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  • Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

  • Neil: And I'm Neil.

  • Alice: So, Neil, what's the best holiday you've ever had?

  • Neil: That would be scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.

  • It was awesome! I saw sharks, sea turtles, manta rays...

  • Alice: I certainly don't like the idea of coming nose to nose with a shark!

  • But then diving isn't really my thing.

  • I'm more into cultural holidaysyou know, visiting the ruins of ancient civilisations.

  • Neil: That's very worthy, Alice.

  • But tourists are actually damaging a number of important sites around the world

  • tramping around, dropping litter, scribbling graffiti everywhere...

  • Alice: I would never drop litter or scribble graffiti!

  • Neil: Well, we're talking about world heritage sites today,

  • which are places UNESCO considers to be at risk from various threats and in need of protection.

  • Heritage means the things a society considers important to its history and culture,

  • for example art, buildings, or natural sites such as the Grand Canyon in the United States.

  • Alice: And the environment poses a number of different threats.

  • So, Neil, can you tell me which sea creature is a potential threat to the Great Barrier Reef's ecosystem?

  • Is it a ... a) starfish?

  • b) jellyfish? Or c) cuttlefish?

  • Neil: I will go for b) jellyfish.

  • I'm no expert on marine life, but I have eaten jellyfish and I haven't eaten the other ones.

  • Alice: Oh, I see. Well, we'll find out later on if you are an expert or not.

  • But let's listen now to BBC reporter Roger Harrabin talking about other types of threat to heritage sites.

  • See how many you can spot!

  • Roger Harrabin: The most precious wonders of the natural world

  • Australia's Great Barrier Reef,

  • America's spectacular Grand Canyon,

  • the Barrier Reef of Belize in South America,

  • second biggest on Earthall facing threats from humans.

  • The Great Barrier Reef is attracting urgent concern.

  • There's a huge battle over mining and port development.

  • A giant coalmine has just been given the go-ahead by the Queensland government

  • even though scientists warn it may damage the Reef.

  • Neil: That's the BBC's Roger Harrabin.

  • Well, I spotted a couple of threats to heritage sites theremining and port development.

  • Now, any type of industrial activity can harm them by, for example,

  • encroaching on the natural habitat of animals and plants living there,

  • or by polluting the water that flows into the site.

  • Alice: Mining is the process of extracting coal or other minerals from the ground, and

  • if you encroach on something, it means you move beyond acceptable limits.

  • The interesting thing is that world heritage sites only constitute 0.5% of the Earth's surface

  • so why can't people do their mining and industrial development on the remaining 99.5%!

  • Neil: But there is one human industry that can actually be beneficial for precious sites: tourism.

  • Alice: But you said earlier that tourism was bad for heritage sites.

  • Neil: I know. And I was right, up to a point.

  • World heritage sites are some of tourism's main attractions, and more and more people are visiting them.

  • So it's all about getting the balance right between generating money to maintain and restore the sites

  • and minimizing the impact of tourist activities.

  • Alice: Such as littering and graffiti.

  • Neil: Exactly.

  • And the term for this is sustainable tourism

  • or tourism designed to have a low impact on the local culture and the environment,

  • while generating employment for local people.

  • Alice: So UNESCO is working to direct governments, site managers and visitors towards sustainable tourism practices

  • in order to keep our world's natural and cultural heritage safe for future generations.

  • Neil: Wow, you can really talk the talk, Alice.

  • You should work for UNESCO!

  • OK, let's move on now, and listen to Paul Crocombe, of the Snorkelling and Diving Company in Townsville, Queensland, Australia,

  • giving his view on how the Great Barrier Reef will cope with threats to its survival.

  • Paul Crocombe: The Reef's fairly dynamic, it's been through a couple of ice ages, and is still here,

  • so its resilience will ensure that the Reef is still here in years to come.

  • But the species diversity and the... the visual aesthetics of the Reef may change

  • quite considerably, especially if we get an increase in sea temperature, an increase in carbon dioxide in the water, and things like that.

  • Alice: Paul Crocombe describes the Reef as 'dynamic' and 'resilient'.

  • Neil: Dynamic means active or capable of changing and resilience means the ability to recover

  • or adapt to change ... which all sounds good.

  • But Paul also says that the species diversity

  • the range of plants and animals ... may change.

  • Alice: Hm... for example,

  • a rise in sea temperature would cause a rise in carbon dioxide levels

  • and this could have a big impact on both the species diversity and the Reef's visual aesthetic

  • or the way it looks.

  • Neil: OK, I think it's time now for the answer to today's quiz question, Alice.

  • Alice: Yes, I think so too.

  • OK, so, I asked you: Which sea creature poses a potential threat to the Great Barrier Reef's ecosystem?

  • Is it a type of ... a) starfish, b) jellyfish or c) cuttlefish?

  • Neil: And I said b) jellyfish.

  • Alice: And you got stung, I'm afraid, Neil!

  • Neil: Ouch!

  • Alice: The answer is starfish.

  • The crown-of-thorns starfish preys on coral and large outbreaks of these starfish can devastate reefs.

  • Now, can you remind us of some of today's vocabulary, Neil?

  • Neil: Sure:

  • heritage

  • encroach on something

  • sustainable tourism

  • dynamic

  • resilience

  • species diversity

  • visual aesthetic

  • Alice: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English. Don't forget to join us again soon!

  • Both: Bye!

Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

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B2 UK TOEIC alice reef heritage barrier reef great barrier

BBC 6 Minute English July 28, 2016 - Heritage sites

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    Adam Huang posted on 2016/08/14
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