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It’s not easy being green

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Read the following story by Atiya Achakulwisut from the Bangkok Post. Then, answer the questions that follow.

Petch Manopawitr, one of National Geographic’s Explorer Awards 2018 winners, says that in order to save the Earth, people must change their behaviour.


It may seem hard for many of us to imagine that the plastic bag in our hands could end up in the belly of a whale. But for conservation scientist and environmental campaigner Petch Manopawitr, the link between our daily consumption and the state of the environment is so direct that it cannot be overlooked.

“If the temperature rises by just one or two degrees, 80 to 90 percent of the coral around Surin Island will die. It’s as simple as that. And it’s happened before. In 2010, there was extensive coral bleaching. Many fertile reefs became coral graveyards,” he said.


Petch, 44, has been an environmental activist since his days as a student at Kasetsart University. He has been building up his green credentials ever since.

He started off as a wildlife research co-ordinator at Seub Nakhasathien, campaigned against the Kaeng Sua Ten and Mae Wong dam projects, managed marine and wildlife protection projects for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and oversaw conservation initiatives for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Indonesia.

As a keen environmental communicator, Petch is also a columnist for the Green World Foundation, 101.World and Greenpeace. This year, he was a recipient of an Explorer Award from National Geographic Thailand, together with senior geologist Warawut Sutheethorn, marine scientist Suchana Chavanich and extreme travel show host Wannasingh Prasertkul.


Some might wonder about the need for exploration in the modern world. After all, the Internet can do the exploring for us. But Petch insists that certain things can only be gained through first-hand experience.

“Surveying is still necessary. There are things that we can only see or appreciate by trekking or diving,” he said.

Although there is virtually no corner of the Earth left uncovered, there is still much about our world that we don’t know.

“We may explore an old place with new data or intellectual frameworks. Who knows what we can find by looking at things from a fresh perspective? We may find new species anywhere, even somewhere as visited as Rot Fai Park,” Petch said.


When it comes to getting the younger generation interested in the green cause, Petch admits that results have been mixed.

“Many young people who grow up in urban settings are divorced from nature. They may value the idea of environmental conservation but never become seriously involved,” Petch said.

But that does not mean there is no momentum. Concern for the planet, especially wildlife, is still capable of grabbing public attention and even generating a social pressure and movement that makes a difference.

For instance, Petch cited the outrage against the alleged poaching of a black leopard inside a wildlife sanctuary by a construction company executive and the enthusiastic responses from people to reduce plastic waste after a pilot whale was found dead off Songkhla with eight kilogrammes of plastic in its stomach.


Read through the story and answer the following multiple-choice questions.

1. What is the article about?

a. An environmental science teacher.
b. An activist.
c. An NGO founder.

2. How old is Petch?

a. 40 years old.
b. 44 years old.
c. 54 years old.

3. Who is Suchana Chavanich?

a. A travel show host.
b. A geologist.
c. A marine scientist.

4. Where did Petch study?

a. Kasetsart University.
b. Chulalongkorn University.
c. Thammasat University.

5. According to Petch, what will happen if the temperature increases on Surin Island?

a. The coral will grow at a rapid rate.
b. The coral will start to die off.
c. The colours of the coral will change.

6. Which of the following statements is TRUE, according to the article?

a. WWF stands for the World Wildlife Foundation.
b. Petch used to oversee conservation projects in Italy and Spain.
c. Petch writes for the Green World Foundation, 101.World and Greenpeace.

7. Which of the following statements is NOT true, according to the article?

a. Petch has been an activist since he was at university.
b. Petch was given an Explorer Award by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
c. Petch thinks that people who grow up in cities are less concerned about the environment.


Underline one grammatically incorrect word in each of the following sentences. Then, write down the grammatically correct word in the space given.

8. Change is up to us, not policymaker.


9. The government should start enforce real change, such as charging for single-use plastic.      


10. We should have controls on single-use plastic to ensure it’s used efficiency  


11. Petch began a start-up calling ReReef, which provides practical solutions for eco-friendly people.        


12. He encourage people to care for the ocean and reduce plastic waste.    


13. We can contribute on the environmental conservation every day.    



Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.

Petch saw parrotfish on sale …..14….. a supermarket in Phuket four years ago. He went home that day and …..15….. a half-page essay on Facebook, urging people not to eat parrotfish. To his surprise, the post was shared thousands of times, …..16….. more than a million people. Before long, a campaign against the sale and consumption of parrotfish …..17….. launched on, …..18….. attracted more than 23,000 supporters in less than two weeks. Mainstream media picked up the issue and eventually five major food suppliers …..19….. vowed to stop buying and selling parrotfish.


a. on 
b. at 
c. next


a. write 
b. writes 
c. wrote


a. reach 
b. reached 
c. reaching


a. were 
b. was 
c. is


a. which 
b. who 
c. what


a. public 
b. publicly 
c. publicise


Write down the adjective forms of the following words used in the story in the space given.

20. imagine


21. attention


22. manage


23. virtually


24. difference



Section 1

1. b.
2. b.
3. c.
4. a.
5. b.
6. c.
7. b.

Section 2

8. policymaker; policymakers
9. enforce; enforcing/to enforce
10. efficiency; efficiently
11. calling; called
12. encourage; encourages
13. on; to

Section 3

14. b.
15. c.
16. c.
17. b.
18. a.
19. b.

Section 4

20. Imaginary/imaginative.
21. Attentive.
22. Manageable/managerial.
23. Virtual.
24. Different.


21-24: Excellent!
17-20: Good.
13-16: Fair.
12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!

Learn from listening

Click "play" to listen to It’s not easy being green and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.


credentials : personal qualities, achievements, or experiences that make someone suitable for something - คุณสมบัติ, คุณวุฒิ

divorce from (phrasal): to keep two things separate -

momentum : progress or development that is becoming faster or stronger - แรงผลักดัน


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