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                                             Lesson 3
                                  Ships in the Desert
                                         Detailed Study

1. Ships in the Desert: Ships anchored in the desert. This is an eye-catching title and it gives
an image that people hardly see. When readers read the title, they can’t help wondering why
and how.
2. capable of processing a fifty-ton catch on a good day: having the ability of cleaning and
preparing for marketing or canning fifty-tons of fish on a productive day.
catch: the amount of something caught; in the sentence it refers to the amount of fish caught
e.g. The boat brought back a big catch of fish.
3. but as I looked out over the bow, the prospects of a good catch looked bleak: a good catch
did not look promising / hopeful.
This is obviously an understatement because with sand all around there was no chance of
catching fish, to say nothing of catching a lot of fish.
bow: the front part of a ship
ant. Stern
compare: bow: v. & n. to bend the upper part of the body forward, as a way of showing
respect, admitting defeat, etc.
bow : n. a weapon for shooting arrow
a long thin piece of wood with a tight string fastened along it, used for playing musical
instruments that have strings
a knot formed by doubling a string or cord into two curved pieces, and used for decoration in
the hair, in tying shoes, etc
a) If a situation is bleak, it is bad, and seems unlikely to improve.
e.g. His future looked bleak.
bleak prospect; the bleakness of the post war years
b) If a place is bleak, it looks cold, bare, and unattractive
e.g. the bleak coastline
c) When the weather is bleak, it is cold, dull, and unpleasant
e.g. the bleak winters
d) If someone looks or sounds bleak, they seem depressed, hopeless, or unfriendly
e.g. his bleak features
bleakly adv.
e.g. He stared bleakly ahead.
“What,” he asked bleakly, “are these?”
4. waves lapping against the side of the ship: waves touching the side of the ship gently and
makes a soft sound lap can also be used as a noun.
e.g. Your lap is the flat area formed by your thighs when you are sitting down.
Her youngest child was asleep in her lap.
He placed the baby on the woman’s lap.
In a race, when you say that a competitor has completed a lap when he or she has gone round
the course race.
5. as far as I could see in all direction: that extended as far as the eye could see;
6. that stretched all the way to the horizon: that extended to the far off place where the sky
meet the earth
7. comparable: something that is comparable to something else is a) as good as/ as big as/ as
important as the other thing; b) similar to the other thing
e.g. This dinner is comparable to the best French cooking.
Our house is not comparable with yours. Ours is just a small hut while yours is a palace.
8. Now it is disappearing because the water that used to feed it has been diverted in an
ill-considered irrigation scheme to grow cotton in the dessert: Now it is becoming smaller and
smaller because the water that used to flow into the sea has been turned away to irrigate the
land created in the desert to grow cotton. The scheme was an ill-conceived one because it
failed to take into consideration the ecological effect.
9. dock: v. anchor, moor
Paragraph 2. thesis statement: travel around the world to check and study cases in order to
find out the basic causes behind the environmental crisis
10. My search for the underlying causes of the environmental crisis has led me to travel
around the world to examine and study many of these images of destruction: I travelled
around the world because I wanted to see, check and study cases of such destruction in order
to find out the basic causes behind the environmental crisis.
This sentence is the thesis statement, expressing the main idea and indicating the development
of a causal essay.
images of destruction: typical examples of destruction
11. the sun glaring at midnight through a hole in the sky: the sun shining at midnight through
the ozone depletion
midnight sun: phenomenon occurring only in the polar regions
a hole: ozone depletion 臭氧层空洞
12. about the tunnel he was digging through time: about the tunnel he was drilling for samples
from the glacier, which estimates the time. The deeper he drilled, the farther the sample in
time; in other words, the surface of the glacier [image-10] is an indication of recent time while
the deeper part of the glacier tells of situation of a much more remote period.
13. Slipping his parka back to reveal a badly burned face that was cracked and peeling :
Pushing his parka back, he revealed a badly burned face because of overexposure to direct
sunlight; on the face there were lines that were split open and pieces of skin were coming
parka:   n. waterproof jacket with a hood attached (as worn for skiing, mountain climbing,
14. He moved his finger back in time to the ice of two decades ago: Following the layers of ice
in the core sample, his finger came to the place where the layer of ice was formed 20 years
15. two continents: South America and Antarctica
16. emission: the amount of pollutants discharged
17. least accessible place on earth: the place which is the most difficult to get to in the world
Paragraph 3. the global warming seen in the Antarctic
18. Industry meant coal: the development of industry meant the use of large amount of coal as
fuel to generate power.
