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Listen Up! LESSON TWENTY-THREE HERE!
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Entrance exam season is right around the corner, and we’re here to make sure you are 100 percent ready for it. For the next several weeks, we will be providing you with additional listening material that you can use to practice and improve your aural comprehension skills.
Each week, you will listen to a short passage on a different topic—one that is interesting and useful in its own right, but one that is also the type of topic test-makers love to include on their exams. Then, after listening to the passage, you will answer ten comprehension questions. Before we listen to today’s passage, Waste Not, Want Not, here are a few tips:
It goes without saying that you should always listen to the passage carefully. Give it your undivided attention. That means: no outside distractions. (A passage-only track is available on the KA Wordcast website so you can listen to the passage a second or third time.)
You can make brief notes of key points and details, but don’t let your note taking distract you from your listening.
Key vocabulary words are explained in the bonus track. Each key word is clearly defined and accompanied by common synonyms and antonyms as well as sample sentences that show you how the word is used, and how to use it. What better way to augment your active vocabulary!
The comprehension questions “test” three general areas: FACTUAL CONTENT, LOGICAL INFERENCE, and PERSONAL JUDGMENT. (These are explained on the website and are available to download.) The questions come in three different types or formats: MULTIPLE CHOICE, TRUE OR FALSE, and SHORT ANSWER. The question format will vary, so be sure to listen to the instructions carefully before you answer the questions.
Waste Not, Want Not
Listen to Listen Up! Lesson Twenty-Three PASSAGE ONLY TRACK:
Here’s the good news. The world produces enough food to provide adequate nourishment for everyone on the planet. It’s true. At present, enough food is being grown to feed ten billion people, the population peak we’re only expected to reach 35 years down the road. Thanks to advancements in agricultural technologies, the rate of global food production over the past two decades has increased faster than the rate of global population growth. So we’re not only keeping up with demand: we are actually ahead of the game, at least for the time being.
Now for the bad news. Nearly 800 million people around the world are not receiving enough food to stay healthy and live an active lifestyle. That’s about one in nine people who go to bed hungry every night. According to the humanitarian organization World Food Program, the vast majority of the world’s hungry, many of whom are women and children, live in developing countries, where as much as 13.5 percent of the population is undernourished. But if the world is producing more than one and a half times the food needed to feed everyone, why then do 3.1 million children die every year of malnutrition? Why does hunger even exist?
The answer is simple: hunger is caused by poverty and inequality, not scarcity. People who live in poverty, especially those earning as little as $2 a day, cannot afford to buy nutritious food for themselves and their family. Hunger makes them weak or sick, which in turn makes them less able to work and earn money. In developing countries, poor farmers can’t buy seeds to plant surplus crops, and they lack the tools and resources they need to cultivate even the small plot of land they may have. In short, it’s the poor who are hungry, and their hunger traps them in poverty.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, for a very obvious reason. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that every year, Americans throw away 133 billion pounds of perfectly edible, nutrient-packed meat, dairy, grain, and produce items. That’s 31 percent of America’s overall food supply being dumped in the bin and left to rot. And the statistics are similar for the rest of the developed world. Each year, roughly a third of the food produced for human consumption gets lost or wasted. In other words, year in and year out, consumers in the wealthiest countries waste more food than what is needed to feed the world’s hungry.
Now back to the good news. In September 2015, the United Nations announced at its Sustainable Development Summit that the 193 member countries will make every effort to reduce edible food waste by fifty percent by the year 2030. “Too many people are going hungry for us to be throwing away as much as we do,” said Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “To meet this ambitious new goal, we need everyone who grows, serves, and eats food to do their part to ensure a steady global food supply,” she added.
And the corporate world is already answering the call. So far, over 400 commercial brands, including the American food giant Kellogg, have committed to reduce waste in their retail and manufacturing operations over the next two decades. More and more supermarkets are forming partnerships with charity organizations to feed the local community with surplus foodstuff. Poverty cannot be eradicated overnight. But if each and every one of us made a conscientious effort to wrap, pack, and freeze those extra portions that we might otherwise throw away, we can go a long ways towards conquering hunger, sooner rather than later.
Today’s questions are of various types. Follow the instructions for each question. Feel free to pause and listen several times if needed.
Listening comprehension questions fall into three main types or areas to be tested, as explained below:
The answer is specifically stated as a detail in the text.
If the text reads, “John Birks Gillespie was born in 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina,” you might be asked where Gillespie was born or in which year was he born.
The answer may not be directly stated in the text, but can be understood or inferred from the details given. A direct hint may be given, from which you would have to work out the most logical answer (usually based on a MULTIPLE CHOICE or TRUE OR FALSE question).
For example, if the text describes a “hot and muggy afternoon,” you might be asked what season it is. If the text reads, “In 1872, an abandoned railroad track in the mountains of Pennsylvania became the first roller coaster ride in America,” you may be asked a question like:
“The railroad tracks …
were made of poor quality steel.
had not been used for a while.
were dug up and replaced with roller-coaster tracks.
were too damaged to use.
