- List three positive aspects of rural life in the United States.
- Describe two problems of rural life in the United States.
About one-fourth of the US population and more than 40 percent of the world population live in rural areas. As the previous section demonstrated, a dual view of cities exists: they have many advantages, but they also have many disadvantages. This dual view also applies to rural areas, but it does so in a sort of mirror image: The advantages of cities are often disadvantages for rural areas, and the disadvantages of cities are often advantages for rural areas.
On the positive side, and focusing on the United States, rural areas feature much more open space and less crowding. Their violent and property crime rates are much lower than those in large cities, as we have seen. The air is cleaner because there is less traffic and fewer factories and other facilities that emit pollution. Life in rural areas is thought to be slower paced, resulting in lower levels of anxiety and a greater sense of relaxation. For these and other reasons, rural residents exhibit better mental health on the average than do urban residents.
On the negative side, rural areas are often poor and lack the services, employment opportunities, and leisure activities that cities have. Teens often complain of boredom, and drug and alcohol use can be high (Johnson et al., 2008).Johnson, A. O., Mink, M. D., Harun, N., Moore, C. G., Martin, A. B., & Bennett, K. J. (2008). Violence and drug use in rural teens: National prevalence estimates from the 2003 youth risk behavior survey. Journal of School Health, 78(10), 554–561. Public transportation is often lacking, making it difficult for people without motor vehicles, who tend to have low incomes, to get to workplaces, stores, and other venues (Brown, 2008).Brown, D. M. (2008). Public transportation on the move in rural America. Washington, DC: Economic Research Service. Rural residents with motor vehicles often must still travel long distances to shop, to visit a doctor, to go to work, and to do any number of other activities. Many rural areas in the United States lack high-speed broadband, a necessity in today’s economy. As a result, their economic development is impaired (Whitacre, 2010).Whitacre, B. E. (2010). The diffusion of Internet technologies to rural communities: A portrait of broadband supply and demand. American Behavioral Scientist, 53, 1283–1303. All these challenges contribute to special problems in rural areas. We now examine some of these problems.
As Chapter 13 «Health and Health Care» noted, rural areas often lack sufficient numbers of health care professionals, hospitals, and medical clinics. The National Rural Health Association (2012)National Rural Health Association. (2012). What’s different about rural health care? Retrieved from http://www.ruralhealthweb.org/go/left/about-rural-health. points out that although one-fourth of the US population is rural, only one-tenth of physicians practice in rural areas. Urban areas have 134 physician specialists for every 100,000 residents, but rural areas have less than one-third this number.
Compounding these shortages are other problems. The first is that the small hospitals typical of rural areas generally lack high-quality care and equipment. A patient who needs heart bypass surgery, brain surgery, or other types of complex medical care is likely to have travel to an urban hospital far away.
The second problem is the long distances that ambulances and patients must travel. Because ambulances and other emergency vehicles must travel so far, rural residents with emergencies receive medical attention more slowly than their urban counterparts. The long distances that people must travel make it more difficult for patients with health problems to receive medical care. For example, a rural cancer patient who needs chemotherapy or radiation might have to travel two to three hours in each direction to receive treatment. Travel distances in rural areas also mean that rural residents are less likely than urban residents to receive preventive services such as physical examinations; screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer; and vaccinations for various illnesses and diseases.
In yet another problem, rural areas are also much more likely than urban areas to lack mental health care, drug abuse counseling and programs, and other services related to physical and mental health.
For all these reasons, rural residents are more at risk than urban residents for certain health problems, including mortality. For example, only one-third of all motor vehicle accidents happen in rural areas, but two-thirds of all deaths from such accidents occur in rural areas. These problems help explain why rural residents are more likely than urban residents to report being in only fair or poor health in government surveys (Bennett, Olatosi, & Probst, 2009).Bennett, K. J., Olatosi, B., & Probst, J. C. (2009). Health disparities: A rural-urban chartbook. Columbia, SC: South Carolina Rural Health Research Center.