19. bringing rising levels of carbon dioxide: making the amount of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere grow
20. with its ability to trap more heat in the atmosphere and slowly warm the earth: heat
cannot easily get through carbon dioxide and go into the high altitude so carbon dioxide plays
the role of a cover, keeping the heat near the earth.
21. the part after the dash (--) serves as an adverbial of result
22. upwind from the ice runaway where the ski plane lands and keeps its engines running to
prevent the metal parts from freeze-locking together, scientists monitor the air several times
every day to chart the course of that inexorable change: upwind from the ice runaway where
the ski plane lands and keeps its engines running so that the metal parts will not be frozen
solid, scientists watch the air several times every day to mark the course of that unalternable
upwind: in the direction from which the wind is blowing or usually blows
ice runway : runway is a strip of paved ground for use by airplanes in taking off and landing,
and here in the South Pole the runway is a strip of ice ground
to prevent the metal parts from freeze-locking together: to stop the metal parts from being
frozen solid
monitor the air: watch or check on the air
to chart the course: to show the onward movement on an outline map
inexorable: that cannot be changed; unalternable
e.g. the inexorable rise in the cost of living
23. graph: usually a mathematical diagram
Paragraph 4. a thinning cap as the result of Arctic air warms
24. pitch: pitch a tent means put up a tent
e.g. They pitched their tent near the stream.
They pitched their tent at the edge of the field.
25. slab: A slab of something is a thick flat piece of it.
e.g. a slab of rock; a concrete slab; a slab of cheese
26. frigid: cold; icy; freezing
e.g. frigid weather
27. a hearty breakfast: a satisfying and rich breakfast
to describe meals: sumptuous dinner; humble bread and cheese; square meal
28. snowmobile: a kind of motor vehicle for traveling over snow, usually with steer able
runners at the front and tractor treads at the rear
29. rendezvous point: the place where a submarine was to pick them up
rendezvous: a) A rendezvous is a meeting often a secret one, that you have arranged with
someone for a particular time and place.
e.g. We make a dawn rendezvous.
b) A rendezvous is a place where you have arranged to meet somebody often secretly.
e.g. I met him at a secret rendezvous outside the city.
30. hover: to wait close by, especially in an overprotective, insistent or anxious way
When a bird or insect hovers, it stays in the same position in the air by moving its wings very
If somebody is hovering, they are waiting in one place, for example, because they cannot
decide what to do.
e.g. A figure hovered uncertainly in the doorway.
31. After it crashed through the ice, took on its new passengers, and resubmerged: After it
broke through the ice, picked up it new passengers, and went below the surface of water again
emerge: appear
submerge: go below the surface of water
32. the polar ice cap: 极地冰冠
33. to secure the release of previously top secret data: to ensure the making public of data
which was originally classified as top secret .
34. from submarine sonar tracks: obtained from submarine sonar tracks
sonar: [U] (an acronym for sound navigation ranging) an apparatus using sound waves for
finding the position of underwater objects, such as mines or submarines 声纳(利用声波探测
Baiqi dolphins :have sonar. Bats have sonar.
35. and then I was standing in an eerily beautiful snowscape, windswept and sparkling white,
with the horizon defined by little hummocks, or “pressure ridges” of ice that are pushed up
like tiny mountain ranges when separate sheets collide: and then I was standing in the vast
scene of snow which was fearfully beautiful, windswept and shining white, with the stretch of
ice field characterized by small ridges because of the force of the collision of the separate
eerily: mysteriously or uncannily, especially in such a way as to frighten or disturb
snowscape: scene of snow. Compare with landscape and seascape.
windswept: swept by or exposed to winds
with the horizon defined by little hummocks: with stretch of ice field characterized by small
36. the ice here will thin: the ice here will become thin
37. the consequences of a thinning cap could be disastrous: the result of a thinning cap may
indicate the possibilities of disasters
could: the word indicates “possibilities”
Paragraph 5. the rising temperature of the earth
38. Considering such scenarios is not a purely speculative exercise: Thinking about how a
series of events might happen as a consequence of the thinning of the Polar cap is not just a
kind of practice in conjecture / speculation, it has got practical value.
