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Lesson 3 At War with the Planet


									Lesson 3 At War with the Planet

1.   Author: Barry Commoner (1917-)
•    born May 28, 1917, Brooklyn, N.Y. U.S.
     biologist and educator. He studied at
     Harvard University and taught at
     Washington University and Queens
• Commoner's activist career can be defined as
  an attempt to weave together a larger vision of
  social justice. Since the 1960s, he has called
  attention to parallels between the
  environmental, civil rights, labor, and peace
  movements, and connected environmental
  decline with poverty, injustice, exploitation,
  and war, arguing that the root cause of
  environmental problems was the American
  economic system and its manifestations.
• He was instrumental in pointing out that
 there was a direct association between
 socioeconomic standing and exposure to
 environmental pollutants and that
 economics, not social responsibility, was
 guiding technological decision making.
2. Cultural notes

• 1) Three Mile Island: The accident at the
  Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) nuclear
  power plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania,
  on March 28, 1979, was the most serious in
  U.S. commercial nuclear power plant
  operating history, even though it led to no
  deaths or injuries to plant workers or members
  of the nearby community..
• But it brought about sweeping changes
  involving emergency response planning,
  reactor operator training, human factors
  engineering, radiation protection, and many
  other areas of nuclear power plant operations.
  It also caused the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
  Commission to tighten and heighten its
  regulatory oversight. Resultant changes in the
  nuclear power industry and at the NRC had the
  effect of enhancing safety
2) The Chernobyl Disaster
• On April 25th -26th, 1986 the World's worst
  nuclear power accident occurred at Chernobyl
  in the former USSR (now Ukraine). The
  Chernobyl nuclear power plant located 80
  miles north of Kiev had 4 reactors and whilst
  testing reactor number 4 numerous safety
  procedures were disregarded. At 1:23am the
  chain reaction in the reactor became out of
  control creating explosions and a fireball
  which blew off the reactor's heavy steel and
  concrete lid.
• The Chernobyl accident killed more than 30
  people immediately, and as a result of the high
  radiation levels in the surrounding 20-mile
  radius, 135,00 people had to be evacuated.
3) What happened in Bhopal?

• On the night of Dec. 2nd and 3rd, 1984, a
  Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, began
  leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas. None of the
  six safety systems designed to contain such a
  leak were operational, allowing the gas to
  spread throughout the city of Bhopal. Half a
  million people were exposed to the gas and
  20,000 have died to date as a result of their
• More than 120,000 people still suffer from
  ailments caused by the accident and the
  subsequent pollution at the plant site. These
  ailments include blindness, extreme difficulty
  in breathing, and gynecological disorders. The
  site has never been properly cleaned up and it
  continues to poison the residents of Bhopal.
3. Outline of the essay

• 3. Outline of the essay
• Part 1 (pp. 1)
• Introduction: people live in 2 worlds, natural world
    and our own world.
•   Part 2 (pp. 2-5): Why the two worlds are at war?
•   Part 3 (pp. 6-9) Deal with the first law of the
    ecosphere and the law governing the relationship
    between man-made object and the surroundings
• Part IV. (pp. 10-11) The closed cyclical
  process of ecosphere and the linear process of
• Part V. (pp. 12-14) The consistent and
  harmonious nature of ecosphere as contrasted
  to the rapid change and variation of the techno-
• Part VI. (pp. 15-16) The consequences of
  failure of the ecosphere and the techno-sphere.
• Part VII. (pp. 17-21) The danger for us to take
• Part VIII. (pp. 22-23) The importance of
II. Discourse analysis
•   Guide to Reading
•   1. abridge: vt. To make shorter by using fewer words.
•   e.g.
•   The story was abridged from the original work.
•   The rights of citizens must not be abridged.

    He decided to abridge his stay here after he
    received a letter from home.
• 2. watershed: n. an event marking a unique or
  important historical change of course or one on
  which important developments depend; (=
  landmark; turning point)
• e.g.
• Leaving her first job was a watershed in her
• Her visit to India proved to be a watershed in
  her life.
• 3. elaborate (on): vi. To express at greater length or
    in greater detail; (≈clarify)
•   e.g.
•   Please elaborate your plan.
•   Can you elaborate on that, Mr. fox.
•   It takes cunning workmen to make such elaborate
4. remedy: to relieve or cure (a disease or
• e.g.
• Aspirin may remedy a headache.
• If I made a mistake, I will try to remedy it.
• Is there a sovereign remedy for this condition?
5. as such: (in and of itself, per se)本身,确切

