Section 4 – Health and Well-being

Units 13 – 16 Food and Climate

Consolidate your learning – Web resources for self-study

A. Put it all together and take a free course

The courses below are produced by the Open University in the UK, a world leader in open and distance learning. They are not language development courses, but instead focus on the topic (or SDG) you have learned about in the previous units. They give you an opportunity to put all of your language skills into practice and notice new vocabulary that you have learned in an authentic environment. You can begin at any time and work at your own pace. You do not need to create an account unless you would like a free statement of participation from the Open University on completion.

Eating for the environment (8 hours)

This free course will explore the links between food, nutrition and environmental sustainability. It will start by exploring the diversity on your dinner plate and encourage you to reflect on it in relation to dietary choices and preferences of people around the world. It will explore the connections between food, culture and traditions, and the challenges in providing healthy and nutritious food to the world’s growing population. The course will examine innovative approaches to food that also help environmental sustainability.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • identify the diversity of ingredients on dinner plates from around the world
  • list the ingredients of a dinner plate and place them on the taxonomic tree
  • recognise traditional and cultural associations of food
  • identify geographical origins of different foods and intellectual property rights over them
  • explore the links between food choices and environmental sustainability.

Climate change (18 hours)

Climate change is a key issue on today’s social and political agenda. This free course explores the basic science that underpins climate change and global warming.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the physical basis of the natural greenhouse effect, including the meaning of the term ‘radiative forcing’
  • know something of the way various human activities are increasing emissions of the natural greenhouse gases, and are also contributing to sulphate aerosols in the troposphere
  • demonstrate an awareness of the difficulties involved in the detection of any unusual global warming ‘signal’ above the ‘background noise’ of natural variability in the Earth’s climate, and of attributing (in whole or in part) any such signal to human activity
  • understand that although a growing scientific consensus has become established through the IPCC, the complexities and uncertainties of the science provide opportunity for climate sceptics to challenge the Panel’s findings.

Climate change: transitions to sustainability (5 hours)

Human societies have to take urgent action to end their dependencies on fossil fuels. We have to alter the whole path of our development and decision making in order to make our societies both environmentally adaptable and sustainable. This free course takes on the task of trying to chart some of the ways in which it might be possible.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the four dimensions of globalisation in relation to climate change
  • distinguish between the three approaches to achieve sustainability
  • know the difference between ‘government’ and ‘governance’
  • identify what makes ecological citizenship distinctive
  • understand how the medium of the web can aid transitions to sustainability.

The Stories We Live By

A free online course in ecolinguistics, by the University of Gloucester, UK

‘Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories that individuals or nations live by and you change the individuals and nations themselves’ (Ben Okri, 1996. Birds of Heaven, p. 21).

This course by Arran Stibbe, Professor of Ecological Linguistics at the University of Gloucestershire, UK, looks at the language used in advertisements, lifestyle magazines, economics textbooks, surfing guides, Native American sayings and Japanese animation. In each case, the question is whether the stories that underlie texts encourage us to care about people and the ecosystems that life depends on. There are nine parts to the course, each with a video, notes and exercises, and you can access some or all of them depending on your interest. If you would like a certificate of completion you need to register for the course, otherwise registration is not necessary.

Language tools

Vocabulary extension – Use the Oxford Learner’s Word Lists (Oxford 300 and Oxford 5000)

The Oxford Learner’s Word Lists are designed to help English language learners at any level focus on the most important words to learn. Based on an extensive corpora (i.e. collections of written and spoken texts) and aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), the word lists have been researched and developed together with vocabulary experts, and cover the words that you will come across in class and in your study texts.

The Oxford 3000 is a list of the 3,000 core words that every learner of English needs to know and includes words from A1 to B2 level. The Oxford 5000 is an expanded core word list for more advanced learners of English. It contains an additional 2000 words at B2 to C1 level.

Tools to use with video

VoiceTube – The video platform VoiceTube is a free site with over one hundred thousand videos with full subtitles that are highlighted as you listen so that you can listen and read at the same time. This is a self-study tool that allows you to listen and study each individual sentence within a video:

  • The videos are organised by level. Choose B2 or C1 from the left-hand menu before you begin.
  • Click on any of the subtitles to jump to that part of the video.
  • Select any of the subtitles and click on the ‘repeat sentence’ pair of arrows on the bottom left of the screen to hear the sentence repeated.
  • Turn off the subtitles by clicking the button in the bottom left of the screen if you prefer.
  • You can take and save notes about the vocabulary within the script.
  • You can listen and record yourself saying sentences from the script, then compare to the original.
  • Click on ‘channels’ in the left-hand menu to select videos by topic.

TubeNote is an app for note-making, to use while you are watching YouTube videos.

YouGlish is a tool for developing pronunciation. Just search for any word or phrase and YouGlish will find an example in a YouTube video and take you directly to the part of the video where the phrase appears. You can then listen to the phrase in context and see the sentence that it appears in.

TubeQuizard is a self-study tool that allows you to select level, the subject you want to study, the type of film and even the accent you want to learn. TubeQuizard will generate activities for you based around the subtitles. You can then listen, fill in gaps and check your answers. There is also a search engine so that you can type in a specific phrase and find a video that contains that text.

Publish your writing

Letters to the Earth is a website where people from all over the world of all ages are submitting and sharing their letters. You can find resources to help you write a letter on the website as well as details about how to submit.

Develop your teamwork & language skills

Participate in the Earth Day digital escape room, unlocking clues and solving puzzles to learn about Earth Day.

Use a grammar resource

Road to Grammar is a comprehensive online grammar resource.


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Develop Your English Copyright © 2024 by Susan Robbins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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