[Reading Skills] 6. 인터넷을 통한 영어학습법(2)

자연과학에서 자주 다루는 소재 중 하나가 '환경'이다.

이번에는 우리가 살아숨쉬는 대자연과 지구촌 곳곳의 특유한 모습을 재현한 사진들로 널리 알려진 내셔널 지오그래픽(National Geographic)의 영문 사이트(www.nationalgeographic.com)에서 제시문을 찾아봤다.

내셔널 지오그래픽 사이트에는 지리지식에 대한 내용 뿐만 아니라 자연 인류 문화 역사 고고학 생태 환경 우주에 이르는 다양한 내용의 글들과 뉴스도 접할 수 있어 자연과학에 대한 지식과 흥미를 느낄 수 있다.

다음 글은 2001년 세계무역기구(WTO)가입 이후 세계 2위 경제 대국으로 부상하고 있는 중국에 대한 기사다. 내셔널 지오그래픽의 관점에서 중국의 급속한 경제성장이 세계 환경에 미치는 부정적 영향을 언급한 것으로 환경에 대한 표현뿐만 아니라 경제용어도 곁들여 맛볼 수 있는 좋은 글이다.

여러분에겐 다소 딱딱하고 어렵다고 느껴질 수 있는 지문이나,새로운 경제강국 중국과 자연과학의 영원한 화두인 환경에 대해 관심을 갖는 것은 어느 모로 보나 밑지는 장사는 아닐 듯 싶다.


< China's Boom is Bust for Global Environment, Study Warns >

- By Stefan Lovgrenfor National Geographic News

China's spectacular economic boom may be inflicting a terrible toll on the global environment,a new study warns.

According to Vital Signs 2005 -a new report by the Worldwatch Institute- China is now driving the consumption and production of almost everything, threatening to deplete the world's resources.

"China is becoming the sucking force, taking raw materials from across the planet, because it alone doesn't have the resources it needs to sustain its growth," said Lisa Mastny, the project director of the new study.

It remains to be seen what long-term effects the Chinese boom will have on the world's raw materials. But it is clear that China's own natural resources -- its air, land, and water -- are already suffering terribly.

China is in the middle of the largest rural migration in human history, with millions of its people leaving for mushrooming cities. With factories multiplying and car ownership surging, the cities' air quality has plummeted.

Sixteen of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in China. The country is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide after the United States.

"China's economic boom is dramatically changing [its] environmental landscape -- polluting the water and air, desertifying the land, and diminishing the country's natural resources at terrifying rates."

But there is some hope, experts say. Recognizing the escalating costs of pollution, the Chinese government has, for example, introduced strict fuel-economy standards for new cars. It has also enacted a renewable-energy law that sets ambitious targets for using wind and solar energy.

Consumer Nation

The world economy expanded in 2004 at a rate of 5 percent. According to the report, China's economy grew by a staggering 9 percent.

Economic reforms have undoubtedly benefited hundreds of millions of Chinese people, providing them with a better standard of life. The boom has also turned China into a huge market for companies worldwide.

China is still a manufacturing giant. It now produces 27 percent of the world's steel, an essential input in industrial infrastructure. Steel production has increased by one-third in the last five years.

But China is now also one of the world's largest consumers, straining already limited resources and pushing prices up. China increased oil consumption by 11percent in 2004 and is now the second largest oil consumer after the United States.

Mastny says some 240 million Chinese people are now in the consumer class, buying the type of goods and services that most people in Western nations purchase. While that number is the same as in the United States, it represents only 19 percent of the total Chinese population.

"The potential number of Chinese people who could become consumers in the future is enormous," Mastny said. "Think about what that means in terms of availability of resources and the environmental impact."

Take cars, for example. In the 1980s there were virtually no private cars in China. In 2003 there were 14 million. In 2015 China will have an estimated 150 million cars.

"We're not blaming China. It's just that if all the countries that are entering the consumer society try to emulate the patterns of the United States and other countries, clearly there is not going to be enough [resources] to go around."

환경에 대한 전문적인 정보를 원한다면 Greenpeace나 유엔환경계획(United Nations Environmental Programme)사이트를 방문해 보자.http://www.educationindex.com/environ은 환경관련 각종 사이트를 소개하고 있다.

입맛에 맞게 골라 찾아보는 재미를 느껴 볼 수 있겠다.

김기훈 대표 cedu@ceduenglish.com

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