21. Traditional vs Modern
Losing traditional skills
Because of industrialization and global trade, many traditions have disappeared. Global advertising encourages everyone to buy the same products. Most products are now made in factories. Machinery has replaced skilled human labour. Factory work is boring and leaves people feeling unfulfilled. Goods are produced very quickly and in large numbers. Products are cheaper, which means that more people can buy them. Examples
Clothes are mass produced in standard sizes. People wear similar clothes, rather than traditional costumes Jeans and T-shirt are now worn throughout the world. Historic buildings took skilled craftsmen years to build. Modern concrete, steel and glass buildings are built in only weeks or months. There are fewer people who can create hand-made goods.
Traditional customs are still important during weddings and religious festivals. People wear traditional costumers and eat special foods. It is important to maintain our different cultural identities. We should celebrate festivals, teach traditional skills and protect historic places.
Traffic congestion is caused by commuters travelling to work. Most people live in the suburbs outside city centre. Commuters tend to travel at the same time of day. They tend to travel alone Cars and road space are not used efficiently. This causes traffic jams during the rush hour.
In order to reduce traffic we should change our working habits. The internet can now be used to connect people. More people could work from home. Meetings can be held as video conferences. Workers could be given flexible timetables. Another solution would be to tax drivers. Workers should share their cars and travel together In London, for example, there is a congestion charge. This helps to raise money for better public transport. Public transport needs to be reliable and efficient.
Positives of Public transport
We need to reduce our dependence on cars. Parking a car can be extremely difficult in big cities. Well-designed transport systems are comfortable and convenient. Modern public transport can be fast and cheap Public transport can help to reduce pollution in cities. Investment in buses and trains will ease traffic congestion. Buses can be given special lands to avoid traffic.
Negatives of public transport
Public transport if often slow and unreliable. Metro systems and trains are often dirty and crowded. People feel like “sardines in a can” Cars are much more comfortable.
Driving while tired or drunk is extremely dangerous. Mobile phones can be a dangerous distraction for drivers. They draw the driver’s attention away from the road. The use of phones while driving has been banned in many countries. Punishments are becoming stricter. Television campaigns are used to remind people to drive safely. Speed cameras have become more common. Speed bumps are another form of traffic calming. Many streets are designed with the aim of slowing traffic down.
Importance of clean water
Water is as necessary natural resource Humans need access to clean, safe drinking water in order to live. Poor water quality is a major cause of disease and death in some countries. Water usually needs to be treated before we can drink it. Developing countries often lack the means to treat and supply water to citizens. Developed countries tend to have much better sanitation. Citizens have access to clean tap water. Drinking water is not contaminated by sewage or waste water. The supply of clean water would improve public health in many developing countries.
Urban life would be impossible without water supply systems. These systems are massive engineering projects. Many professionals are involved in their planning, construction and maintenance. The supply and distribution of water are major concerns. Water is becoming scarce in some countries. Areas that suffer droughts often need to import water. As populations grow, there is more pressure on water supplies. This could lead to a water crisis.
Water and politics
The supply of water is also an important political issue. Huge amount of water are needed for agriculture and industry. The irrigation of crops accounts for a large proportions of water use. A water crisis could lead to political conflicts or even wars.
Argument: water should be free
Some people believe that water should be free for everyone. Governments should supply water to all homes at no cost. Private companies should not be allowed to profit from this natural resource. Money from taxes can be used to pay for water supply systems.
Argument: water should not be free
If water is free, people take it for granted. They do not think about how much water they waste. They leave taps running while washing or brushing their teeth If we have to pay for water, we will use it more responsibly. Water supply systems are extremely expensive Investment is needed to maintain and improve them. Private companies may provide a better service than governments. If they provide an efficient service, they will make more money. They will repair leaks to avoid losing money.
Bottled Water: Opinions
Some people carry bottles of water wherever they go. For example, they take bottles of water to work or to the gym. They believe that bottled water is healthier than tap water. They also argue that it tastes better. However, other people believe that we should consume less bottled water. Plastic water bottles add to litter and waste problems. Companies should not be able to make a profit from water. It is unethical to make money by selling packaged water. There is no difference in quality between bottled and tap water.
The benefits of staying in the same job for life
Employees have a stable career with one employer. They have a good pension and health insurance. Their salaries gradually increase. They may be promoted within the organization. They demonstrate loyalty. Experienced staff can be trusted with more responsibility. They become part of a team. There is a clearly defined path for development.