An additional health problem in rural areas arises from the age profile of their populations. Compared to urban areas, rural areas have an “aging population,” or a greater percentage of adults aged 65 and older. This fact adds to the health-care problems that rural areas must address.
Rural Schools and Education
The discussion of education in Chapter 11 «Schools and Education» focused mostly on urban schools. Many of the problems discussed there also apply to rural schools. However, rural schools often face hurdles that urban and suburban schools are much less likely to encounter (Center for Rural Policy and Development, 2009).Center for Rural Policy and Development. (2009). A region apart: A look at challenges and strategies for rural K–12 schools. Saint Peter, MN: Center for Rural Policy and Development.
First, because rural areas have been losing population, they have been experiencing declining school enrollment and school closings. When a school does close, teachers and other school employees have lost their jobs, and students have to rather suddenly attend a new school that is usually farther from their home than their former school.
Second, rural populations are generally older than urban populations, as mentioned earlier, and have a greater percentage of retired adults. Therefore, rural areas’ per-capita income and sales tax revenue are lower than that for urban and suburban areas, and this lower revenue makes the funding of public schools more challenging.
Third, rural families live relatively far from the public schools, and the schools are relatively far from each other. As a result, rural school districts have considerable expenses for transporting children to and from school, after-school athletic events, and other activities.
Finally, it is often difficult to recruit and retain quality teachers in rural areas. This problem has forced some rural school districts to offer hiring bonuses or housing assistance to staff their schools.
Although many US cities have high poverty rates, the poverty rate is actually somewhat higher overall in rural areas than in urban areas. In 2010, 16.5 percent of rural residents were classified as officially poor, compared to 14.9 percent of urban residents. However, the poverty rate in the nation’s largest cities was higher yet at 19.7 percent. The number of poor rural residents was almost 8 million, while the number of poor urban residents (reflecting the fact that most Americans live in urban areas) was almost 36 million (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, & Smith, 2011).DeNavas-Walt, C., Proctor, B. D., & Smith, J. C. (2011). Income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States: 2010 (Current Population Reports, P60–239). Washington, DC: US Census Bureau.
Rural poverty is thought to be more persistent than urban poverty because of the factors that contribute to its high rate. These factors include the out-migration of young, highly skilled workers; the lack of industrial jobs that typically have been higher paying than agricultural jobs; and limited opportunities for the high-paying jobs of the information age. Biotech companies, electronics companies, and other symbols of the information age are hardly ever found in the nation’s rural areas. Instead, they locate themselves in or near urban areas, in which are found the universities, masses of people, and other necessary aspects these companies need to succeed.
Compounding the general problem of poverty, rural areas are also more likely than nonrural areas to lack human services programs to help the poor, disabled, elderly, and other people in need of aid (National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, 2011).National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. (2011). The 2011 report to the secretary: Rural health and human services issues. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services. Because rural towns are so small, they often cannot afford services such as soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and Meals on Wheels, and thus must rely on services located in other towns. Yet rural towns are often far from each other, making it difficult and expensive for rural residents to obtain the services they need. For example, a Meals on Wheels program in an urban area may travel just a few miles and serve dozens of people, while it may have to travel more than one hundred miles in a rural area and serve only a few people. Adding to this problem is the strong sense in many rural areas that individuals should be strong enough to fend for themselves and not accept government help. Even when services are available, some people who need them decline to take advantage of them because of pride and shame.
One of the sad facts of rural life is domestic violence. This form of violence is certainly common in urban areas, but the defining feature of rural areas—a relatively low number of people living in a relatively broad area—creates several problems for victims of domestic violence, most of them women (DeKeseredy & Schwartz, 2009).DeKeseredy, W. S., & Schwartz, M. D. (2009). Dangerous exits: Escaping abusive relationships in rural America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
For example, these women often find it difficult to get help and/or to leave their abusers wherever they live. However, it is often even more difficult for rural women to do so. Rural police may be unenlightened about domestic violence and may even know the abuser; for either reason, they may not consider his violence a crime, and abused women may be that much more reluctant to tell the police about their abuse.
