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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay from the real IELTS exam on the topic of demand for consumer goods and the effect on the environment.

It’s a two-part question so you simply need to answer each question.

Remember to check out my online courses here and my corrections here and my Patreon exclusive essays here.

Dave

Before reading, listen to the audio file and take notes:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay: Demand for Consumer Goods

The increase in the production of consumer goods results in damage to the natural environment.

What are the causes of this?

What can be done to solve this problem?

Real Past IELTS Exam

The increasing desire for consumer goods today has accelerated industrial production and this poses a threat to the environment. This essay will delineate the reasons for this and also propose solutions for these concomitant environmental risks.

Environmental degradation due to the production of consumer goods can be traced back to governmental shortcomings. Competition between countries makes it nearly impossible to agree on a cohesive global policy. There are attempts, like the recent Paris accords, but many powerful countries, chiefly the United States and China, fear losing their competitive advantages and are unwilling to sign over their autonomy. Developing countries also feel that protecting the environment handicaps them and is a lower priority than rising standards of living. This is coupled with the rise of corporate lobbying groups and corruption in governments around the world. Powerful companies can fund studies for bills that support their efforts to ramp up production and downplay the environmental costs.

The environmental implications of a consumer economy can be mitigated through an array of strict governmental regulations. The best examples of these laws come from environmentally conscious nations in Europe. The European Union has signed every global accord put before them and are making great strides in enforcing among its constituent members the agreed upon limits set forth in these charters. These include allowing countries to buy carbon credits, banning plastic bags and controlling the disposal of toxic waste. There are also more proactive solutions that entail encouraging renewable energies such as solar and wind power. The rest of the world can learn from these European reforms how to wean themselves off an unhealthy dependence on the fossil fuels that underpin consumerism.

In conclusion, government is to blame for the impact of a consumer economy on the environment and they also hold the keys to averting future catastrophe. However, it is unlikely governments will opt to act until the situation is already beyond a tipping point.

Analysis

1. The increasing desire for consumer goods today has accelerated industrial production and this poses a threat to the environment. 2. This essay will delineate the reasons for this and also propose solutions for these concomitant environmental risks.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. State a clear overall opinion – don’t sit in the middle!

1. Environmental degradation due to the production of consumer goods can be traced back to governmental shortcomings. 2. Competition between countries makes it nearly impossible to agree on a cohesive global policy. 3. There are attempts, like the recent Paris accords, but many powerful countries, chiefly the United States and China, fear losing their competitive advantages and are unwilling to sign over their autonomy. 4. Developing countries also feel that protecting the environment handicaps them and is a lower priority than rising standards of living. 5. This is coupled with the rise of corporate lobbying groups and corruption in governments around the world. 6. Powerful companies can fund studies for bills that support their efforts to ramp up production and downplay the environmental costs.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Begin to develop or explain your main idea.
  3. Give a specific example.
  4. Develop the example.
  5. This question asks for more than 1 cause so include a second cause.
  6. Develop that cause as well.

1. The environmental implications of a consumer economy can be mitigated through an array of strict governmental regulations. 2. The best examples of these laws come from environmentally conscious nations in Europe. 3. The European Union has signed every global accord put before them and are making great strides in enforcing among its constituent members the agreed upon limits set forth in these charters. 4. These include allowing countries to buy carbon credits, banning plastic bags and controlling the disposal of toxic waste. 5. There are also more proactive solutions that entail encouraging renewable energies such as solar and wind power. 6. The rest of the world can learn from these European reforms how to wean themselves off an unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels that underpin consumerism.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Begin another specific example.
  3. Develop the example.
  4. Continue developing it – don’t switch to another example.
  5. This one asks for more than 1 solution, so add a second solution.
  6. Develop that solution as well.

1. In conclusion, government is to blame for the impact of a consumer economy on the environment and they also hold the keys to averting future catastrophe. 2. However, it is unlikely governments will opt to act until the situation is already beyond a tipping point.

  1. Repeat your opinion.
  2. Add in a final thought/detail.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

The increasing desire for consumer goods today has accelerated industrial production and this poses a threat to the environment. This essay will delineate the reasons for this and also propose solutions for these concomitant environmental risks.