You must use the hints given in the passage to work out the most likely answer. In this case, the answer, based on “hot and muggy,” to the first question would be “summer,” and the answer to the second question would be B, with the hint being the word “abandoned.”
The answer is not directly stated in the text and you might have to read more deeply or “between the lines.”
You may be asked to describe a character’s feelings, reactions, or intentions. For example, if the question is, “How do you know Joanna felt sad on the last day of school?” you would have to find evidence in the descriptive language the author uses. Perhaps Joanna had tears on her cheeks, or she was walking with her head hanging low, or perhaps she had a frown on her face.
Listen to the question carefully and write your answer. Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.
LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
1. Write a brief answer to this question.
How many people can be fed with the amount of food that is being grown and produced around the world right now?
2. Decide if this statement is true or false.
The rate of global food production over the past two decades has increased faster than the rate of global population growth.
3. Choose the best answer.
According to the article, about how many people around the world are not receiving enough food to stay healthy and live an active lifestyle?
a) More than one billion people around the world are suffering from hunger.
b) About a third of the world’s population is not getting enough food to stay healthy.
c) Nearly 800 million people worldwide are not receiving enough food to stay healthy.
d) About 13.5 percent of the world’s population is undernourished.
4. Write a full-sentence answer to this question.
According to the World Food Program, who is most affected by hunger and undernourishment?
5. Select the TWO choices that complete this statement and make it true.
According to the passage, hunger is caused by __________________ and _______________________.
d) population growth
6. Decide if this sentence is true or false.
Poor farmers in developing countries are hungry because they only earn about $2 a day.
7. Write a brief answer to this question.
On average, how much perfectly edible food do Americans throw away every year?
8. Decide if this sentence is true or false.
According to statistics, people in the world’s wealthiest countries waste more food than what is needed to feed all the world’s hungry.
9. Choose the correct answer.
According to Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council, what needs to happen to make it possible for us to reach the United Nations’ ambitious target of reducing food waste by fifty percent by 2030?
a) Everyone who grows, serves, and eats food must do their part to ensure that waste is minimized.
b) Everyone must do their part by donating surplus food to feed the world’s hungry.
10. Write a full sentence answer to this question.
In addition to the examples given in the text, what can we as individuals do to ensure that less food is wasted?
Now that you have completed today’s listening comprehension exercise, it’s time to check your answers and see how well you did. Answers to today’s listening comprehension questions will follow immediately after the closing jingle , so please stay tuned in.
Listen to the Listening Comprehension Questions and Answers HERE.
You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.
KA WORDCAST: Listen Up! Lesson TWENTY-THREE
KEY VOCABULARY WORDS
Be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track. This will help you improve your understanding of the passage itself and give your vocabulary a big boost.
Here’s the good news. The world produces enough food to provide ADEQUATE nourishment for everyone on the planet.
ADEQUATE is an adjective that means enough in quantity or good enough in quality, especially for a particular purpose or need. When talking about quantity, synonyms include sufficient, enough, and ample. When talking about quality, acceptable, reasonable, and satisfactory are some good equivalents.
Good eating habits, getting ADEQUATE rest, and exercising daily are what you need to make you feel healthy and strong.
Many students complained that the teacher hadn’t given them ADEQUATE time to finish writing their essays in class.
During the city council meeting, Mayor Richards pointed out that too many children in our community are going to school without having had an ADEQUATE breakfast.
Survivors of the earthquake didn’t have ADEQUATE access to safe drinking water for nearly a week.
For a first year teacher, Mr. Lloyd did an ADEQUATE job, but not everyone was impressed with his teaching style.
Morgan wasn’t ADEQUATELY prepared for the test and consequently didn’t get a very good score.
The Education Department’s report claimed that some second-grade children hadn’t ADEQUATELY learned the basics of reading and writing.
In contrast, INADEQUATE means not enough or not good enough. Insufficient and unsatisfactory are the nearest synonyms. Look at the following examples.
Conditions in the student dormitory were quite poor, with INADEQUATE heating and insufficient water pressure.
According to the study, INADEQUATE sleep can result in weight gain, mood swings, and poor academic performance.
INADEQUATE also means to not be able or confident enough to deal with a particular situation. Incompetent is the nearest synonym.
Like all first-time mothers, I felt totally INADEQUATE as a new parent, but I soon got the hang of changing diapers and tending to my baby’s every need.
Comparing oneself to supermodels and professional athletes can make anyone feel INADEQUATE.
The answer is simple: hunger is caused by poverty and inequality, not SCARCITY.
If there is a SCARCITY of a certain item or commodity, there is not enough of it and it is difficult to get. Synonyms include shortage, lack, deficiency, undersupply, dearth, paucity, and infrequency.
An ever-increasing SCARCITY of drinking water is a problem that the world will have to face in the not too distant future.
Relief supplies are being sent to Nepal to help ease the SCARCITIES caused by the recent earthquake.
The SCARCITY of the reclusive author’s public appearances makes his reading today a very special opportunity for all of us.
