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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of local environmental responsibility from the real IELTS general training exam.

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IELTS Essay: Local Environmenal Responsibility

Governments should make people responsible for looking after their own local environment.

Do you agree or disagree?

Some would argue that climate change is such a pressing threat that governments should issue mandates to make individuals responsible for protecting the local environment. In my opinion, this might raise environmental awareness, however it is not advisable as other steps are more likely to produce results.

Those who suggest individuals should be compelled to accept responsibility are hoping for a united effort from the general public. The entire reason the Earth faces potential catastrophe is because of over-population and consumer habits. There would be a noticeable improvement if individuals were forced to recycle, clean up litter in their neighborhoods and reduce their carbon footprint by not using private vehicles, single-use plastics, and airplanes. There is the added argument that it is important to instill public duty in the mind of the average person. The government could fix these problems but that would only enable bad behavior from citizens in the same way that an overly permissive parent engenders a spoiled child.

However, the impact from the steps mentioned above would be marginal compared to the regulations governments can enact on various industries. Individuals might not follow the mandates from governments and they would be extremely difficult to enforce in populous nations that value individual liberty such as India, the United States, and Brazil. If governments instead passed laws related to both small and large businesses they could combat global and local issues. Companies that contribute to air and water pollution could be severely fined and the businesses that profit the most from mass consumerism could be forced to institute more environmentally friendly policies. These simple reforms would have tremendous impact.

In conclusion, although this policy would help individuals become more active in their communities, it is more important for governments to enact sweeping regulations on corporations. In this way, the most progress will be made.

Analysis

1. Some would argue that climate change is such a pressing threat that governments should issue mandates to make individuals responsible for protecting the local environment. 2. In my opinion, this might raise environmental awareness, however it is not advisable as other steps are more likely to produce results.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Those who suggest individuals should be compelled to accept responsibility are hoping for a united effort from the general public. 2. The entire reason the Earth faces potential catastrophe is because of over-population and consumer habits. 3. There would be a noticeable improvement if individuals were forced to recycle, clean up litter in their neighborhoods and reduce their carbon footprint by not using private vehicles, single-use plastics, and airplanes. 4. There is the added argument that it is important to instill public duty in the mind of the average person. 5. The government could fix these problems but that would only enable bad behavior from citizens in the same way that an overly permissive parent engenders a spoiled child.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. You can have a second main idea.

1. However, the impact from the steps mentioned above would be marginal compared to the regulations governments can enact on various industries. 2. Individuals might not follow the mandates from governments and they would be extremely difficult to enforce in populous nations that value individual liberty such as India, the United States, and Brazil. 3. If governments instead passed laws related to both small and large businesses they could combat global and local issues. 4. Companies that contribute to air and water pollution could be severely fined and the businesses that profit the most from mass consumerism could be forced to institute more environmentally friendly policies. 5. These simple reforms would have tremendous impact.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. I don’t usually use personal examples, but I did in this essay.
  5. Develop the example fully.
  6. Finish with a strong statement.

1. In conclusion, although this policy would help individuals become more active in their communities, it is more important for governments to enact sweeping regulations on corporations. 2. In this way, the most progress will be made.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

Some would argue that climate change is such a pressing threat that governments should issue mandates to make individuals responsible for protecting the local environment. In my opinion, this might raise environmental awareness, however it is not advisable as other steps are more likely to produce results.

Those who suggest individuals should be compelled to accept responsibility are hoping for a united effort from the general public. The entire reason the Earth faces potential catastrophe is because of over-population and consumer habits. There would be a noticeable improvement if individuals were forced to recycle, clean up litter in their neighborhoods and reduce their carbon footprint by not using private vehicles, single-use plastics, and airplanes. There is the added argument that it is important to instill public duty in the mind of the average person. The government could fix these problems but that would only enable bad behavior from citizens in the same way that an overly permissive parent engenders a spoiled child.

However, the impact from the steps mentioned above would be marginal compared to the regulations governments can enact on various industries. Individuals might not follow the mandates from governments and they would be extremely difficult to enforce in populous nations that value individual liberty such as India, the United States, and Brazil. If governments instead passed laws related to both small and large businesses they could combat global and local issues. Companies that contribute to air and water pollution could be severely fined and the businesses that profit the most from mass consumerism could be forced to institute more environmentally friendly policies. These simple reforms would have tremendous impact.

In conclusion, although this policy would help individuals become more active in their communities, it is more important for governments to enact sweeping regulations on corporations. In this way, the most progress will be made.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

argue claim

such a pressing threat that a major risk

issue mandates send out orders

responsible for protecting duty for taking care of

local environment what’s around you

raise environmental awareness know more about the environment

not advisable should not be done

other steps different actions

produce results get things done

suggest say

compelled have to

accept responsibility take on the duty

hoping for ideally

united effort working together

general public people

entire reason whole justification

faces potential catastrophe combats possible harm

over-population too many people

consumer habits what people buy

noticeable improvement clear progress

recycle re-use

clean up litter pick up trash

neighborhoods communities

reduce cut down on

carbon footprint what you produce personally that impacts the environment

private vehicles cars, bikes, etc.

single-use plastics bottles, bags, etc.