scenario: a) an outline for an proposed or planned series of events, real or imagined 方案
b) the scenario of a film is a piece of writing that gives an outline of the story 脚本
speculative: meditating; thinking; pondering; guessing
39. the pattern of ice distribution: the regular way ice is distributed
40. a still controversial claim: a statement which some scientists still do not completely accept
41. which a variety of data now suggest: data coming from different sources point to this
42. the Arctic Circle: an imaginary line drawn round the world at a certain distance from the
most northern point (the North Pole), north of which there is no darkness for six months of
each year and almost no light for the other six months. cf. the Antarctic Circle
43. tundra : any of the vast, nearly level, treeless plains of the Arctic regions
Paragraph 6. the disturbing images of environmental destruction at the equator
44. billowing: large swelling mass of
billow v. When smoke or cloud billows, it moves slowly upwards or across the sky
45. Amazon rain forest: The Brazilian Amazon contains about a third of the Earth's
remaining tropical forest and a very high portion of its biological diversity. One hectare (2.47
acres) of Amazonian moist forest contains more plant species than all of Europe. Yet still it is
being destroyed just like other rainforests around the world.
46. Acre by acre, the rain forest is being burned to create fast pasture for fast-food beef: Bit
by bit trees in the rain forest are felled and the land is cleared and turned into pasture where
cattle can be raised quickly and slaughtered and the beef can be used in hamburgers.
Pay attention to the connection of the two “fasts” in fast pasture and fast food. With that
comes the “fast” disappearance of the rain forest.
fast pasture for fast-food beef: alliteration
47. the dry season: ant. in the wet season—the rainy season
similarly: the football season, the breeding season, the planting season, the holiday season, the
harvest season, the cold season, the tourist season, the game season, a season of film
in season: If a fruit or vegetable is in season, it is the time of year when it is time for eating
and it’s widely available.
Ant. be out of season
season v. e.g. season the food with salt
48. with more than one Tennessee’s worth of rain forest being slashed and burned each year:
the area of rain forest burned in one year is bigger than the state of Tennessee.
worth: equal in area or size
slash: cut with a sweeping stroke
If you slash something, you make a long, deep cut in it.
e.g. Jack’s face had been slashed with broken glass.
49. which means we are silencing thousands of songs we have never even heard: Since miles of
forest are being destroyed and the habitat for these rare birds no longer exists, thousands of
birds which we have not even had a chance to see will become extinct.
Paragraph 7. images of destruction seen almost anywhere
50. Images that signal the distress of our global environment are now commonly seen almost
anywhere: Typical examples showing the dangerous environmental situation in the world can
be found almost anywhere.
51. On some nights, in high northern latitudes, the sky itself offers another ghostly image that
signals the loss of ecological balance now in progress: On some nights, in the area at a high
northern latitude, the sky alone presents another example of ill omen showing there is
ecological imbalance and this kind of imbalance is developing.
latitude (s): an area at a particular latitude
in high northern latitude 在北纬高纬度地区
cf. longitude 经度
52. blot out: hide entirely; obscure
If one thing blots out another thing, it is in front of the other thing and prevents it from being
e.g. The dust cloud blotted out the sun.
53. This “noctilucent cloud” occasionally appears when the earth is first cloaked in the
evening darkness; shimmering above us with a translucent whiteness, these clouds seem quite
unnatural: This “luminous cloud” occasionally appears when the earth is first hidden in the
evening darkness; shining unsteadily above us with a partially transparent whiteness, these
clouds don’t seem natural.
noctilucent cloud: nocti- means night; lucent means shining, translucent
designating or of a luminous cloud visible at night
to cloak: to conceal; hide
shimmer: shine with an unsteady light
translucent: partially transparent
54. because of a huge buildup of methane gas in the atmosphere: because there has been a big
increase of methane gas in the atmosphere
55. methane is released from landfills, from coal mines and rice paddies, from billons of
termites that swarm through the freshly cut forestland, from the burning of biomass and from
a variety of other human activities: methane is emitted from garbage disposal, from coal
mines and rice fields, from billions of termites (白蚁)moving in large numbers through the
freshly cut forestland, from the burning of amount of living organism in a particular area and
from a variety of other human activities.
release: let go; emit
swarm: to move in large numbers
e.g. As the fire spread, people came swarming out of the building.
The photographers swarmed round her.