• e.g.
• Wealth, as such, doesn‟t matter much.
• (财富本身并不重要.)
• I don‟t have a nervous breakdown as such, it
  was more a reaction to overwork.(我不是真
6. instigate: serve as the inciting cause for
(=promote, inspire, incite; ≈cause, stimulate)

• e.g.
• The antigovernment gangsters instigated a
• My children finally instigated me to buy a
• instigator: 教唆犯;煽动者
Part 1 ( para.1) two worlds, natural world
and our own world

• 1. occur, happen, take place
• You can say an event occurs. However, you only use
    occur to talk about events which are not planned.
    And occur is a fairly formal word. In conversation,
    you usually say that an event happens.
•   You do not say that a planned event “occurs” or
    “happens”. You say that it takes place.
• e.g.
• Mrs. Weaver had been in the milking shed
  when the explosion occurred.
• You might noticed what happened on Friday.
• The first meeting of this committee took place
  on 9 January.
Occur to; happen to

Error correction:
1) She no longer cared what happened to her.
2) I wonder what‟s occurred to Jane.
3) The idea/thought had never happened to me.
4) It happened to him that he hadn‟t eaten
   anything since the night before.
5) It occurred to him to tell the director the
2. exempt; except

•   exempt: to release from obligation
•   except: to leave out, omit
•   e.g.
•   He is exempt from punishment about this thing.
•   No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake
    is to do it solemnly.
• No admittance except on business.
• I have no other wish except to pass the
• I like her except when she is angry.
Part 2 (pp. 2-5) Why two worlds are at war?

• 1. breach:
• If you breach an agreement, a law, or a
  promise, you break it. (=violate)
• If someone or something breaches a barrier,
  they make an opening in it, usually leaving it
  weakened or destroyed (formal). (=rupture)

• e.g.
• Traders who breach the rules could face
    a fine of up to $ 10,000.
•   The enemy‟s fierce attack finally
    breached the walls of the city.
• 2. On planetary scale, the division between
  the two worlds has been breached:
• Globally, the two worlds are no longer
  separated, having nothing to do with each
• This is a transitional sentence, linking up the
  following part with the first paragraph.
3. unwitting: adj.

• If you describe a person or their actions as
  unwitting, you mean the person does
  something or is involved in something without
  realizing it. (=unintentional; ≠witting)
• e.g.
• We are unwitting victims of the unfair system.
• I feel sorry for my unwitting interruption of
  their private conversation.
4. …even droughts, floods, and heat weaves
may become unwitting acts of man:

• What people do may unintentionally
 cause droughts, floods and heat weaves.
• 5. Like the Creation, the portending global
  events are cosmic…(pp.3):

• Like the Creation of the universe, events that
  happen in this world may have vast effects,
  especially on the relationship between the
  planet Earth and the sun.
6. portend: to serve as an omen or a
warning of;

• e.g.
• Black clouds portend a storm.乌云是暴风
 What do these strange events portend?
 It portends the approach of a violent
  revolutionary storm.
7. exert: exercise; put to use
• e.g.
• His teachings still exert a strong influence.
• You'll have to exert yourself more if you want
  to pass your exam.
  你若想考试及格, 就必须更加努力.
• To achieve this goal, you must have ambition;
  likewise you need to exert great efforts.
8. largely: for the most part; mainly;
on a large scale
• e.g.
• His successes were largely due to luck.
• He lived high and expended largely.
• One's upbringing largely determines success
  in life.
9. fluctuate: vary irregularly; be unstable, have
ups and downs (= swing)

• e.g.
• The stock market fluctuates all the time.
• The old man fluctuated between hope and
• Prices fluctuate from year to year.
10. govern: direct or strongly influence the
behavior of; rule
• e.g.
• You should govern your temper
• Govern by supply and demand, price is the
  invisible hand in economics
• Who are the men who really govern in this
  country? 谁是这个国家 的真正统治者?
• 11. tamper: vi. to interfere in a harmful
  manner; intrude in other people's affairs or
  business; interfere in an unwanted way
• e.g.
• Don‟t tamper with my affairs. (interfere;
• Someone tampered with the documents on
  my desk. (篡改)
• He got the permission by tampering
  with an official. (贿赂)
12. We have been… unaware, … of the
potentially disastrous …
• Notice the structure of the sentence. It could be
  reconstructed in the following way:
• Like the Sorcerer‟s Apprentice, we have been
  tampering with this powerful force, unaware of
  the potentially disastrous consequences of our
• It means: We have been doing things without
  knowing that they may have serious effects on
  the planet Earth.
• 13. swirl: n. the shape of something rotating
  rapidly; v. turn in a twisting or spinning
• e.g.
• Jane today wears a nice hat with a swirl of
  lace around it.
• A swirl of dust forced the girl to cover her face
  with her hands.
• The poor man was swirled away by the current.
• 14. But this image, now repeatedly thrust
  before us in photographs, posters, and
  advertisements, is misleading.( pp.4.):