The benefits of not staying in the same job
People often change jobs in order to further their career. Another company may offer a promotion or a higher salary. People who change jobs can gain experience. They can learn different skills. Changing jobs is interesting and challenging. People can retrain in a different occupation. In a fast-changing world workers need to be flexible. People need to develop a range of experience and skills.
Nowadays, it is easy to set up a company. The Internet provides a global marketplace. Self-employment offers greater freedom than working for a company. However, there are risks to starting a new business. Self-employed people may face financial difficulties. Many businesses fail to make a profit. There is less stability in self-employment. There are no benefits like pensions, sick pay and holiday pay. Self-employment involved hard work, long hours and total responsibility.
Unemployment is a big problem for individuals, communities and society. Some people are unable to find a job. They may not have the sufficient level of education or qualifications. They may find themselves homeless. Unemployment causes frustration and stress. Jobless people may become involved in crime as a means to get money. The unemployed need careers advice. Governments need to provide vocational courses and retraining.
Unemployment benefits: positives
Some governments pay unemployment benefits in order to help jobless people. Unemployed people need financial support until they find a new job By claiming benefits they can continue to pay for their homes. The benefits system helps to reduce poverty, homelessness and crime.
Unemployment benefits: negatives
Some people claim benefits rather than working. They become dependent on the government. They are not motivated to find a job. The benefits system is a burden on taxpayers. All citizens should work to earn a living and support themselves. Receiving benefits affects people’s self esteem.
It is important to achieve a balance between work time and leisure or family time. Too much work can result in stress and poor health “workaholics” may neglect their families and friends. People need to take regular holidays. Companies should be expect employees to work overtime. Nowadays, many people work part-time or have flexible working hours Technology allow people to work from home. Many companies provide childcare facilities. A good work/ life balance can raise job satisfaction Happy, healthy workers are more productive.
Technology and work
Internet, fax and mobile phone technologies have revolutionized working life. Workers can communicate via email, online networks and video conferencing. Technology can connect workers in different countries. It gives people more freedom It can also save time and money. Some people believe that offices could disappear in the future. Virtual online offices may replace them.
In some countries, children are exploited. They do repetitive jobs for very low pay. Children are often used in agriculture and factory work. The employment of children is prohibited in other countries. Many people think that children should be free to enjoy their childhood. Governments should make education a priority. They should build new schools. They should supply the resources to educate children. Children need to be given the knowledge and skills for adult life.
Cause/contribute to climate change/global warming. Produce pollution/CO2/greenhouse (gas) emissions. Damage/destroy the environment/a marine ecosystem/the ozone layer/coral reefs. Degrade ecosystems/habitats/the environment. Harm the environment/wildlife/marine life. Threaten natural habitats/coastal ecosystems/a species with extinction. Deplete natural resources/the ozone layer, pollute rivers and lakes/waterways/the air/the atmosphere/the environment/oceans. Contaminate groundwater/the soil/food/cropslog forests/rainforests/trees.
Protecting the environment
Address/combat/tackle the threat/effects/impact of climate change. Fight/take action on/reduce/stop global warming. Limit/curb/control air/water/atmospheric/environmental pollution, cut/reduce pollution/greenhouse gas emissions. Offset carbon/CO2 emissions. Reduce (the size of) your carbon footprint. Achieve/promote sustainable development. Preserve/conserve biodiversity/natural resources. Protect endangered species/a coastal ecosystem. Prevent/stop soil erosion/overfishing/massive deforestation/damage to ecosystems. Raise awareness of environmental issues, save the planet/the rainforests/an endangered species.
Energy and resources:
Conserve/save/consume/waste energy. Manage/exploit/be rich in natural resources. Dump/dispose of hazardous/toxic/nuclear waste. Dispose of/throw away litter/(especially British English) rubbish/(especially North American English) garbage/(North American English) trash/sewage. Use/be made from recycled/recyclable/biodegradable material. Recycle bottles/packaging/paper/plastic/waste. Promote/encourage recycling/sustainable development/the use of renewable energy, develop/invest in/promote renewable energy. Reduce your dependence/reliance on fossil fuels. Get/obtain/generate/produce electricity from wind, solar and wave power/renewable sources. Build/develop a (50-megawatt/offshore) wind farm. Install/be fitted with/be powered by solar panels.