Now let’s have a look at the adjective form, SCARCE. If something is SCARCE, it is only available in small or inadequate quantities. Not enough of, in short supply, hard to come by, deficient, and lacking are some good equivalents for SCARCE.
After the tsunami, food was SCARCE and expensive; at first, people came together and shared what they had, but as the shortages continued, it soon became every man for himself.
The high demand for this Christmas’s “must have” toy—the “Skate and Sing” Elsa doll—means that it is becoming increasingly SCARCE, and that most toys shops are now out of stock.
SCARCE can also mean hard to find, absent, or rare. Synonyms include few, unusual, uncommon, few and far between, and infrequent.
Paintings by this artist are SCARCE and sought after, so if you ever come across one, it will be worth a tidy sum.
Butterflies are becoming SCARCE in this region due to increasing urbanization and the destruction of their natural habitats.
In developing countries, poor farmers can’t buy seeds to plant SURPLUS crops, and they lack the tools and resources they need to cultivate even the small plot of land they may have.
In the sentence above, SURPLUS is used as an adjective that means extra, that is, more than needed or used.
Every Friday, our school cafeteria donates all its SURPLUS food to a local soup kitchen.
SURPLUS funds from the Spring Fair will be used to buy new equipment for the school’s gymnasium.
The SURPLUS electricity that is generated from the solar panels on our roof is sold back to the state power company.
The sporting goods shop in town is planning to have a huge sale to get rid of some of its SURPLUS stock.
In a scheme to reduce food waste and help those in need, local farmers have shipped their SURPLUS maize crops to ease the famine in Africa.
As a noun, SURPLUS means an amount over or in excess of what is needed.
A warm, wet spring and a hot, dry summer meant that we had a SURPLUS of rice this year.
The Parks and Recreation Department will use some of the city’s 2015 fiscal SURPLUS to buy new playground equipment for local parks.
“We have a SURPLUS of the product in the warehouse,” the site manager told her staff, “so we can shut down production for the weekend.”
In developing countries, poor farmers can’t buy seeds to plant surplus crops, and they lack the tools and resources they need to CULTIVATE even the small plot of land they may have.
CULTIVATE is a verb that means to grow crops or prepare and use land for growing crops or plants.
Most of the land around central Tokyo has never been CULTIVATED for food crops.
By CULTIVATING corn, cucumbers, and zucchinis on school grounds, our students are not only getting the satisfaction of growing things, but are also getting hands-on lessons in biology, geology, and meteorology.
Space may be limited, but it is not impossible to CULTIVATE tomatoes and other salad vegetables on your balcony.
CULTIVATE also has a figurative usage. It means to try to win somebody’s friendship or support. Some similar words and phrases include try to win over, try to get on someone’s good side, woo, pursue, and court.
Tamara did her best to CULTIVATE friendships with the students who were bussed into her neighborhood from other parts of the city.
A student-exchange program was initiated this year to CULTIVATE friendships with schoolchildren from different countries and cultures.
CULTIVATE can also mean to develop or improve your mind, or to try to acquire a particular skill, as in:
As a parent, it is my job to CULTIVATE self-confidence and kindness in my children.
There is a Guinean proverb that states that knowledge is like a garden: If it is not CULTIVATED, it cannot be harvested.
So far, over 400 commercial brands, including the American food giant Kellogg, have COMMITTED to reduce waste in their retail and manufacturing operations over the next two decades.
The verb COMMIT has many everyday uses, but today we’ll focus on how it is used in the listening passage. In the sentence above, COMMIT means to promise sincerely to do something or to honor an agreement or arrangement. Pledge is the nearest synonym.
Parents involved in the PTA were asked to COMMIT an hour of their time to help set up for the annual Fall Harvest Festival.
I really can’t COMMIT to running the after-school Homework Club this year because my schedule is too full at the moment.
The U.N. suggested that the world’s wealthier countries COMMIT more money and effort to bringing life-saving medical equipment to developing countries.
COMMITMENT is the noun form for the above usage. A COMMITMENT is a promise to do something or to act in a particular way.
Shelley was offered a teaching job in Taipei, but she didn’t accept it because they wanted her to make a COMMITMENT to stay there a minimum of three years.
Despite opposition from certain organizations, the President has made a personal COMMITMENT to reduce gun-related crimes and deaths.
Poverty cannot be ERADICATED overnight. But if each and every one of us made a conscientious effort to wrap, pack, and freeze those extra portions that we might otherwise throw away, we can go a long ways towards conquering hunger, sooner rather than later.
ERADICATE is a verb that means to completely destroy or get rid of something, especially something bad. Eliminate, do away with, and wipe out are some good synonyms for ERADICATE.
As far as I know, smallpox is the only human viral disease that has been fully ERADICATED.
Although the World Health Organization has embarked on an ambitious project to ERADICATE malaria, the disease is still the number-one killer of young children in many African countries.
While the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s helped to make more people aware and accepting of different cultures and races, racism has still not been fully ERADICATED in the United States.
In an effort to ERADICATE bullying, the school has initiated various programs to improve student, teacher, and parent awareness of the problem.