Environmental Vocabulary for English Learners

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The words below are some of the most important words used when talking about environmental issues. Words are categorized into different sections. You'll find example sentences for each word to help provide context for learning. 

Environment - Important Issues

acid rain - The acid rain ruined the soil for the next three generations.
aerosol - Aerosol can be extremely toxic and must be used with care when sprayed in the air.

 
animal welfare - We must consider animal welfare as we strive to create a balance between man and nature. 
carbon monoxide - It's important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home for safety.
climate - The climate of an area can change over long periods of time. 
conservation - Conservation focuses on making sure we protect the nature we haven't already lost. 
endangered species - There are many endangered species all over the planet that need our help. 
energy - Humans are using an ever-increasing amount of energy. 
nuclear energy - Nuclear energy has passed out of fashion after a number of serious environmental disasters. 
solar energy - Many hope that solar energy can ween us off our need for fossil fuels. 
exhaust fumes - The exhaust fumes from cars standing in traffic can make you cough. 
fertilizers - Fertilizers used by huge farms can pollute drinking water for miles around. 
forest fires - Forest fires can burn out of control and create hazy weather conditions.

 
global warming - Some doubt that global warming is real.
greenhouse effect - The greenhouse effect is said to heat up the earth.
(non)-renewable resources - As we move forward, we need to become more dependent on renewable energy resources. 
nuclear - The exploration of nuclear science has created great boons, as well as horrific dangers for humanity.

 
nuclear fallout - The nuclear fallout from a bomb would be devastating to the local population. 
nuclear reactor - The nuclear reactor was taken offline because of technical problems.
oil-slick - The oil-slick caused by the sinking vessel could be seen for tens of miles. 
ozone layer - Industrial additives have been threatening the ozone layer for many years. 
pesticide - While it's true that pesticides help kill off unwanted insects, there are serious problems to be considered. 
pollution - Water and air pollution situations have improved over the last few decades in many countries. 
protected animal - It's a protected animal in this country. You can't hunt it!
rain forest - The rain forest is lush and green, bursting with life from all sides. 
unleaded petrol - Unleaded petrol is certainly cleaner than leaded petrol. 
waste - The amount of plastic waste in the ocean is shocking. 
nuclear waste - Nuclear waste can remain active for many thousands of years. 
radio-active waste - They stored the radio-active waste at the site in Hanford. 
wildlife - We must take the wildlife into account before we develop the site. 

Environment - Natural Disasters

drought - The drought has gone on for sixteen straight months.

No water to be seen!
earthquake - The earthquake devastated the little village in the Rhine River. 
flood - The flood forced more than 100 families from their homes. 
tidal wave - A tidal wave hit the island. Luckily, no one was lost. 
typhoon - The typhoon hit and dropped more than ten inches of rain in one hour!
volcanic eruption - Volcanic eruptions are spectacular, but they don't occur very often. 

Environment - Politics

environmental group - The environmental group presented their case to the community. 
green issues - Green issues have become one of the most important themes of this election cycle. 
pressure group - The pressure group forced the company to stop building on that site. 

Environment - Verbs

cut down - We need to cut down on pollution drastically.
destroy - Human greed destroys millions of acres each year.

 
dispose (of) - The government must dispose of the waste properly. 
dump - You can dump recyclable garbage in this container. 
protect - It's our responsibility to protect the natural habit of this beautiful planet before it's too late. 
pollute - If you pollute in your own back yard, you'll eventually notice it.
recycle - Make sure to recycle all paper and plastics. 
save - We save bottles and newspapers to take to recycle at the end of each month. 
throw away - Never just throw away a plastic bottle. Recycle it!
use up - Hopefully, we'll not use up all our resources before we start solving this problem together.