On the 9th of April 1865 the North won the Civil War. Five days after the war ended, President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theatre, Washington
When people speak of Australia they can mean three things: Australia as a continent, Australia as an island and Australia as an independent state. Australia is the world’s largest island and its smallest continent. Australia is a land of striking differences. In the centre of the continent and in the west more than 50 % of the land is desert – dry and uninhabited. There are three deserts there – the Great Sandy Desert, the Great Victoria Desert and the Gibson Desert. In the north-east tropical forests cover the coast. In the mountains of the south-east the snow lies for seven months of the year.
Australia is divided into six states and two territories.
New South Wales is Australia’s leading industrial state. Sydney is its capital and the largest city in Australia.
In Victoria most people live in the south. Melbourne is the capital of the state. Sheep and wheat are the main products here.
Queensland is Australia’s second largest state. Brisbane is its capital. The coast of the state is a popular place for holidaymakers. But the biggest part of the state is occupied by unproductive desert lands.
The state of Western Australia is dry and inhospitable except the south-western part. The largest farms, sheep stations and fruit gardens are situated there. The capital of the state is Perth.
South Australia is mostly dry and unproductive except its south-eastern part where most farms and industry are situated. Adelaide is its capital.
Tasmania, the island state, is the leading producer of apples, pears and berries of different kinds. Hobart is its capital.
Northern Territory is the least populated and least developed part of Australia. Crocodiles still live in the swamps. Darwin is its capital.
The capital of Australia is Canberra. The city doesn’t belong to any state. It is situated on the Australian Capital Territory.
AUSTRALIA TO EXPLORE
Australia is called “the upside down world”, because it lies in the Southern Hemisphere, where winter comes in July and summer begins in December. Australia is the hottest place in the Southern Hemisphere. Only one sixth of the country is comfortably humid. Most of the dry land is uninhabited, which explains Australia’s small population – about 18 million people.
Australia has an extraordinary collection of birds and animals. Many of them are found only there.
Australia is the home of two of the world’s most primitive mammals – the duckbill and the anteater. They are the only mammals that lay eggs. The kangaroo is one of the best known Australia’s animals. There are more than 40 different kinds of them in many colours and sizes. Another well-known Australia’s animal is the koala that resembles a teddy-bear.
Among other animals found in Australia is the dingo, a wild dog with a bushy tail. The emu, Australia’s largest bird, is also one of the largest in the world. It cannot fly but is a good runner. Another curious bird is the kookaburra that is often called the “laughing jackass”. Australians like this bird very much and even made up a song about it. Other Australian birds are graceful lyrebirds, brilliantly coloured parrots and the great white cockatoo.
Two animals were brought to the country by the Europeans and have become wild in Australia. These are the buffalo, brought from India, and the European rabbit.
No matter how far from Europe Australia can be, many people who are fond of travelling would like to visit this land because it is such an extraordinary place to explore!
Britain in Brief
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with an area of 244 000 square miles is situated on the British Isles, which are separated from the European continent by the North Sea, the Strait of Dover and the English Channel. Britain's population is over 56 million. Four out of five people live in towns. The largest cities of the country are London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The UK is a monarchy: the head of the state is a king or a queen. In practice, the Sovereign reigns, but does not rule: the UK is governed by the Government. The present Sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II.
The territory of Great Britain is small. Yet the country has a wide variety of scenery.
The heart of Britain is England. It is the richest, the most fertile and most populated in the country. The north and the west of England are mountainous, but all the rest of territory is a vast plain. In Northwest England, there are many beautiful lakes with green, wooded or grassy shores and grey mountains all around.
The smallest of Britain's countries is Wales. The largest part of Wales is covered with rocky mountains, which are difficult to climb. Most people in Wales live in the coastal plains.
Scotland is a land of mountains, wild moorlands, narrow valleys and plains, famous lakes and no end of large and small islands. The Highlands of Scotland are among the oldest mountains in the world. One-third of the people in Scotland live in or near its capital, Edinburgh, and its great industrial center, Glasgow.
The capital of Great Britain, London, stands on the Thames. The Thames is the busiest and the most important river in Great Britain, but it is not very long. The climate of Great Britain is mild.