56. Even though noctilucent clouds were sometimes seen in the past, all this extra methane
carries more water vapor into the upper atmosphere, where it condenses at much higher
altitudes to form more clouds that the sun’s rays still strike long after sunset has brought the
beginning of night to the surface far beneath them: The implication is that the night comes
earlier than the upper part. The balance between day and night is broken. altitudes: a high
area e.g. At high altitudes it is difficult to breathe.
Paragraph 8. human attitudes towards the images of destruction
57. What should we feel toward these ghosts in the sky: What should our attitude be toward
these noctilucent clouds in the sky?
58. Simple wonder or the mix of emotions we feel at the zoo: Should it only be a feeling of
surprise and admiration or a combination of different feelings we experience in the zoo?
the mix of emotions we feel at the zoo: on the one hand we feel excited about seeing those
animals, but on the other hand, we feel sorry for them because they have been deprived of
59. Perhaps we should feel awe for our own power: Perhaps we should feel amazed and
frightened at our own power.
60. just as men tear tusks from elephants’ heads in such quantity as to threaten the beast with
extinction: men are killing such large number of elephants for their tusks that the species will
soon extinguish.
61. we are ripping matter from its place in the earth in such volume as to upset the balance
between daylight and darkens: we are using and destroying resources in such a big amount
that we are disturbing the balance between daylight and darkness.
rip: tear; When you rip something or when it rips, it is torn violently.
e.g. The poster had been ripped to pieces.
Two of the canvas bags had been ripped
in such volume: in such quantity
upset: When the word is used as a verb or a predicative, the second syllable is stressed; When
it is used as an adjective in an attributive position, the first syllable is stressed.
e.g.: You are upset. I’ve got an `upset stomach.
to upset the balance: to cause something to go wrong
62. greenhouse gases, and is third only to carbon dioxide and water vapor in total volume:
gases that will trap heat at the surface of the earth like a greenhouse and ranks third only to
carbon dioxide and water vapor in total volume. This means of all the gases, water vapor
occupies the largest portion, carbon dioxide the second. Methane-natural gas, greenhouse
gases- the third
greenhouse: A greenhouse is a glass building in which you grow plants that need to be
protected from cold weather, wind or frost. Here it’s a metaphor.
third only to : similarly second only to
e.g. He is second only to his elder brother.
63. changing the chemistry of the upper atmosphere: changing the chemical composition of
the upper atmosphere
64. But, without even considering that threat, shouldn’t it startle us that we have now put
these clouds in the evening sky which glisten with a spectral light? Or have our eyes adjusted
so completely to the bright lights of civilization that we can’t see these clouds for what they
are—a physical manifestation of the violent collision between human civilization and the
earth? These are two rhetorical questions.
As for rhetorical questions, there’s no need to give the answer, and the answer is implied in
the questions. If the rhetorical question is negative, the answer is positive and vice versa. So
the first rhetorical question means it should startle us…; the second one means our eyes
haven’t adjusted so completely to the bright lights of civilization that we can’t see….
startle: to alarm suddenly or unexpectedly
glisten: to shine or sparkle with reflected light, as a wet or polished surface
spectral: like a ghost; ghostly
Or have our eyes adjusted so completely to the bright lights of civilization that we can’t see
these clouds for what they are—a physical manifestation of the violent collision between
human civilization and the earth?: Or have we been so accustomed to the bright electric lights
that we fail to understand the threatening implication of these clouds / …we fail to understand
that it is a glaring sign of the violent clash between human activity and nature?
adjust (to) : to change so as to fit, conform
see : understand
for what they are: in their real light; the real nature of
manifestation: display
Paragraph 9. human’s puzzling response
65. Even though it is sometimes hard to see their meaning, we have by now all witnessed
surprising experiences: Even though it is sometimes hard to understand the threat of these
clouds, we have so far all seen surprising experiences.
66. [surprising experience] whether it’s the frequency of days when the temperature exceeds
100 degrees, the new speed with which the sun burns our skin, or the new constancy of public
debate over what to do with growing mountains of waste: whether it is the fact that recently
there are more hot days when the temperature is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (=38 degree
Celsius), or the fact the sun burns our skin more quickly in recent times, or the fact that the
debate over the way of disposing of the growing amount of waste matter comes up more
67. But our response to these signals is puzzling: But our reaction to these signals is so baffling
that it is difficult to understand.