• The Earth we see in photos, posters, and ads,
  which appears so beautiful, is not the true
  reflection of the world we live in.
Part III( paras.6-9)

1. One of the basic laws of the ecosphere can be
   summed up as “ Everything is connected to
   everything else. “ (para.6):

   The first law is that in ecosphere, every
   component is related to other components,
   thus forming an elaborate network.
2. elaborate: adj.: Planned or executed with
     painstaking attention to numerous parts or
     details. (精心制作的)
    I'm sure you look more charming in them
     than any one we shall see in the most
     elaborate dinner toilette.
    The tablecloth is very expensive, because if
     the elaborate lace patterns
• 3. aquatic: adj. relating to or consisting of or
  being in water;
•   e.g.
•   Boats are aquatic vehicles.
•   Water lilies are aquatic plants.
•   Fish are aquatic animals.
• 4. Photosynthesis n. [ U ] 光合作用
• The production of special sugar-like
  substances that keep plants alive, caused by
  the action of sunlight on Chlorophyll.( =the
  green matter in leaves); the way green plants
  make their own food.
• Photosynthetic adj.
• 5. habitat: n. the area or environment where
  an organism or ecological community
  normally lives or occurs (= home ground)
• e.g.
• The polar bear‟s habitat is the icy waters of
  the Arctic.
• I prefer to see animals in their natural habitat,
  rather than in zoos.
• 6. The fish is not only, existentially, a fish,
  but also an element of this network, which
  defines its functions. ( para. 6):
• The function of the fish is determined by the
  role it plays in the ecological network.
• 7. Indeed, in the evolutionary sense, a good
  care of the network – the microorganisms
  and plants, for example – preceded the fish,
  which could establish itself only because it
  fitted properly into the preexisting
  system.( para. 6):
• The fish could play its role because it
  became a necessary link with the processes
  preceding it and the processes following it in
  the ecological system.
• 8. A car, for example, imposes itself on the
  neighborhood rather than being defined by
  it…(para. 7):

• A car does not respond to its environment
  but insists on its own needs being met...
• 9. fit in/into: to find a time when something
  can happen without causing problems
• The gear doesn‟t fit into the machine.
• How is the extra work getting to fit into the
• Nancy tried to fit her holidays in with Alex‟s.
10. impose… on/upon…: compel to behave in a
certain way (=enforce; ≈ compel)

• e.g.
• Did you think, child, because you have been
  able to impose upon your father, that you
  could impose upon me?
• It was now their turn to impose some limit on
  that sort of science, which had lots of influence
  on our habitat.
11. accommodate v. :have enough space for

• e.g.
• Are there enough shelves to accommodate all
  our books ?
• A flat can accommodate a family of five.
Part IV ( Paras. 10-11)

• 1. respire: v. to breathe in and out; inhale
    and exhale
•   e.g.
•   Say respires when she reaches the top of
    the hill.
• 2. excrete: to get rid of waste material
    from your body through your bowels,
    your skin etc.
•   e.g.
•   The skin excretes sweat.
• Certain plants excrete a sweet juice,
    apparently for the sake of eliminating
    something injurious from their sap.
3. mold: n. any of various fungi that often cause
  disintegration of organic matter (能引起有机
e.g. Throw that bread away. It has been kept for
  so many days, and there‟s mold on it.
• Crops and the animals to which they are
   fed are eaten by people; their waste is
   flushed into the sewer system, altered in
   composition but not in amount at a
   treatment plant, and the residue is
   dumped into rivers or the ocean as waste –
   which upsets the natural aquatic
   ecosystem.( para.11 ):
• People, after digestion, excrete the waste
  which is flushed into the sewer system. The
  sewage gets to a treatment plant which
  modifies it, but it is still waste after being
  processed. The waste does not reenter the
  life cycle but disturbs the natural processes
  wherever it is dumped. The residue of the
  waste will go into rivers, oceans and will
  have harmful effect on the aquatic
Part V ( Paras 12-14)
• 1. compatible - able to exist and perform in
    harmonious or agreeable combination (= agreeable)
•   e.g.
• People admired this compatible married
• Accuracy is not always compatible with haste.
• This printer is compatible with most
• 2. trial and error: A method of reaching a
  correct solution or satisfactory result by trying
  out various means or theories until error is
  sufficiently reduced or eliminated.
• e.g.
• He learned technical skills by trial and error.
• I finally found the right key after lots of trial
  and error.
• 3. tune: v. adjust for (better) functioning (=
    tune up)
•   e.g.
•   The repairman tuned the engine carefully.
•   Idioms:
•   tune in
•   tune out
•   tune up
• 4. leave to (one's) own devices: To allow to
  do as one pleases.
• e.g.
• Parents should leave their children to their
  own devices for an hour in the afternoon.
• 5. Left to their own devices, ecosystems are
  conservative… ( para.12):

