| “There is enough on earth for everybody’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.” |
If we only bought things we needed, there would be enough for everybody. What do we need? What you need depends on how old you are and your way of life. Rearrange the list of things you can buy and put the things you think we most need at the top of the list.
A pair of trainers
A CD player
A pair of jeans
A dental check up
A restaurant meal
Gold-coloured laces in your trainers
An appointment at the hair salon
A packet of M&Ms
Table mats which match the curtains
If we don't need to buy so much, we don't need to work so much. We can take part-time jobs or reduce our working day from 8 hours to 6 hours. Some people are leaving very well paid jobs to live a healthier life in the countryside or a more exciting life abroad. This is called ‘downshifting'. Parents can spend more time with their children and the unemployed are given more opportunities to work.
If we start to respect saving the earth more than spending money, we will become ‘conservers'. When we are conservers, we try to choose environmentally-friendly products which are durable and last a long time. We may find growing our own vegetables or making our own clothes more rewarding than buying them.
What was the best thing you bought last week?
Could you choose from lots of different types? We like having a choice of what to buy. People who buy things are called consumers. Consumers have choices. We usually choose the colour, taste, smell or size of what we buy, but there are other choices we can make. The following questions will help you to consider these choices.
Where was it made?
If you don't like the place it was made, you might decide not to buy that particular product. A lot of people don't buy products from certain countries when they don't like the way the country is run. Was it made in a factory or on a local farm? If the product was unbelievably cheap, the people who made it might not have been paid much.
Who made it?
Do you know? If a friend made it, you probably like it more and you will want to keep it for a long time. If it was made by somebody who enjoyed making it, the quality and the design are probably better. Or does it look like it might have been assembled in a large factory?
There are children in Asia who make Santa Claus dolls for European children to play with. The children who make the toys don't celebrate Christmas because they are not Christian; they think of the dolls as work. Would it be better if the children in Europe made their own Christmas dolls?
What is it made from?
One of the places where we want to buy expensive luxuries is at the airport's duty-free shop. Next to the chocolate and cigarettes, there are beautifully-shaped bottles and compact boxes full of perfumes and creams which promise to make you look and feel more beautiful. If you look at the ingredients you will find that the perfumes are mainly alcohol and the creams are mainly made of petroleum!
Almost all products are sold in packaging. Some products have too much packaging, creating more rubbish and using up resources. Some use recycled packaging, which is better for the environment.
Next time you go shopping, think about what you really need to buy. Don't deprive yourself of things you like, but decide what you should buy before you go out, so that you won't be influenced by advertisements or promotions. If it is more expensive to buy goods which don't have much packaging and things which are more durable, buy less. If you can choose to work less, decide which things you would like to make, do or grow yourself. Even though you have less money, your life will become richer!
5 words/phrases from the text:
1. unemployed: being without a paid job
2. durable: long lasting
3. factory: place where people work making things
4. deprive: stop somebody else having something
5. luxuries: goods that are not essential
Vocabulary gap fill. Now use the 5 words/phrases to fill the gaps in the sentences below:
- He was ................... for two years before he started working as a teacher
- I can't afford ................. such as French champagne or perfume
- On the left you can see the toy ............. where most of the villagers work
- This is a more ................ bicycle; it will last for years
- You don't need to ................ yourself of tasty food even though you are on a diet
Comprehension. Answer the 5 questions using information from the article.
- What do our needs depend on?
- If we did not need to buy so much, how could our lives change?
- What sort of things does a conserver buy?
- Why don't Asian children celebrate Christmas?
- What are the main ingredients of cosmetics?
Past Continuous and Past Simple
1 The most common use of the past continuous tense is to talk about something that was happening around a particular time in the past.
What were you doing at 8 o'clock last night? I was watching television.
I started watching television before 8 o'clock and I continued watching it after 8 o'clock.
In 1994 he was working in a small town in Poland.
At 6 o'clock on Saturday morning we were travelling to the airport.
2 We often use the past continuous and the past simple tense together. When this happens, the past continuous describes a longer, ‘background' action or situation and the past simple describes the action or events.
When I woke up this morning it was raining and my father was singing in the kitchen.
I was walking home, whistling happily, when I saw two masked men run out of the bank.
Often, the ‘action' described by the past simple tense interrupts the ‘situation' described by the past continuous tense.
I broke my leg when I was skiing.
I was playing a computer game when the doorbell rang.
Notice that the past continuous describes ‘situations' that go on for some time - ‘skiing' and ‘playing' but the past simple describes ‘actions' that happen quickly - ‘broke' and ‘rang'.
Notice too the important difference between these two sentences.
When they arrived, Jeff was cooking dinner. Jeff started cooking before they arrived.
When they arrived, Jeff cooked dinner. Jeff started cooking dinner after they arrived.
Complete the sentences with an appropriate form of the verb in brackets.
1 You (work) as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I (meet) you.
2 When I (walk) into the room it was chaos! The dog (run) around the room and the children (write) on the walls.
3 Excuse me sir. Can you tell us what you (do) at 11 o'clock last night?
4 As soon as I (see) the accident I (call) the police.
5 The day I (hear) the news I (study) for my exams. I'll never forget it.
Quiz Question 8
The national sport of Wales.
Consumer society - key
- Our needs depend on our age and our way of life
- We could work less
- A conserver buys environmentally friendly products that last a long time
- Asian children don't celebrate Christmas because they are not Christian
- The main ingredients of cosmetics are alcohol and petroleum
- were working/met
- walked/was running/were writing
- were doing
- heard/was studying