68. Why haven’t we launched a massive effort to save our environment: Why haven’t we
started a large-scale movement to save our environment?
69. To come at the question another way: To approach the question in a different way; to put
the question differently
70. Why do some images startle us into immediate action and focus our attention on ways to
respond effectively? : Why do some signs so alarm us that we immediately take action and
concentrate on ways of dealing with them effectively?
some images: e.g. white pollution, (immediate action: stop producing)
sandstorm (immediate action: plant grass and trees)
71. And why do other images, though sometimes equally dramatic, produce instead a kind of
paralysis, focusing our attention not on ways to respond but rather on some convenient, less
painful distraction? : And why do other signs, though sometimes no less striking, only cause a
kind of loss and inactivity and we concentrate our attention not on the ways to deal with them
but instead, on some other substitutes which are easy to get and less painful?
other images: e.g. gases from cars (distraction: people still want cars, and have an easy and
less painful way to deal with this issue, say, it’s a natural cycle, not because of human
Paragraph 10. the importance of organizing our thoughts
72. it may be helpful to classify them and thus begin to organize our thoughts and feelings so
that we may be able to respond appropriately: it may be useful to arrange them into different
groups, thus getting our thoughts and feelings straightened out / organized so that we will be
able to take the most suitable action.
Paragraph 11. the military system: “local” skirmishes, “regional” battles, and “strategic”
73. theater: scene of operation
e.g. This was the Pacific theatre of World War II.
lecture theatre 阶梯教室
74. A useful system comes from the military: A useful way of classifying comes from fighting.
They are: “local” skirmish, “regional” battles, and “strategic” conflict.
A skirmish is a minor battle
75. be reserved for: If something is reserved for a particular person or purpose, it is kept
specially for that person or purpose.
e.g. The garden is reserved for those who work in the museum.
I had a place reserved at the Youth Hostel.
He gave me a look of the sort usually reserved for naughty school children.
76. struggles that can threaten a nation’s survival and must be understood in a global context:
struggles that can endanger a nation’s existence and must be viewed against the background
of the world.
Paragraph 12. the same case with the images of destruction
77. in the same way: in the way of dividing the threats into three categories
78. illegal waste dumping: the disposal of waste in a way that violates the law
79. in nature: in basic quality or character 本质上
e.g. His problem was personal in nature.
These problems are political in nature.
80. Problems like acid rain, the contamination of underground aquifers, and large oil spills
are fundamentally regional. Problems like acid rain, the contamination of underground
aquifers, and large oil spills basically belong to regional category.
Acid rain(酸雨): rain with a high concentration of acids produced by sulfur dioxide (二氧化
硫) [video-7 ], nitrogen oxide (氧化氮) , etc. emitted during the combustion (氧化)of fossil
fuels; it has a destructive effect on plant and aquatic (水中的) life, buildings, etc.
contamination: to make impure or bad by or as if by mixing in / with impure, dirty or
poisonous matter
cf. pollution: Pollution is a term to describe the degrading of the environment in some
way—the air we breathe or the water we drink or wash in can be polluted when it is
contaminated by some foreign or unwanted material, e.g. engine oil or chemicals in water,
smoke, or car exhaust in the air. We talk about air pollution or water pollution—not water
contamination but “pollution” is the more common term.
Contamination is a more scientific term used to describe a substance contaminating or
spoiling something such as an experiment, e.g. the water purity experiment was contaminated
by an outside chemical. We would not say “polluted” in this case.
aquifer: an underground layer of porous (多孔的)rock, sand, etc, containing water, into which
wells can be sunk.
large oil spill: large-scale leaking of oil from oil tankers
81. the pattern appears to be global: It seems that the problem has acquired a global nature
since so many similar things occur at the same time all over the world.
