BBC 6 minute English-Is eating meat killing our planet

BBC 6 minute English-Is eating meat killing our planet

BBC 6 minute English-Is eating meat killing our planet


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Rob

Finn: … and hello, I’m Finn

Rob: Now Finn, there is nothing I like more than tucking into a juicy steak, munching on a hamburger or chewing on a nice piece of roast beef

Finn: It does sound good, doesn’t it? But meat eaters, like us, might need to think again about the amount we eat

Rob: That’s right because in the programme today we’re discussing how eating meat can add to the problem of greenhouse gas

Finn: Greenhouse gas is a type of gas that stops heat escaping from the atmosphere and causes a greenhouse effect – it warms up our planet – and that leads to climate change

Rob: Yes, and that’s not a good thing. We have heard in the past about greenhouse gas being caused by pollution from factories

Finn: … and from using containers of things like paint or perfume, which is kept under high pressure so that it can be sprayed – we call these aerosols

Rob: But according to a recent report, the production of meat is also adding to the problem. We’ll talk more about this soon and look at some related vocabulary, but not before we’ve set today’s question. Are you ready, Finn

Finn: Ready and waiting, Rob

Rob: According to a study in America, how many tonnes of beef is produced globally every year

a) 59 million tonnes

b) 69 million tonnes

c) 79 million tonnes

Finn: Let’s go supersize and say 79 million tonnes

Rob: I’ll let you know the answer at the end of the programme. Let’s continue our discussion about the link between meat and greenhouse gases

Finn: Research from Cambridge and Aberdeen universities estimates greenhouse gases from food production will go up 80% if meat and dairy consumption continues to rise at its current rate. ‘Consumption’ here means the process of eating food

Rob: So more and more of us are eating meat – there is a surge. Let’s find out exactly why from BBC Environment Analyst, Roger Harrabin. See if you can hear why meat production is causing the problem

BBC Environment Analyst, Roger Harrabin

The surge in meat eating will drive more deforestation as farmers seek increasing amounts of land, the study says. Cutting forests releases greenhouse gases from the wood and the soil, and fertilisers create greenhouse gases too. The report says under current trends, agriculture alone will cause the world to bust its targets for reducing the risk of dangerous climate change

Finn: So eating more meat means farmers need more land to keep their animals on. And to get more land, they need to cut down trees – which is called deforestation

Rob: It’s deforestation – cutting down forests – that causes greenhouse gases from wood and soil to be released. And there’s another reason too – the use of fertilisers

Finn: These are natural or chemical substances added to the soil to help plants grow. Like these plants, used to feed the animals

Rob: And another problem is that more of the fields used for growing crops that we eat, like wheat, are being used to grow food to feed the animals that we later eat

Finn: Research has also found beef cattle need 28 times more land than pork, poultry or dairy farming

Rob: So it’s a big problem, but many of us have an appetite – a need or interest – for meat. Especially for carnivores. Carnivores are really animals that just eat meat but we refer to humans as carnivores too sometimes because they just love meat. Something else is tempting us too

Finn: Yes, something is encouraging us to eat more. See if you can hear what it is in the next part of Roger Harribin’s report

BBC Environment Analyst, Roger Harrabin

The real challenge is the public’s appetite. There’s a burger restaurant boom in major cities. People are voting with their bellies and it’s not normally mushroom burgers they’re after

Rob: Some interesting language there. He described the increase in burger restaurants as a ‘boom’ – so a major increase. And he said people are voting with their bellies

Finn: A nice phrase – he means, people are showing they like burger restaurants by going to them and eating more

Rob: And they’re not buying burgers made of vegetables or things like mushroom burgers – they’re buying and eating meat, like beef burgers

Finn: Well, with meat consumption predicted to double in the next 40 years as people globally get wealthier, it’s a problem that’s not going to go away

Rob: A bit like today’s question – today’s question was, according to a scientific study in America, how many tonnes of beef is produced globally every year

Finn: I said c) 79 million tonnes

Rob: That’s a lot to eat but you are wrong. The answer is 59 million tonnes. This is according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It also found cattle are the biggest source of greenhouse gases, accounting for more than three-quarters of all gases made by farming livestock around the world. Well before we chew over that fact,Finn could you please remind us of some of the words we have heard today

Finn: Ok

tucking into greenhouse gas consumption deforestation fertiliser appetite carnivore boom

Rob: Well, that brings us to the end of today’s 6 Minute English. We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s programme. Please join us again soon. Bye

Finn: Bye

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It,s very good

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