Exercise 1   

People are talking about issues. Which issue do they think is most important right now? Listen and circle the correct answer.

1.  a.  water pollution

     b.  air pollution

2.  a.  unemployment

     b.  crime

3.  a.  public transportation

     b.  housing

4.  a.  education

     b.  unemployment

5.  a.  public transportation

     b.  unemployment

6.  a.  overpopulation

     b.  AIDS

Answer & Transcript


Well, the government has done quite a bit to reduce air pollution. It’s certainly better than it used to be. Now we have to do something about water pollution, which is still pretty bad.


Crime is a growing problem in the country right now. Sometimes it’s because people are unemployed. I think what we really have to do is reduce unemployment. That should help the crime problem.


The subway and bus service has definitely got to improve. But, the government should really focus on improving conditions for people in the cities. So many people need better places to live and the problem is getting worse.


Unemployment is not as big a problem as it used to be, but most of the new jobs are for unskilled workers. We need to spend more on education so that we have a better-educated labor force.


These days there are enough jobs for almost everybody who wants to work. But getting to work is another story. We need better highways and a new subway system, to make it easier for people to get to work.


There has been a decrease in deaths from most common diseases. Unfortunately, AIDS is a growing problem, especially in the cities.

Exercise 2

Task 1

What issues are these people talking about? Listen and circle the correct answer.

1.  a.  air pollution

     b.  water pollution

     c.  overpopulation

2.  a.  global warming

     b.  water pollution

     c.  unemployment

3.  a.  poverty

     b.  overpopulation

     c.  war

4.  a.  crime

     b.  traffic

     c.  air pollution

5.  a.  air pollution

     b.  garbage

     c.  unemployment

6.  a.  housing

     b.  poverty

     c.  crime

Task 2

Listen again. Are these statements true or false? Check the correct answer.

  True False

1.  He wants to be the mayor of his city.

2.  She’s going to move to Chicago.

3.  He reads a lot of sports magazines.

4.  She bought a new car.

5.  She started recycling her garbage.

6.  He moved to a small apartment downtown.

Answer & Transcript


I grew up around here, and the river has always been really polluted. Industries were dumping all sorts of chemicals and waste into the water, so the river really smelled bad. You wouldn’t even think of swimming there. Well, I decided to do something about it. My neighbors and I wrote a letter to the mayor asking him to force these industries to clean up the river. I really hope the government listens to us.


Over the last few years we’ve been having much hotter summers and warmer winters. When I was a kid here, we used to have a lot of fluffy, white snow on Christmas. Now we don’t get that. And there hasn’t been much rain for a couple of years. I guess this is the effect of that global warming I keep hearing about in the news. That’s why we’ve decided to move to Chicago. There’s plenty of snow and rain up there!


When did the world get so crazy? That’s what I’d like to know. For years, I thought everything was fine. Now all I read about in the newspaper is countries fighting each other, and dropping bombs, and explosions, and terrible things like that. You know what I did about it? I stopped reading the newspaper. Now, whenever I want to read something, I just pick up one of those sports magazines. No bad news in there!


It’s almost impossible to get across the city in less than an hour and a half during rush hour. There are too many cars and vehicles on the roads. There are only two freeways, and they just can’t handle the traffic. The only thing that moves quickly in this city is the subway. That’s why I took an apartment right next to the subway station.


One of the biggest problems we face is garbage. Where can we put it all? In the past, everything used to get buried in giant landfills, but in many countries today, the landfills are full and there is no room to start new ones. That’s why I started recycling my garbage. I do it every week. It’s really the only solution.


In the future, everyone will have to live in giant high-rise buildings if they want to live in cities. These new buildings might be a hundred stories tall, or more. If cities keep getting bigger, the only way they can expand is upward. I can’t stand crowded cities myself. That’s why I moved to a small town in the country.

Exercise 3

Task 1

Listen to a talk on very large cities, or “megacities.” Why do people move from the country to a megacity? Listen and check the reasons you hear.