82. because the operation of the global environment is not affect5ed and the survival of
civilization is not at stake: because the working of the world environment as a whole has not
been affected and the existence of mankind has not been endangered.
at stake: in danger
Paragraph 13. a new class of environmental problems affecting the global ecological system:
chlorine    The 600 percent increase in the amount of chlorine in the atmosphere during the
last forty years has taken place not just in those countries producing the chlorofluorocarbons
responsible but in the air above every country, above Antarctica, above the North Pole and
the Pacific Ocean—all the way from the surface of the earth to the top of the sky: There have
been 600 percent increase in the amount of chlorine in the atmosphere during the last forty
years not only in those countries which are mainly responsible for the production of CFC but
also in the air above every country, above Antarctica, above the North Pole and the Pacific
Ocean—all the way from the surface of the earth to the top of the sky.
chlorine: 氯
chlorofluorocarbons: CFC 氟里昂:
83. The increased levels of chlorine disrupt the global process by which the earth regulates the
amount of ultraviolet radiation from the sun: The increase of the amount of chlorine disturbs
the usual way of handling and controlling the amount of ultraviolet radiation the earth
receives from the sun.
ultraviolet: (of light) that is beyond the purple end of the range of colours (spectrum) that
make up light that can be seen by human beings
ultraviolet rays: 紫外线
ultra-: beyond e.g. ultrared (红外线的), ultrashort (超短波的), ultrasonic (超音波的),
regulate: adjust; moderate;
84. to the point: to such a degree
Paragraph 14: another strategic threat—global warming
85. The concentration of carbon dioxide and other heat-absorbing molecules has increased by
almost 25 percent since World War II, posing a worldwide threat to the earth’s ability to
regulate the amount of heat from the sun retained in the atmosphere: As a result of the
increase of those particles that can take in heat, less heat is released into the high altitude and
more heat is kept in the atmosphere than in the past. This will make the climate of the world
warmer. concentration: the measure of the amount of a substance constrained in a liquid [术
语]浓缩;a lose gathering
86. equilibrium that determines the pattern of : balance that decides the regular way of ….
equilibrium: a state of balance between opposing forces
pattern: a regular, mainly unvarying way of movement
87. in turn: in proper sequence or succession
Paragraph 15. the transformed relationship between humankind and the earth
88. in prehistoric times: in the period before recorded history
89. in our own time we have reshaped a large part of the earth’s face with concrete in our
cities: in the modern time we have given a new shape or form to a large part of the earth’s
surface by building paved roads, bridges, buildings etc.
90. carefully tended rice paddies: taken good care of rice fields
91. But these changes, while sometimes appearing to be pervasive, have, until recently, been
relatively trivial factors in the global ecological system: Although sometimes these changes
seem to be taking place everywhere in the world they have, until recently, been relatively
insignificant in their influence on the ecological system of the world.
pervasive: prevailing; spreading
92. it was always safe to assume that nothing we did or could do would have any lasting effect
on the global environment: it wouldn’t cause any disagreement to suppose that nothing we did
or could do would have any lasting effect on the global environment.
assume: to take for granted; to suppose (something) as a fact
lasting effect: enduring effect; effect that lasts a long time
93. But it is precisely that assumption which must now be discarded so that we can think
strategically about our new relationship to the environment: What we should get rid of is
exactly that kind of view which has been taken for granted. Only when we have dropped such
a view can we think in a long term, overall way about our relationship to the environment.
discard: throw away; get rid of
Paragraph 16. the dominant cause of change in the global environment—human civilization
94. Yet we resist this truth and find it hard to imagine that our effect on the earth must now
be measured by the same yardstick used to calculate the strength of the moon’s pull on the
oceans or the force of the wind against the mountains: Yet we refuse to accept this true fact
and find it difficult to think that we should treat our effect on the earth the same way as the
moon’s gravitational pull on the oceans or the wind’s effect on the mountains and measure
our effect in the same way as we measure the effect of natural forces.
we resist this truth: we refuse to accept this true fact; we refuse to face this real fact that
human civilization is now the dominant cause of change in the global environment.
find it hard to imagine: it is very difficult (for us) to think
that our effect on the earth must now be measured by the same yardstick used to calculate the
strength of the moon’s pull on the oceans or the force of the wind against the mountains: that
we should treat our effect on the earth the same as the moon’s gravitational pull on the oceans
or the wind’s effect on the mountains
95. surely we must acknowledge a new responsibility to use that power wisely and with
appropriate restraint: of cause we must recognize that we have the responsibility to use the
newly acquired capability in a prudent way and with proper restraint.
96. So far, however, we seem oblivious of the fragility of the earth’s natural systems: Up till
now, we seem to be unaware of the fact that the earth’s natural systems are very delicate and
can easily be disrupted.
Paragraph 17. dramatic changes in two key factors
97. that define the physical reality of our relationship to the earth: that determine the actual
state of our relationship with nature.