Another problem concerns the availability of battered women’s shelters, which provide invaluable services for abused women and any children they might have. These shelters tend to be found in cities, which still do not have nearly enough shelters. Rural areas generally lack shelters, and any shelters that exist are often long distances from the homes of abused women. In rural areas, abused women are also more likely than their urban counterparts to lack neighbors and friends to whom they can turn for support, or at least to live farther from these individuals. For all these reasons, rural women who experience domestic violence face a problem that has been called “dangerous exits” (DeKeseredy & Schwartz, 2009).DeKeseredy, W. S., & Schwartz, M. D. (2009). Dangerous exits: Escaping abusive relationships in rural America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
- Like cities, rural areas also have their advantages and disadvantages. They can be beautiful, relaxing places in which to live, but they also lack many of the cultural advantages and other amenities that cities feature.
- Rural areas are characterized by sparse populations and long distances that people must travel. These conditions make it difficult to provide adequate public transportation and various kinds of human services. The poverty of many rural areas aggravates these problems.
For Your Review
- If you had your choice, would you want to live in a large city, medium-sized city, small town, or rural area? Explain your answer.
- Americans often seem to blame city residents for many of the problems affecting US cities today, including low academic achievement, rundown conditions in city schools, and crime in the streets. Do you think it is fair to blame city residents for these problems, or are there other reasons for them? Explain your answer.
Urban, suburban and rural communities in the U.S. face a host of problems today. Some are common across community types, while others are tied to the unique nature of life in these different areas. In some cases, such as drug addiction and jobs, views about the severity of local problems are more strongly linked to race and socio-economic status than they are to the type of community one lives in, suggesting that some of the challenges Americans face today may be rooted more in demographics than in geography.
In urban and rural communities alike, about half see drug addiction as a top-tier problem: 50% and 46%, respectively, say this is a major problem in their local community. A smaller but substantial share of adults living in suburban areas (35%) say drug addiction is a major problem where they live.
There is more concern about affordable housing, poverty, crime and the quality of public schools among urban residents than there is among their suburban and rural counterparts. For example, 52% of adults living in urban areas say the availability of affordable housing is a major problem in their local community, compared with 34% in the suburbs and 36% in rural areas. Similarly, urban residents are about twice as likely as those living in the suburbs to say crime is a major problem where they live (35% vs. 16%). One-in-five rural residents say crime is a major problem in their community.
Some problems stand out as being particularly acute in rural areas. Rural residents are significantly more likely than those living in urban or suburban areas to say the availability of jobs: 42% of rural residents say this is a major problem in their community, compared with 34% of urban and 22% of suburban residents. Rural residents are also significantly more likely to say access to public transportation is a major problem where they live.
While relatively few adults across community types say access to good doctors and hospitals, high-speed internet and grocery stores are major problems where they live, significant shares say each is at least a minor problem. Rural residents stand out in each case. When it comes to access to health care, two-thirds of rural residents say this is either a major or minor problem where they live. By comparison, roughly the same share of suburbanites (64%) say this is not a problem where they live. Similarly, while 58% of adults in rural areas say access to high-speed internet is a problem for them – including 24% who say it is a major problem – smaller shares of urban (43%) and suburban (36%) residents say this is a problem where they live. Suburban residents are significantly less likely than their urban or rural counterparts to characterize access to grocery stores as a problem in their community. Only 20% do, compared with 33% of those in urban areas and 43% in rural areas.
Concern over racism is roughly comparable in urban and rural communities – 21% of urban residents and 17% of rural residents say this is a major problem. A slightly smaller share (13%) say this is a major problem in the suburbs.
The condition of roads, bridges and other infrastructure is a major problem for 36% of urban, 27% of suburban and 32% of rural residents. Traffic, on the other hand, is a much bigger problem for those living in cities (36% say this is a major problem) or suburbs (29%) than it is for adults living in a rural area (13%).
