News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

Page 1

March 2009

Level ≥ Advanced Style ≥ Individual or group activities
Welcome to the Guardian Weekly’s special news-based materials to support learners and teachers of English. Each month, the Guardian Weekly newspaper selects topical news articles that can be used to practise English language skills. The materials are graded for two levels: Advanced and Lower Intermediate. These worksheets can be downloaded free from You can also find more advice for teachers and learners on the site Materials prepared by Janet Hardy-Gould

Germans told to eat less meat to save planet

Cuts . . . a deli in Munich shows off popular meat products Camay Sungu/AP

Before reading
1 Work with a partner and discuss the questions below. a How often do you eat meat and how much do you eat? b What type of meat do you eat (if any)? c Why might eating meat be bad for the environment? d Why do you think eating meat might increase your “carbon footprint”? To find out about and calculate your carbon footprint go to:

2 Verbs from the article Match the phrases to make definitions. a If you urge someone to do something, b If you issue a warning or some advice, c If you call for something to happen, d If you boycott something, e If you discredit something, 1 2 3 4 5 you refuse to buy something as a way of protesting. you try hard to persuade them do it. you make people stop respecting it. you publicly ask for something to be done you make it known in a formal and public way. ≥2

News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

Page 2

March 2009
3 Look at the headline, photo and caption of the article. Guess the answers to the questions below. a In terms of eating meat, how does Germany compare to other European countries? b What percentage of their total calorie intake do Germans get from meat? c Why should German people now eat less meat? d Who would like Germans to eat less meat? 6 “It hardly means sacrificing quality of life,” said Troge. “I don’t believe that the Italians are particularly unhappier than us as a result [of eating less meat].” 7 Troge’s comments were criticised by farming experts and politicians. Edmund Geisen, agricultural adviser to the liberal Free Democrats, accused Troge of in effect calling for a boycott of German products. “Andreas Troge should stop trying to damage the nation’s appetite by discrediting agricultural production,” he said, calling his attack on meat “populist and onedimensional”. 8 Hilmar Steppat, of Germany’s vegetarian association, VeBu, welcomed the move, saying: “It’s good to see politicians are finally waking up to the fact that the amount of meat we eat is unsustainable.” He added that although the number of vegetarians had increased from 0.4% in 1983 to about 10% today, Germans were still very big consumers of meat.

Germans told to eat less meat to save planet
1 For a nation that loves its bratwurst and schnitzel, the message is not a welcome one. Germans have been urged to rethink their meat-eating habits if they want to help the planet.

9 Findings by the World Wildlife Fund also support the claim that meat production is environmentally damaging. In its recent Living 2 Germany’s federal environment agency has isPlanet report, it said a single kilogram of beef sued a strong advisory for people to eat meat requires 16,000 litres of water, taking into only on special occasions and otherwise to model account a three-year lifespan for a cow, the grain their diet on that of Mediterranean countries. it eats in its lifetime, and the water it drinks. Kate Connolly Berlin 3 Germans are among the highest meat consumers in Europe, obtaining about 39% of their total calorie intake from meat and meat products, compared with 25% in Italy. 4 “We must rethink our high meat consumption,” said Andreas Troge, president of the UBA, the government’s advisory body on environmental issues. 5 He said agriculture was responsible for about 15% of Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and meat production was the most energy-intensive form of farming. With that in mind, he suggested that reducing meat consumption was a logical step forward.


advisory body (noun) a group of specialists who give advice to a government energy-intensive (adjective) using a lot of energy populist (adjective) claiming to represent the opinions and wishes of ordinary people unsustainable (adjective) when something cannot be continued at the same rate or level


News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

Page 3

March 2009
f According to Troge, eating less meat doesn’t mean . . .

While reading
1 Read the first six paragraphs again. Complete the sentences. a Germans like eating types of meat such as . . .

b The environment agency thinks people should only . . .

c The environment agency wants people to copy . . .

2 Read the rest of the article from paragraph seven onwards. Decide if these sentences are true (T) or false (F). a Most farming experts and politicians welcomed Troge’s comments. b Geisen thinks Troge wants to stop people buying German products. c Steppat believes that the level of meat consumption is unsustainable. d The number of German vegetarians has gone down slightly. e The World Wildlife Fund would disagree with Troge’s opinions. f 16,000 litres of water are needed for one kilogram of beef. 3 Discuss the questions below. Do you agree with Troge’s opinions about eating meat? Would people listen to and follow his ideas in your country?

After reading
d Compared to Italians, Germans . . . 1 Vocabulary related to the environment Use the words in brackets to make new words to complete the summary. In Germany the government’s advisory body (environment) on (a) issues has asked people to cut their meat (b) (consume). It is believed that (produce) of meat in the (c) (agriculture) sector is the (d) responsible for 15% of the country’s greenhouse gas (emit). Campaigners think (e) that any change may be a (f) (particular) slow process because many people are still (consume) of significant (g) meat.

e About 15% of Germany’s greenhouse gases come from . . .


News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

Page 4

March 2009

2 Verb patterns Complete the sentences below with the infinitive or -ing form of the verb in brackets. (consume) a It’s important (help) less meat if you want the environment. b Eating different food doesn’t mean (lose) your quality of life. c The government has urged everybody (reconsider) their lifestyle. d Families should avoid (have) meat every day. e People have been told (change) their daily diet. f The environment agency should stop (make) people feel bad about their food. (see) that some g It’s good politicians now understand the problem.

Letter writing 1 Work with a partner. Choose an environmental problem in your country. 2 Plan a letter to a national newspaper about the problem. Look back at the article to find useful phrases for developing an argument. For example: We must rethink our . . ., It’s a logical step forward . . . , Politicians are finally waking up to the fact that . . . 3 Each write a letter. Swap letters with another pair and discuss the arguments.

While reading 1 a bratwurst and schnitzel b eat meat only on special occasions c the Mediterranean diet d consume much more meat/get a higher proportion of their calorie intake from meat e agriculture f sacrificing quality of life 2aFbTcTdFeFfT Before reading 2a2b5c4d1e3 3 a They eat much more. b 39%. c To save the planet. d The federal environment agency.


After reading 1 a environmental b consumption c production d agricultural e emissions f particularly g consumers 2 a to consume, to help b losing c to reconsider d having e to change f making g to see

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.