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  • Neil: Hello, and welcome to 6 Minute

  • English. I'm Neil.

  • Rob: And hello, I'm Rob.

  • Neil: Today we're talking about plastic.

  • Rob: Yes, it's our addiction to plastic that's

  • of concern because this material doesn't

  • decay very quickly, so once we've used it,

  • it hangs around for a very long time.

  • Neil: It is a problem - and decay, by the

  • way, describes the natural process of

  • something being destroyed or breaking

  • down into small particles. We hear so

  • much about the consequences of

  • having too much waste plastic around,

  • don't we?

  • Rob: Indeed. Not only does it cause a

  • mess - wildlife, particularly marine

  • animals, are at risk when they become

  • entangled in plastic waste, or ingest it.

  • It's an issue that needs tackling -

  • or dealing with. And that's what we'll

  • be discussing today and finding out what

  • could be done to solve this plastic crisis.

  • Neil: OK, first, let's challenge you to

  • answer a question about plastic, Rob.

  • The first synthetic plastic - that's plastic

  • made entirely from man-made materials -

  • was created over 100 years ago. Do you

  • know what its brand name was? Was it...

  • a) Bakelite, b) Lucite or c) Formica?

  • Rob: I'm no expert, so I'll say c) Formica.

  • Neil: Well, we'll reveal the answer at the

  • end of the programme. Now let's talk more

  • about plastic. This man-mad substance

  • is everywhere - from clothing to crisp

  • packets, and bottles to buckets.

  • Rob: But the problem is that most of it isn't

  • biodegradable - that's a word that

  • describes something that can decay

  • naturally without harming anything. Each

  • year, 400 million tonnes of plastic is

  • produced and 40% of that is single-use.

  • So why don't we stop using it?

  • Neil: It's not that easy, Rob, and it's

  • something Lucy Siegle, a BBC reporter

  • and author, has been talking about.

  • She was speaking in a discussion on the

  • Costing the Earth programme on BBC

  • Radio 4, and explained the issue we

  • have with quitting plastic but also how our

  • attitude is changing...

  • Lucy Siegle: We have this weird

  • psychological attachment to this material

  • that's been around and it's like a push and pull.

  • At the one time, we're so horrified by what

  • we're seeing - the whales dying, the

  • oceans vomiting plastic, beaming in from

  • all over the world, and at the same time

  • we're being told we can't live without it, so

  • that creates a psychological dissonance -

  • which I think is the barrier to behavioural

  • change but I'm finding now

  • awareness has peaked and it's going over

  • into activism.

  • Rob: She mentioned the word

  • psychological - that's something that

  • affects or involves our mind - so here,

  • psychological attachment means that in

  • our mind we feel we have to

  • use plastic - we're addicted.

  • Neil: But we also see the negative impact

  • of plastic - like whales dying - and in our

  • mind we're also thinking we must stop!

  • This has created what Lucy says is a

  • 'psychological dissonance' - dissonance

  • means a disagreement between two

  • opposing ideas - so we're having

  • an argument in our head about the right

  • thing to do - this is the 'push and pull' of

  • thoughts she referred to.

  • Rob: And this dissonance has been the

  • barrier to us trying to solve the plastic

  • issue - but now we're starting to do

  • something about it - we're taking action to

  • reduce our plastic waste - we're turning to

  • activism. That's taking action to change

  • something - it could be social or political

  • change, or a change in our

  • behaviour or attitude.

  • Neil: Of course there has been a big push

  • - that means people have been strongly

  • encouraged - to recycle.

  • Rob: Maybe in an ideal world the best

  • thing to do is go plastic-free - but that isn't

  • easy, is it?

  • Neil: No, it isn't, and it's something Lucy

  • Siegle spoke about. Getting rid of plastic

  • in our lives is a gradual process. But

  • where does she think we can make

  • the biggest difference?

  • Lucy Siegle: I really think that to

  • concentrate on stopping the flow of

  • plastics into your life is easier and more

  • effective in the long term, than trying to

  • go plastic-free from the outset.

  • We are in the UK, a supermarket

  • culture, so a lot of the tips and tricks to

  • decreasing the flow of plastic are getting

  • round supermarket culture.

  • Rob: She says we have a supermarket

  • culture in the UK. Culture here describes a

  • way of life - or a way that we generally

  • behave - and in terms of food shopping,

  • we tend to do that in supermarkets.

  • Neil: So, for example, customers can

  • make a big difference by putting pressure

  • on supermarkets to use less plastic

  • packaging. It does seem that the future of

  • plastic is in our hands - we need to be

  • more careful about how and when we use

  • it - and use our collective power

  • to force change if it's needed.

  • Rob: But there's no doubt plastic is useful

  • for many things so it will be a long time

  • before it disappears altogether.

  • Neil: And earlier I asked you what was the

  • name of the first synthetic plastic,

  • invented over a 100 years ago. Was it...

  • a) Bakelite, b) Lucite or c) Formica?

  • Rob: And I said c) Formica. Was I right?

  • Neil: Formica is a type of hard plastic

  • used for covering tables and working

  • areas in kitchens - but it's not the oldest

  • type. That was Bakelite.

  • Rob: I may have got that wrong but

  • hopefully I'll have more success

  • recapping some of today's vocabulary -

  • starting with decay, which describes

  • the natural process of something being

  • destroyed or breaking down into small

  • particles - which plastic takes a long

  • time to do.

  • Neil: Next we had biodegradable - that's a

  • word to describe something that can

  • decay naturally without harming anything.

  • Rob: Then we had psychological - that's

  • something that affects or involves your mind.

  • Neil: Next up, we had dissonance, which

  • describes a disagreement between

  • two opposing ideas.

  • Rob: And then we mentioned activism -

  • that's taking action to change something.

  • We also mentioned the phrase 'a big

  • push' which means people are strongly

  • encouraged or persuaded

  • to do something, usefully by force.

  • Neil: And finally we had culture. In our

  • context of supermarket culture, it

  • describes a way of life - or a

  • way that we generally behave.

  • Rob: Thanks, Neil. Now, remember you

  • can find more learning English

  • programmes and materials on our

  • website at bbclearningenglish.com. That's

  • it for now but please join us next time for

  • 6 Minute English. Goodbye.

  • Neil: Goodbye.

Neil: Hello, and welcome to 6 Minute

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B1 rob dissonance decay psychological describes lucy

Curbing our plastic addiction - 6 Minute English

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/07/01
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