Sharp socio-economic divide on concerns about drug addiction
Across community types, majorities of Americans say drug addiction is a problem in their community. Overall, 42% say this is a major problem and an additional 45% say it is a minor problem.
Concerns about this issue don’t vary widely between whites and nonwhites, nor do they differ markedly by age. Views on the severity of this problem do differ significantly along socio-economic lines. While a third of adults with a bachelor’s degree or more education say drug addiction is a major problem in their local community, roughly four-in-ten of those with some college education (43%) and an even higher share of those with a high school diploma or less education (48%) say the same.
Similarly, those who describe themselves as upper class express less concern about drug addiction than do those who describe themselves as middle or lower class. In fact, fully 50% of lower-class adults say drug addiction is a major problem where they live. These gaps hold up – for the most part – across community types, although the class differences are not evident among rural residents.
Rural residents more likely to say availability of jobs is a major problem where they live
Overall, 31% of Americans say the availability of jobs is a major problem in their local community and 45% say this is a minor problem. Roughly one-in-four (23%) say this is not a problem in their community. Perceptions about local job conditions differ not only by community type but also by key demographic characteristics. There is a significant racial divide in views about the availability of jobs, with nonwhites much more likely than whites to say this is a major problem where they live (40% vs. 26%).
This gap can be seen across community types, with significantly larger shares of nonwhites voicing concern about the availability of jobs where they live. In rural areas, where a higher share overall says jobs are a problem, 53% of nonwhites and 38% of whites characterize this as a major problem.
Views on the availability of jobs differ by educational attainment and income as well. Overall, 22% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or more education say this is a major problem in their local community, compared with 35% of those with some college or less education. Similarly, adults with annual household incomes of less than $30,000 are about twice as likely as those with incomes of $75,000 or higher to say the availability of jobs is a major problem in their community (43% vs. 20%). These patterns are consistent among urban, suburban and rural residents.
Americans have mixed views about how the job situation will be in the future. About a third (34%) say they expect the availability of jobs where they live to be better 10 years from now, 20% say it will be worse and 45% say it will stay about the same. Adults from urban areas are more optimistic than those living in suburban and rural areas. Rural residents are the least optimistic. Four-in-ten urban residents say they expect the job situation in their local community to improve over the next decade, compared with 34% of suburbanites and 28% of those living in rural areas. Roughly one-in-five across community types say they expect the job situation to get worse where they live.
Among suburban and rural residents who say the availability of jobs is a major problem in their community, relatively few are optimistic that things will improve over the next decade – 20% of those living in rural areas and 21% of suburbanites.
Nonwhites consistently voice greater concern than whites about the magnitude of a variety of problems in their community. In many cases, the racial gap persists across community types. In urban, suburban and rural areas, nonwhites are significantly more likely than whites to say that poverty, crime, racism, jobs, access to good doctors and hospitals, and access to high-speed internet are major problems in their local communities. In some cases, whites in the suburbs stand out as being the least concerned about these issues. For example, when it comes to poverty, 17% of suburban whites say this is a major problem in their community, compared with 28% of rural and 35% of urban whites.
There’s a racial divide in suburban and rural communities when it comes to housing, the quality of K-12 public schools, access to grocery stores, and traffic. Whites and nonwhites in urban areas express similar levels of concern about these issues.
There are also socio-economic divides on several of these problems. When it comes to poverty, crime and infrastructure, as well as access to quality medical care, high-speed internet, and grocery stores, adults with less than a four-year college degree are significantly more likely than college graduates to express high levels of concern. For example, 32% of adults without a bachelor’s degree say poverty is a major problem where they live, compared with 24% of those who have a four-year college degree or more. Similarly, while about one-in-five adults without a four-year college degree (17%) say access to high-speed internet is a major problem in their community, only 8% of college graduates say the same.
The educational divides in views about these local problems are less consistent than the racial divides across community types. On views about crime and access to doctors, less educated adults express higher levels of concern than those with a bachelor’s or higher degree in urban, suburban and rural areas.
