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Text 4. Historian Read the text using a dictionary and answer the questions that follow it.

The Belarusian State University has the History Faculty. It was founded in 1934. At present 1225 students study there.

History (from Greek historia) is a process of development nature and society. History as a science studies the past of mankind in all its variety and concreteness. “Historia est magistra vitae”, said an ancient philosopher.

There are many historical subjects in our programme: Ancient History, the Middle Ages, Russian and Belarusian History, Modern and Contemporary History, etc.

History is a science which helps people understand and explain the processes going on in various aspects of human life. It also helps people foresee the course of events in future. But it is possible to study any particular period of history if one doesn’t know a lot about what preceded it and what came after it.

Historians study and describe the historic events taking place in different epochs and in different countries. Their descriptions and analyses should be strictly objective and scientific.

If we look at the historic past we can see that the entire history of human society is that of wars and struggle for power, as well as people’s revolts for better life and freedom. Wars in different times and in different countries, except just ones, were waged with the purpose of conquering other lands and peoples, with making profits on the resources of oppressed nations.

Since World War II a lot has been done by peace-loving nations to save the world from a new global catastrophe. But nobody managed to prevent local wars unleashed in different parts of the planet and taking away thousands of people’s lives. Peace and peaceful co-existence remain the key problem of our epoch.

The profession of a historian is quite diversified. The graduates of this Faculty can work as teachers and research workers at secondary and higher schools, different museums and archives. Many of them have become well-known scientist or have chosen public activity as their career.

Answer the questions on the text:

1. What faculty and year are you in?

2. Why do wars and revolts occupy a considerable place in human society?

3. What does history as a science study?

4. Why are you interested in history and what period attracts you most?

5. Where would you like to work after graduating from the University?

Text 5. Ecologist Read the text using a dictionary and discuss the vital ecological problems this profession deals with. Study the following vocabulary before reading the text:

by-product – побочный продукт

Our university has a Biology faculty which trains future specialists in ecology. Those who have chosen this profession are not indifferent to the ecological problems. They understand that the Earth is their common home, a big green home. The environmental protection should be our universal concerns.

Our ancestors considered the Earth’s resources to be boundless and endless.

Since ancient times Nature has served Man being the source of his life. For thousands of years people lived in harmony with environment and it seemed to them that natural riches were unlimited. But with the development of civilization man’s interference in nature began to increase.

In the 20th century with the rapid growth of science and technology human achievements in conquering nature became so great that man’s economic activities began to produce an increasingly negative effect on the biosphere.

Large cities with thousands of smoky industrial enterprises appear all over the world today. The by-products of their activity pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we grow vegetables and grain. Every year world industry pollutes the atmosphere with about 1000 mln. tons of dust and other harmful substances. Many cities suffer from smog. Vast forests are cut and burnt in fire. Their disappearance upsets the oxygen balance. As a result some rare species of animals, birds, fish and plants disappear forever, a number of rivers and lakes dry up.

The destruction of nature gradually led to the loss of the most essential element of existence, a healthy biological habitation. Environmental pollution increases the cases of disease, raises the cost of medical services, and reduces the life-span of a man. By now the pollution and poisoning of the soil, water and air have reached a critical level.

Environmental pollution has become a significant obstacle to economic growth. The discharge of dust and gas into the atmosphere returns to the Earth in the form of “acid rain” and affects crops, the quality of forests, the amount of fish. To this we can add the rise of chemicals, radioactivity, noise and other types of pollution.

The most horrible ecological disaster befell Belarus and its people as a result of the Chernobyl tragedy in April 1986. About 18% of the territory of Belarus was polluted with radioactive substances. A great damage has been done to the republic’s agriculture, forests and people’s health. The consequences of this explosion at the atomic power-station are tragic for the Belarusian nation.

Environmental protection is a universal concern. That is why serious measures to create a system of ecological security should be taken.

Some progress has already been made in this direction. As many as 159 countries – members of the UNO – have set up environmental protection agences. Numerous conferences have been held by these agences to discuss questions of ecologically poor regions including the Aral Sea, the South Urals, Kuzbass, Donbass, Semipalatinsk and Chernobyl. The international environmental research centre has been set up on Lake Baikal. The international organization Greenpeace is also doing much to preserve the environment.

But these are only the initial steps and they must be carried forward to protect nature, to save life on the planet not only for the sake of the present but also for the future generations.

Chapter 6. Youth life

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