• If the ecosystems are not upset by outside
  intrusion, they will remain the same with very
  little change.
• 6. In contrast to the ecosphere, the
  technosphere is composed of objects and
  materials that reflect a rapid and relentless
  process of change and variation. (para.13.):

• The characteristics of the objects and materials
  in the technosphere are of rapid change and
  great variety.
7. Model T Ford: = Ford Model T

• The Ford Model T was an automobile
 produced by Henry Ford's Ford Motor
 Company from 1908 through 1927. The model
 T set 1908 as the historic year that the
 automobile came into popular usage. It is
 generally regarded as the first affordable
 automobile, the car which "put America on
• 8. array: n. an orderly arrangement
• e.g.
• He turned and strode away, across the dewy
  fields, and disappeared beyond an array of
• The tiled floor was thick with dust, and a
  remarkable array of miscellaneous objects
  was veiled in the same grey covering.
• 10. biodegradable: adj. tech able to be
  broken down into harmless products by the
  natural action of living things (e.g.
• bacteria) 生物分解
• e.g.
• A biodegradable detergent is welcomed at
  the market.
Part VI ( Paras. 15 – 16 )
1. with respect to: concerning
    Handle students administration with respect
    to humanity.(坚持以人为本做好学生工作)

   With respect to the present situation, I am
   afraid that I am not able to tell you our
   decision right now.
2. at first glance:
               on initial
consideration(= at first sight)
• e.g.
• At first glance the plan seemed unworkable.

• I feel like a new man; and although at first
  glance I might be mistaken for a Safety
  Deposit Vault, I beg you to remember that my
  Brains are still composed of the same old
• 3. Yet nearly every modern technology has
  grave faults, which appear not as a failure
  to accomplish its designed purpose but as a
  serious impact on the environment. ( para.
• The fault of most modern technology is not
  with its failure to meet the designed purpose,
• but with its adverse effect on the environment.
• 4. emit: v. give off, send forth, or discharge; as
  of light, heat, or radiation, vapor, etc.; (= give
  out, give off)
• The ozone layer blocks some harmful rays
  which the sun emits.
• The chimney emitted a cloud of smoke.
•   5. contaminate - make impure; (= pollute)
•   e.g.
•   The industrial wastes contaminated the lake.
•   Don't drink the water--it's contaminated.
• 6. Regard only as a failure in the plant‟s
  function, the accident at Chernobyl amounts to
  a serious but local fire that destroyed the plant.
• Notice the position of the word “but”.
  Normally we can say “…amount to merely a
  serious local fire that…”. If so, the tune is
  rather flat and pale. Here the author employs
  the writing skill -- “anticlimax” to achieve the
  sarcastic tone.
• e.g.
• "Seldom has a city gained such world renown,
 and I am proud and happy to welcome you to
 Hiroshima, a town known throughout the
 world for its---oysters."
7. resultant: adj. resulting, esp. as the total
outcome of more or less opposed forces
• e.g.
• Use shaded skylights to compensate for any
  resultant loss of natural daylight.
• If the syllabus was accepted by the majority of
  students , it would be unnecessary to answer
  all resultant complaints.如果课程规划当初
8. acknowledge: v. declare to be true or admit
the existence or reality or truth of; (= admit)

• e.g.
I acknowledge that her criticism is just.
He is unwilling to acknowledge defeat.
I passed her in the street but she didn't even
   acknowledge me when I smiled.
• 9. unmet: adj. not satisfied or fulfilled
• e.g.
 How can one know what needs are
 involved in conflict situations? How can
 one know what human needs are being
 met and unmet?
10. mortgage:按揭