98. a sudden and startling surge in human population: a sudden and startling rise in human
population; a sudden big and shocking increase in the world’s population
99. with the addition one China’s worth of people every ten years: Every ten years the
newly-added population will equal the population of China; Every ten years, one more
China’s population will be added to the population of the world.
Worth: equal in size or number
e.g. The storm did thousands of pounds’ worth of damage (=did damage worth thousands of
I bought 10 pounds worth of food.
He bought 10 dollars worth of postage stamps.
100. a sudden acceleration of the scientific and technological revolution: the scientific and
technological revolution suddenly develops more rapidly
101. which has allowed an almost unimaginable magnification of our power to affect the
world around us: which has increased our power to influence the world around us to such a
degree that can hardly be conceived
magnification: the act of magnifying; the power of magnifying
102. physical matter: material substance
Paragraph 18. the surge in population
103. when viewed in a historical context: when we look at the matter from a historical point of
104. Julius Caesar: (102? B.C.- 44 B.C.), Roman statesman and general
105. Christopher Columbus: (1451- 1506), discoverer of America, born Genoa, Italy
106. Thomas Jefferson : [1743-1826) third President of the U.S. (1801-9), author of the
Declaration of Independence.
107. Declaration of Independence [video-10]: full and formal declaration adopted July 4, 1776,
by representatives of the thirteen colonies in North America announcing the separation of
those colonies from Great Britain and making them into the United States
Paragraph 19. the present faster increasing population
108. in the course of one human life—mine: during the life span of an individual –my lifetime
109. it is already more than half way there: the world population is already more than half of
that figure.
Paragraph 20. the scientific and technological revolution
110. And this ongoing revolution has also suddenly accelerated exponentially: And this
continuing revolution has also
suddenly developed at a speed that doubled and tripled the original speed.
ongoing: continuing; that is actually in process
exponential: (指数的)of or relating to an exponent (数学中的指数)
In 123 the number 3 is the exponent.
In yn the letter n is the exponent. 在 y n 中, n 这个字母是幂。
111. axiom: n. a rule, principle, etc. that is generally accepted as true
a statement, especially one that is short, that is generally accepted as true and doesn’t need to
be proved
112. While no single discovery has had the kind of effect on our relationship to the earth that
nuclear weapons have had on our relationship to warfare: Although no individual discovery
has changed human relationship to the earth so much that it is comparable to the nuclear
weapons which have brought tremendous change to the relationship between man and
113. taken together, they have completely transformed our cumulative ability to exploit the
earth for sustenance: put all the discoveries together, they have completely changed our
ability to utilize the earth productively for survival
Originally, our ability to utilize the earth productively for survival grew by gradual addition
but now these discoveries have changed the ability fundamentally
taken together: considered as a whole
transform: change
e.g. He transformed the old kitchen into a beautiful sitting room.
cumulative: accumulative; increasing steadily in amount or degree by one addition after
e.g. cumulative interest
sustenance: fml. the ability of food to keep people strong and healthy; food which does this;
114. making the consequence of unrestrained exploitation every bit as unthinkable as the
consequences of unrestrained nuclear war: this increased ability has made the results of
unlimited use of global resources altogether as terrible as the results of full-scale nuclear war
Paragraph 21. our challenge to recognize that starting images of environmental destruction
115. Our challenge is to recognize that the startling images of environmental destruction now
occurring all over the world have much more in common than their ability to shock and
awaken us: Our task is to see and to understand that those frightening examples of
environmental destruction that are happening all over the world are so much the same in
nature that they surprise us no longer/ are so frequently/ become so common that they don’t
shock and arouse us any more.
116. They are symptoms of an underlying problem broader in scope and more serious than
any we have ever faced: They are signs and indications showing that there exists a much
greater and more serious problem which we have never encountered.
117. deforestation: disappearance of forest
Paragraph 22. two aspects to this challenge: our power to harm the earth and our role as
co-architect of nature
118. to see ourselves as part of a complex system that does not operate according to the same
simple rules of cause and effect we are used to: to regard ourselves as part of a complicated
system which does not function according to the rule of cause-effect we are familiar with
119. The problem is not our effect on the environment so much as our relationship with the
environment: What is involved is a matter of human relations with nature, rather than how
mankind will affect nature; The point is that our effect on the environment is not the same as
our relationship with the environment.