Environmental degradation due to the production of consumer goods can be traced back to governmental shortcomings. Competition between countries makes it nearly impossible to agree on a cohesive global policy. There are attempts, like the recent Paris accords, but many powerful countries, chiefly the United States and China, fear losing their competitive advantages and are unwilling to sign over their autonomy. Developing countries also feel that protecting the environment handicaps them and is a lower priority than rising standards of living. This is coupled with the rise of corporate lobbying groups and corruption in governments around the world. Powerful companies can fund studies for bills that support their efforts to ramp up production and downplay the environmental costs.

The environmental implications of a consumer economy can be mitigated through an array of strict governmental regulations. The best examples of these laws come from environmentally conscious nations in Europe. The European Union has signed every global accord put before them and are making great strides in enforcing among its constituent members the agreed upon limits set forth in these charters. These include allowing countries to buy carbon credits, banning plastic bags and controlling the disposal of toxic waste. There are also more proactive solutions that entail encouraging renewable energies such as solar and wind power. The rest of the world can learn from these European reforms how to wean themselves off an unhealthy dependence on the fossil fuels that underpin consumerism.

In conclusion, government is to blame for the impact of a consumer economy on the environment and they also hold the keys to averting future catastrophe. However, it is unlikely governments will opt to act until the situation is already beyond a tipping point.

Answers

increasing desire wanting more and more

consumer goods products

accelerated industrial production faster creation of products

poses a threat is a problem

delineate describe

propose solutions suggest fixes

concomitant environmental risks resultant problems for the environment

degradation getting worse

traced back has its source in

governmental shortcomings government failing to

nearly impossible almost can’t be done

cohesive global policy consistent regulations for all countries

attempts tries

recent Paris accords not long ago agreements about the environment from a conference in Paris

chiefly mainly

fear scared of

competitive advantages ahead of other countries

unwilling don’t want to

sign over allow

autonomy control

handicaps holds them back

lower priority not as important

rising standards of living people living better lives

coupled combined with

rise increase

corporate lobbying groups people who work for companies to convince/bribe politicians

fund studies give money for research

bills legislation

ramp up increase

downplay make lesser

implications results

mitigated lessened

array lots of kinds

strict governmental regulations tough laws

environmentally conscious caring about the environment

European Union countries in Europe working together

every global accord put before them all agreements presented to them

making great strides getting better at

enforcing making sure the laws are followed

constituent members countries in the E.U.

agreed upon limits set forth what they have decided to follow, the rules laid out

charters agreements

buy carbon credits purchase the right to pollute

banning plastic bags not allowing single-use plastic bags

controlling the disposal of toxic waste regulating how waste is gotten rid of

proactive solutions active measures

entail encouraging renewable energies include helping clean energy

solar from the sun

wind power wind turbines generating power

reforms changes

wean themselves off stop using

unhealthy dependence have to use, can’t stop

fossil fuels oil, gas

underpin consumerism the foundation for capitalism

is to blame the fault of

hold the keys are in charge of

averting future catastrophe preventing disasters later

unlikely probably not going to happen

beyond a tipping point won’t be able to reverse it

Pronunciation

Listen and repeat:

ɪnˈkriːsɪŋ dɪˈzaɪə 
kənˈsjuːmə gʊdz 
əkˈsɛləreɪtɪd ɪnˈdʌstrɪəl prəˈdʌkʃən 
ˈpəʊzɪz ə θrɛt 
dɪˈlɪnɪeɪt 
prəˈpəʊz səˈluːʃənz 
kənˈkɒmɪtənt ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntl rɪsks
ˌdɛgrəˈdeɪʃən 
treɪst bæk 
ˌgʌvənˈmɛntl ʃɔːtˈkʌmɪŋz
ˈnɪəli ɪmˈpɒsəbl 
kəʊˈhiːsɪv ˈgləʊbəl ˈpɒlɪsi
əˈtɛmpts
ˈriːsnt ˈpærɪs əˈkɔːdz
ˈʧiːfli 
fɪə 
kəmˈpɛtɪtɪv ədˈvɑːntɪʤɪz 
ʌnˈwɪlɪŋ 
saɪn ˈəʊvə 
ɔːˈtɒnəmi
ˈhændɪkæps 
ˈləʊə praɪˈɒrɪti 
ˈraɪzɪŋ ˈstændədz ɒv ˈlɪvɪŋ
ˈkʌpld 
raɪz 
ˈkɔːpərɪt ˈlɒbiɪŋ gruːps 
fʌnd ˈstʌdiz 
bɪlz 
ræmp ʌp 
daʊn pleɪ 
ˌɪmplɪˈkeɪʃənz 
ˈmɪtɪgeɪtɪd 
əˈreɪ 
strɪkt ˌgʌvənˈmɛntl ˌrɛgjʊˈleɪʃənz
ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntli ˈkɒnʃəs 
ˌjʊərəˈpi(ː)ən ˈjuːnjən 
ˈɛvri ˈgləʊbəl əˈkɔːd pʊt bɪˈfɔː ðɛm 
ˈmeɪkɪŋ greɪt straɪdz 
ɪnˈfɔːsɪŋ 
kənˈstɪtjʊənt ˈmɛmbəz 
əˈgriːd əˈpɒn ˈlɪmɪts sɛt fɔːθ 
ˈʧɑːtəz
baɪ ˈkɑːbən ˈkrɛdɪts
ˈbænɪŋ ˈplæstɪk bægz 
kənˈtrəʊlɪŋ ðə dɪsˈpəʊzəl ɒv ˈtɒksɪk weɪst
prəʊˈæktɪv səˈluːʃənz 
ɪnˈteɪl ɪnˈkʌrɪʤɪŋ rɪˈnjuːəbl ˈɛnəʤiz 
ˈsəʊlə 
wɪnd ˈpaʊə
ˌriːˈfɔːmz 
wiːn ðəmˈsɛlvz ɒf 
ʌnˈhɛlθi dɪˈpɛndəns 
ˈfɒsl fjʊəlz 
ˌʌndəˈpɪn kənˈsjuːmərɪz(ə)m
ɪz tuː bleɪm 
həʊld ðə kiːz 
əˈvɜːtɪŋ ˈfjuːʧə kəˈtæstrəfi
ʌnˈlaɪkli 
bɪˈjɒnd ə ˈtɪpɪŋ pɔɪnt

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

The i______________________e for c____________________s today has a___________________________________n and this p____________________t to the environment. This essay will d______________e the reasons for this and also p____________________s for these c___________________________________s.

Environmental d___________________n due to the production of consumer goods can be t______________k to g____________________________s. Competition between countries makes it n___________________e to agree on a c______________________y. There are a_______________s, like the r________________________s, but many powerful countries, c__________y the United States and China, f______r losing their c_______________________s and are u_______________g to s______________r their a_______________y. Developing countries also feel that protecting the environment h______________s them and is a l____________________y than r____________________________g. This is c__________d with the r_____e of c_____________________________s and corruption in governments around the world. Powerful companies can f_________________s for b________s that support their efforts to r______________p production and d_________________y the environmental costs.

The environmental i_______________________s of a consumer economy can be m______________d through an a_______y of s________________________________s. The best examples of these laws come from e____________________________s nations in Europe. The E________________________n has signed e___________________________________m and are m____________________s in e________________g among its c________________________s the a_____________________________________h in these c______________s. These include allowing countries to b___________________________s, b__________________________s and c_____________________________________e. There are also more p___________________s that e__________________________________s such as s_____________r and w___________________r. The rest of the world can learn from these European r_____________s how to w____________________________f an u___________________________e on the f_____________s that u__________________m.

In conclusion, government i________________e for the impact of a consumer economy on the environment and they also h________________s to a_______________________________e. However, it is u___________y governments will opt to act until the situation is already b_____________________________t.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Learn more here about the impact of consumer goods on the environment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NluFskx4mvc

Reading Practice

Read about the topic here to get more ideas and review some vocabulary:

https://www.sciencealert.com/consumers-have-a-bigger-impact-on-the-environment-than-anything-else-study-finds

Speaking Practice

Answer the questions below from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Environment

Why do people throw rubbish the streets?

How can people be encouraged to not litter?

What are the results of littering?

What steps has your government taken to make people pick up after themselves?

Do the efforts of a single person have an impact on the world as a whole?

Real Past IELTS Exam

Writing Practice

Write about the following topic then check with my sample answer:

Online shopping is becoming more common these days.

What effect could this have on the environment and the types of jobs required?

Real Past IELTS Exam

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