• e.g.
• I have bought a house by paying my mortgage
  in monthly installment. 我以每月分期付款偿
• Primary mortgage loan notes.一手楼按揭贷
• 11. In the technosphere, debts are repaid
  from within and, at least in theory, are
  always capable of being paid off, or, in some
  cases, canceled. (Para.16):

• In the economic field, debts are repaid with
  the production of goods. Debts are required
  to be repaid, unless they are canceled.
Part VII ( Paras. 17-21)
1. In terms of :With regard to; from the point
    of view of
   In terms of cash outlay, the sum is peanuts.
   Think of it in terms of an investment.
    It is difficult to express it in terms of science.
2. Interplay ( of , between) n.:
the action or effect of two or more things on each
other (= interaction)
• e.g.
• I‟m interested in the interplay between
  practical and theoretical linguistics.
• The problems result from the interplay of the
  ecosphere and the technosphere.
• Classroom teaching is the interplay between
  the teacher and the student.
• 3. Of course, as in a conventional war, the
  issues can be simplified by taking sides;
  ignoring the interests of one combatant or
  the other. But this is done only at the cost of
• If we take sides in the war of the two worlds,
  we are doing so at the risk of failing to have a
  clear understanding of the nature and cause of
  the war. Thus, we lose the chance to really
  solve the grave environmental crisis.
• 4. take sides: to support one person, group, or
  opinion over another
• e.g.
• I never take sides. 我从不偏袒哪一方。
• A parent shouldn't take sides when children
  start quarrelling with each other.
• 5. mediate: To resolve or settle (differences) by
    working with all the conflicting parties
•   e.g.
• He mediated a settlement between labor and
• He tried to mediate between two warring
  countries. 他试图在两个交战国之间进行斡
• The dispute was settled by mediation.
• 爭端已被調解了。
• 6. concoct: If you concoct an excuse,
    explanation, or account, you invent one that is
    false or misleading.
•   e.g.
•   The child concocted a story about having been
•   He concocted a plan to get rich quickly.
•   He had to hastily concoct an excuse.
7. allot; allocate

• allot: share (a larger number or amount)
• allocate: assign for a specific purpose
• e.g.
• The school board will allocate funds for the
  baseball team.
• The school board will allot funds among the
  departments according to need.
• They allot the profits of the business by the
  end of a year. 他们年终分配红利
• 8. inducement: act or means of persuading
• e.g.
• Reward is an inducement effort.
• He hasn„t much inducement to study English.
• They have little inducement to work harder.
• 9. endow: give qualities or abilities to
    (= empower; ≈give )
•   e.g.
•   Nature has endowed the wolf with the
    means of catching its food.
• 10. thrust: the essence; the point
• e.g.
• The whole thrust of the project was to make
• What was the thrust of his argument?
Part VIII (Paras. 22 -23)

• 1. bewildering - causing bafflement (= unclear)
• e.g.
• The play was at the same time a bewildering
  and an exciting experience.
• The reason for their actions is bewildering to
  this day.
• 2. as yet - used in negative statement to
  describe a situation that has existed up to this
  point or up to the present time (= thus far, till
  now, yet)
• e.g.
• We are as yet unable to say when the train will
  arrive. 我们还说不上火车什么时候到达。
• We should be responsible for the generation as
  yet unborn. 我们应该对下一代负责。
IV. Assignment
• Translate the following passage from Chinese into Chinese:
• The early snows fall soft and white and seem to heal the
• landscape. There are as yet no tracks through the drifts, no
• muddied slush in the roads. The wind sweeps snow into the
• scars of our harvest time haste, smoothing the brow of hill,
• hiding furrow and cog and trash in the yard. Snow muffles
• the shriek of metal and the rasp of motion. It covers our flintier
   purposes and brings a redeeming silence, as if a curtain has
• fallen on the strivings of a year, and now we may stop, look in
  ward, and rediscover the amber warmth of family and
• At such times, locked away inside wall and woole
    n, lulled by the sedatives of wood-smoke and
•   candlelight, we recall the competing claims of
•   nature. We see the branch and bark of trees, rather
     than the sugar-scented green of their leaves. We
•   look out the window and admire the elegance of
•   ice crystal, the bravely patient tree leaning leafless
     into the wind, the dramatic shadows of the
•   stooping sun. We look at the structure of things,
•   the geometry of branch and snowflake, family and
• Thank you!

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