120. As a result, any solution to the problem will require a careful assessment of that
relationship as well as the complex interrelationship among factors within civilization and
between them and the major natural components of the earth’s ecological system: As a result,
if we want to solve the problem, we will have to carefully weigh and determine how important
that relationship is and how important is the complicated interconnection among factors
inside human society and between these factors and the main natural parts of global
ecological system.
relation: relative; relationship
relationship: friendship; connection
interrelationship: interrelation; a (close) connection, relation of dependence
e.g. the interrelation between wages and prices
Paragraph 23. one precedent for this kind of challenge to our thinking: military one again
121. There is only one precedent for this kind of challenge to our thinking: There is only one
example in the past which posed similar demand on us for a change in our way of looking at
precedent: a former action or case that may be used as an example or rule for present
e.g. If he is allowed to do this, it will be a precedent for others.
set a precedent 开……先例;为……提供先例
without precedent 没有先例
It is something without precedent in history.
122. forced a slow and painful recognition: (the situation) compelled us to accept as a fact
gradually and with difficulty
123: thus acquired: come to be possessed in this way
124. institution of warfare: practice of armed conflict
institution: a) a large organization for a university, bank, or church
b) a building where certain people are kept or looked after
e.g. People who are mentally ill or children who have no parents.
He may end up in a mental institution.
c)a system, rule or a system that is considered an important or typical feature of a society,
usually because it has existed for a long time
e.g. the institution of marriage
125. all-out war: armed fighting between nations using all possible strength and effort
all-out: using all possible strength and effort
e.g. We made an all-out effort to finish the job by Christmas.
126.That sobering realization: Once you know how serious and terrible a nuclear war will be,
you become more clear-headed, more balanced in your reasoning and judgment
sober: adj. not drunk; serious
v. to make or become serious or thoughtful
e.g. a sobering thought
127. the prospect of such a war: the expected outcome of such a war
128. may well tear away the veil of illusion that has so long obscured the reality of the change
in warfare: can suitably dispose of the wrong thinking people entertain which have made
them fail to see the change in the nature of armed conflict. veil: covering of thin material; a
Paragraph 24. arms race
129. For decades, each new advance in weaponry was deployed by one side for the purpose of
inspiring fear in the other. But each such deployment led to an effort by the other to leapfrog
the first one with a more advanced deployment of its own: For decades, the two super powers
had been competing in the research, production and deployment of more sophisticated, more
advanced weapons, hoping that in this the other side would be deterred not to launch a first
strike in nuclear weapons. But the result was just the opposite. Each advance in weaponry led
to a new round of arms race, a race of a much more destructive level.
leapfrog: n. [U] a game in which one person bends down and another jumps over them from
v. to jump or skip over; to advance well by missing out (sth.) on the way
e.g. He leapfrogged two ranks and was promoted directly to colonel.
130. It is complicated by technology, true; but it arises out of the relationship between the
superpowers and is based on an obsolete understanding of what war is all about: No doubt
that the advance in technology has made the problem more difficult to solve but technology is
not the real cause. The real cause lies in the kind of relationship between the Soviet Union and
the United States and the theoretical basis for this kind of relationship is their outdated
concept of war.
obsolete: out-of-date, no longer used
Paragraph 25. the eventual solution to the arms race: new understandings and a mutual
transformation of the relationship itself
131. unilateral: adj. done by or having an effect on only one side, esp. one of the political
groups in an agreement
132. the denial of nuclear technology to rogue states: stopping rogue countries using nuclear
technology or stopping sending nuclear technology to rogue countries.
rogue: adj. not following the usual or accepted standards, esp. in an uncontrollable or
troublesome way countries
e.g. rogue politicians who go against the party line
rogue states: states which do not observe or follow the established international norms and
practices, which can be considered as rascals /dishonest among states.
Paragraph 26. the real solution: reinventing and finally healing the relationship between
civilization and the earth
133. The strategic nature of the threat now posed by human civilization to the global
environment and the strategic nature of the threat to human civilization now posed by
changes in the global environment present us with a similar set of challenges and false hopes.
The important/basic nature of the threat now brought about by human civilization to the
global environment and the important/basic nature of threat to human civilization now
The main structure is: The strategic nature of the threat… and the strategic nature of the
threat … present us with a similar set of challenges and false hopes.
134. a simplistic notion at best: a simple view at most

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