  Reason Not a reason

1.  They want to find work.

2.  They want to be farmers.

3.  They think salaries will be higher.

4.  They think the work will be easier.

5.  They think the people will be friendly.

6.  They think city life will be glamorous.

7.  They want to be on television.

8.  They want better health care

Task 2

Listen again. Are these statements true or false? Check the correct answer.

  True False

1.  Jobs are often difficult to find in megacities.

2.  Salaries in megacities are very low.

3.  Many people end up in huge, expensive houses.

4.  Health care is much cheaper in megacities.

5.  Air pollution is a problem in megacities.

6.  The problems in megacities are becoming easier.

Answer & Transcript

In developing countries, more and more people are moving from the country to the cities in order to find work. This is because, in many countries, it is often no longer possible to make a living as a farmer. The result of this movement is the development of what are sometimes called “megacities.” These are huge cities with populations of up to 15 million people.

People who move to megacities usually believe that cities have many benefits to offer. They believe that there are more jobs available, and that salaries are much higher than they are in the countryside. They think there will be a lot of new, affordable housing to choose from. And of course, these people are attracted to the exciting, glamorous image of the big city that they have seen on television and in movies. They even expect to live longer and healthier lives in cities, because the health care is better there.

But, in reality, life in these megacities is not always as good as people hope. Jobs are often difficult to find because many of the people who move to the cities have little education and few job skills. As a result, there is a huge supply of unskilled workers to choose from, so salaries are very low. Housing can also be a problem. Many people end up in huge, crowded slums on the outskirts of these cities. And their families may become sick because, even though the health care is better in the cities, it is also much more expensive.

The growing population of megacities causes many other problems for city governments. Air pollution increases, for examples, as does crime. Getting rid of garbage is extremely difficult. There is not much space available for public parks and gardens. And as these cities continue to grow, these problems will become even more difficult.

Exercise 4

People are talking about global issues. Which issue is most important to each person? Listen and write the correct letter.

1.   …….

2.   …….

3.   …….

4.   …….

5.   …….

a.   destruction of the rain forests

b.   air pollution

c.   AIDS

d.   war

e.   crime

Answer & Transcript

1 e   2 c   3 b   4 a   5 d



This city has become so dangerous at night. There aren’t enough street lights, and you never see the police anywhere. I’m really sick of it.


Millions of people in this world have AIDS, and sometimes they don’t even know how they got it. I think the schools should teach us more about how to prevent AIDS.


The air in my city is so dirty that sometimes I can’t see when I drive. That’s why I started recycling my plastic. Now, more and more people are starting to recycle, too. So the air is getting a little better.


When I was a boy, the rain forest was so big and beautiful. Now it’s all being cut down to make room for boring farms. It’s depressing, you know? That’s why I give money to an organization that protects the forests.


I don’t understand why people all over the world are killing each other in horrible wars. We’ve been taught in schools how to read, write, and do math. But nobody teaches that it’s wrong to hate.

Exercise 5

A professor is talking about why people move from the city to the suburbs. Are these statements true or false? Listen and check the correct answer.




1.   There is nothing to do in the city.

2.   Many people think the suburbs are safer than the city.

3.   Many people think people in the suburbs are rude.

4.   People often have less free time in the suburbs.

5.   The suburbs are always safe.

Answer & Transcript

1 False   2 True   3 False   4 True   5 False


The topic of my lecture tonight is suburban sprawl. That’s the movement of people from the center of the city to the suburbs-the smaller towns around the city.

Everyone knows that cities are centers of culture. Almost any city will have a university, a concert hall, theaters, and maybe even an opera company. In addition, there is usually plenty of nightlife in cities. But even with all of these positive aspects, more and more people are moving from the city to the suburbs.

People move to the suburbs for many reasons. The most important reason is crime. Many people think that the suburbs are safer than the city. Also, many people believe that people who live in the suburbs are friendlier than city people.

However, there are disadvantages to life in the suburbs. For one thing, people who move to the suburbs often have less free time, because they spend more time driving to and from work. Some people spend two or three hours a day in their cars. Also, the suburbs are not always safe. In some suburbs, there is as much crime as there is in cities.

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