added argument additional point

instill public duty engender care for all society

the average person normal resident

problems issues

enable allow for

in the same way that the same as

overly permissive letting them get away with too much

engenders creates

spoiled child kid who is not disciplined

mentioned above detailed before

marginal small

regulations laws

enact pass

various industries different sectors

mandates orders

extremely difficult very hard

enforce make sure it is followed

populous nations countries with many people

value individual liberty care about freedom

instead rather than

related to concerning

combat global fight international

local issues problems from near you

contribute add ot

severely fined have to pay a lot

profit the most get more out of

mass consumerism people buying things

institute put in place

environmentally friendly policies reforms good for nature

simple reforms basic changes

tremendous impact big effect

policy reform

active not passive

sweeping regulations big laws

progress getting better

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ˈɑːgjuː 
sʌʧ ə ˈprɛsɪŋ θrɛt ðæt 
ˈɪʃuː ˈmændeɪts 
rɪsˈpɒnsəbl fɔː prəˈtɛktɪŋ 
ˈləʊkəl ɪnˈvaɪərənmənt
reɪz ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntl əˈweənəs
nɒt ədˈvaɪzəbl 
ˈʌðə stɛps 
ˈprɒdjuːs rɪˈzʌlts
səˈʤɛst 
kəmˈpɛld 
əkˈsɛpt rɪsˌpɒnsəˈbɪlɪti 
ˈhəʊpɪŋ fɔː 
jʊˈnaɪtɪd ˈɛfət 
ˈʤɛnərəl ˈpʌblɪk
ɪnˈtaɪə ˈriːzn 
ˈfeɪsɪz pəʊˈtɛnʃəl kəˈtæstrəfi 
ˈəʊvə-ˌpɒpjʊˈleɪʃən 
kənˈsjuːmə ˈhæbɪts
ˈnəʊtɪsəbl ɪmˈpruːvmənt 
ˌriːˈsaɪkl
kliːn ʌp ˈlɪtə 
ˈneɪbəhʊdz 
rɪˈdjuːs 
ˈkɑːbən ˈfʊtprɪnt 
ˈpraɪvɪt ˈviːɪklz
ˈsɪŋgl-juːz ˈplæstɪks
ˈædɪd ˈɑːgjʊmənt 
ɪnˈstɪl ˈpʌblɪk ˈdjuːti 
ði ˈævərɪʤ ˈpɜːsn
ˈprɒbləmz 
ɪˈneɪbl 
ɪn ðə seɪm weɪ ðæt 
ˈəʊvəli pəˈmɪsɪv 
ɪnˈʤɛndəz 
spɔːɪld ʧaɪld
ˈmɛnʃənd əˈbʌv 
ˈmɑːʤɪnəl 
ˌrɛgjʊˈleɪʃənz 
ɪˈnækt 
ˈveərɪəs ˈɪndəstriz
ˈmændeɪts 
ɪksˈtriːmli ˈdɪfɪkəlt 
ɪnˈfɔːs 
ˈpɒpjʊləs ˈneɪʃənz 
ˈvæljuː ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəl ˈlɪbəti 
ɪnˈstɛd 
rɪˈleɪtɪd tuː 
ˈkɒmbæt ˈgləʊbəl 
ˈləʊkəl ˈɪʃuːz
kənˈtrɪbju(ː)t 
sɪˈvɪəli faɪnd 
ˈprɒfɪt ðə məʊst 
mæs kənˈsjuːmərɪz(ə)m 
ˈɪnstɪtjuːt 
ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntli ˈfrɛndli ˈpɒlɪsiz
ˈsɪmpl ˌriːˈfɔːmz 
trɪˈmɛndəs ˈɪmpækt
ˈpɒlɪsi 
ˈæktɪv 
ˈswiːpɪŋ ˌrɛgjʊˈleɪʃənz 
ˈprəʊgrəs 

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

Some would a_____e that climate change is s________________________t governments should i________________s to make individuals r________________________g the l__________________t. In my opinion, this might r___________________________s, however it is n_______________e as o_______________s are more likely to p_____________s.

Those who s__________t individuals should be c_______________d to a_____________________y are h______________r a u____________t from the g_______________c. The e____________n the Earth f_________________________e is because of o_____________________n and c__________________s. There would be a n__________________t if individuals were forced to r__________e, c_______________r in their n_________________s and r________e their c_________________t by not using p_________________s, s____________________s, and airplanes. There is the a_________________t that it is important to i______________________y in the mind of t_________________n. The government could fix these p___________s but that would only e_________e bad behavior from citizens i_____________________t an o___________________e parent e____________s a s_____________d.

However, the impact from the steps m__________________e would be m________l compared to the re___________s governments can e______t on v_________________s. Individuals might not follow the m__________s from governments and they would be e__________________t to e__________e in p_______________s that v___________________y such as India, the United States, and Brazil. If governments i_________d passed laws r_________o both small and large businesses they could c________________l and l_____________s. Companies that c____________e to air and water pollution could be s____________d and the businesses that p_________________t from m_______________m could be forced to i__________e more e__________________________________s. These s_______________s would have t__________________t.

In conclusion, although this p_____y would help individuals become more a_____e in their communities, it is more important for governments to enact s___________________s on corporations. In this way, the most p________s will be made.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from The New York Times YouTube channel below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/bye-bye-plastic-bags-indonesia-environmental-island-clean-up-a9605651.html

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Environment

  1. Why do people throw rubbish the streets?
  2. How can people be encouraged to not litter?
  3. What are the results of littering?
  4. What steps has your government taken to make people pick up after themselves?
  5. Do the efforts of a single person have an impact on the world as a whole?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Developing the economy will always damage the environment.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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