The Modern Extinction Crisis
現代危機:物種滅絕

語音播放

Today we are facing the largest mass extinction since the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.
今時今刻,我們面臨六千五百萬年前恐龍絕跡以來最大的物種大滅絕。

It is in fact normal for plant and animal species to go extinct. Under normal conditions this occurs at a rate of about 5 species per year. However, scientists are estimating that currently we are losing species at a rate of 1000-10,000 times faster. Literally dozens of species are going extinct every single day. It is predicted that 30-50% of all species could be gone forever by 2050.
對動植物而言,絕種其實是很常見的。在一般情況之下,每年約有五種生物絕種。然而,科學家估計目前的物種以一千至一萬倍的速度在消失中。也就是說,每一天都有許多物種消失。我們預計,2050年以前就會有百分之三十到五十的物種完全絕跡。

語音播放

The most alarming thing is that the more species that go extinct, the more other species that rely on those ones for food will follow suit. At the moment about one quarter of all species are endangered, and this number is only going to get higher.   

最令人警覺的是,愈多的物種消失,就有愈多仰賴其維生的其他的物種會步入後塵。現今大約有四分之一的生物已經絕種,而這個數字只會更高。


語音播放

So what is the cause of this disastrous situation? Well, to put it bluntly, it’s us. Clear-cutting the rainforest to make room for cattle farms, pumping garbage and polluted water into the sea, filling the atmosphere with CO2 from our cars and factories; these activities are all being done at the expense of our natural environment.
造成這樣的毀滅情形的原因為何?簡言之,就是我們人類。將雨林砍伐一空騰出空間飼養牛隻、將垃圾與污染用水倒進海洋、我們的車輛及工廠排放的二氧化碳充斥大氣層,這些動作的代價就是犧牲我們的自然環境。

語音播放

While a small number of people, including many politicians, continue to deny global warming and all the changes it is causing, the evidence clearly indicates that we are getting dangerously close to, or have already reached, the point of no return.
同時間有一小群人,包括許多政客,持續地否認全球溫室效應與因此產生的所有變化,所有證據顯然地指出我們只差臨門一腳,或根本已經踏入了—無法補救的局面了。

Vocabulary 好字精選

1. crisis (n) a time of intense danger or difficulty  危機
Mr. Carter seems to be going through a mid-life crisis.   
卡特先生似乎在經歷中年危機。

2. literally (adv) to indicate/emphasize you mean something exactly/truly  照字面上來說
There were literally more than 100,000 people in the stadium.    
體育館確實有超過十萬人。

3. endangered (adj) in danger of going extinct  絕種,絕跡
The giant panda is an endangered species.
大熊貓是瀕臨絕種的物種。

4. clear-cut (v) to cut down all the trees in an entire area 清除,清空,剷除
Clear-cutting the Amazon rainforest is going to negatively impact all of humankind.
砍伐亞馬遜雨林對全體人類有負面的影響。

5. cattle (n) cows  牛隻
The forest was cut down to make more room for a cattle farm.
森林被砍伐是為了要興建一座牛隻牧場。

Phrases and Sentence Patterns 句型解析

1. The (most) adj thing is that… (sentence pattern) 也就是
The funny thing is that Mark forgot to button up his shirt before he gave the speech.
好笑的是Mark演講前忘記將襯衫的鈕扣扣上。

2. follow suit (phr) to do something in the same way or pattern  步入後塵;起而效尤
If a manager works hard, his employees will surely follow suit.      
假如經理工作認真,他的員工絕對會起而效尤。

3. to put it bluntly/simply (phr) to indicate what follows is being said in a direct/simple way 簡而言之
To put it simply, I can’t live in this house any longer.
簡而言之,我無法再繼續住在這棟房子裡了。

4. to do A at the expense of B (sentence pattern) to indicate that doing A will negatively affect B      A的代價就是B,犧牲B來進行A
Why do people continue to waste resources at the expense of our planet?
為何人們犧牲我們的地球繼續浪費資源呢?

5. point of no return (phr)  不能回頭,無法補救
After signing the contract, we were beyond the point of no return. We would have to finish the job. 簽下合約之後,我們就無法回頭。我們必須完成工作。

Exercise 課後練習題

1. The country is going through a water _______________. Different tribes are fighting over the small amount of clean water available.
這個國家正在經歷用水危機。不同的部落都在為了一小部分的清水而爭戰不休。
2. Frank was so tired that he ____________ couldn’t keep his eyes open.
Frank很累因此他是真的無法睜開眼睛了。
3. _______________ animals can still be saved from extinction.
瀕臨絕種的動物依然可以被拯救避免絕跡。
4. The government-owned logging company is planning to ______________ this entire forest.
公營的伐木公司計畫要剷除整座森林。
5. ______________ create massive amounts of methane, a poisonous greenhouse gas.
牛隻造成大量的甲烷,這是一種有毒的溫室氣體。
6. The strange ______________ she didn’t even say goodbye to me before she got on the bus.
奇怪的是她上公車前甚至沒有跟我說聲再見。
7. Usually when one sheep does a certain action, the others _______________.
通常一隻羊進行某一動作時,其他羊隻都是跟著做。
8. _____________, Flora and Thomas aren’t a good match for each other.
簡而言之,Flora與Thomas彼此不合適。
9. Don’t do anything _______________ your safety just because it seems fun.
別只因為看起來很好玩而犧牲自己的安全。
10. The soldiers were at the _______________ so they had to keep fighting to the end.
士兵們無法回頭了,因此他們只能繼續戰到最後。

解答:
1.crisis
2.literally
3.Endangered
4.clear-cut
5.Cattle
6.things is that
7.follow suit
8.To put it bluntly/simply
9.at the expense of
10.point of no return

Comprehension Questions 閱讀理解

1. According to the figures mentioned in the article, about how many species are going extinct per year right now?     
a. 5
b. 1000-10,000
c. 5000-50,000
d. 30-50% of them    

2. Which of the following opinions does the author probably hold?   
a. Global warming and all the changes associated with it have not been proven. 
b. We are almost at the point of no return when it comes to the extinction crisis.
c. We are already past the point of no return when it comes to the extinction crisis.
d. Either B or C.

解答:
1. 根據文章所提的數據,目前有多少種的生物種面臨絕跡?
a. 5
b. 1000-10,000
c. 5000-50,000
d. 30-50%的物種   

2. 以下選項何者可能是作者所持的看法?
a. 全球暖化以及所有其他的相關變遷皆無關。
b. 關於生物絕種的危機,我們幾乎已經到了無法回頭的地步了。
c. 關於生物絕種的危機,我們已經無法回頭了。
d. B或C任一皆可。

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