ВСЕ СОЧИНЕНИЯ 2022 ГОДА >>>>
Imagine that you are doing a project on what pets people prefer to keep. You have collected some data on the subject (see the diagram below). Comment on the data in the diagram and give your personal opinion on the subject of the project.
What is the main problem large cities in Zetland face
Number of respondents (%)
too many migrants
high population density
high crime rate
|Essay 2022 Sample 11
Comment on the following statement:
|Project on what problems large cities in Zetland face.|
What is your opinion? Do you agree with this statement?
Undoubtedly, large cities have a lot of problems.The purpose of my project is to study the troubles that citizens in Zetland face in urban areas. I have found some relevant data on the subject and I am going to use them in my project.
As it is evident from the table, the majority of respondents, accounting for more than one third, consider traffic jams as the main problem. The next factor is too many migrants. The figure is 21%. Surprisingly, very few people are concerned about high crime rate. The figure stands at 6%.
Comparing the data given in the table, it becomes obvious that almost four times more citizens in Zetland care about traffic jams than those who worry about high crime rate. Industrial pollution seem less important than too many immigrants.
The table clearly illustrates that traffic jams mostly is the main factor that troubles Zetlanders. However, some problems can arise with life in large cities for teenagers. One of them is heavy traffic which makes commuting difficult. One of the probable solutions The possible solution is to ban private cars and introduce more buses on city roads. Thus, it will guaranty a better traffic. другие проблемы >>>>
Having analyzed the data given in the table, it can be concluded that different factors affect well-being of the city. In my opinion, young people prefer to live in large cities because they have good educational and job opportunities in megapolises. All in all, life in big cities is exciting but it can be dangerous at the same time.
Read by George William Dole
– make an opening statement on the subject of the project work;
Undoubtedly, large cities have a lot of problems.
|The purpose of my project is to study the troubles that citizens in Zetland face in urban areas.|
|I have found some relevant data on the subject and I am going to use them in my project.|
– select and report 2–3 main facts;
(1-е предложение — инфо. из таблицы)
As it is evident from the table, the majority of respondents, accounting for more than one third, consider traffic jams as the main problem.
(2-е предложение — инфо. из таблицы)
The next factor is too many migrants.
(подтверждение — инфо. из таблицы)
|The figure is 21%.|
(удивление — самое маленькое значение)
Surprisingly, very few people are concerned about high crime rate. The figure stands at 6%.
– make 1–2 comparisons where relevant;
(вводное предложение + сравнительная конструкция)
Comparing the data given in the table, it becomes obvious that almost four times more citizens in Zetland care about traffic jams than those who worry about high crime rate.
(второе предложение + сравнительная конструкция)
Industrial pollution seem less important than too many immigrants.
– outline a problem that can arise due to the leisure activities preferred by senior citizens and suggest a way of solving it;
(вводное предложение + обобщение)
The table clearly illustrates that traffic jams mostly is the main factor that troubles Zetlanders.
|However, some problems can arise with life in large cities for teenagers.|
|One of them is heavy traffic which makes commuting difficult.|
One of the probable solutions The possible solution is to ban private cars and introduce more buses on city roads. Thus, it will guaranty a better traffic.
– conclude by giving your opinion on the role of leisure activities in life of senior citizens.
|Having analyzed the data given in the table, it can be concluded that different factors affect well-being of the city.|
(дать пояснение почему я так думаю)
In my opinion, young people prefer to live in large cities because they have good educational and job opportunities in megapolises.
All in all, life in big cities is exciting but it can be dangerous at the same time.
Типичные ошибки встречающиеся при написании сочинения с элементами рассуждения
MATERIALS IN RURAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
PROBLEMS IN THE RURAL ENVIRONMENT
People who live in rural areas are usually more aware of the limitations
of their natural environment because they live so close to it, and it is
easier to see the damage that human activities may do to resources that
are important to them. This unit discusses general problems in most rural
environments. It can be replaced by the special units on drylands,
mountains and small islands which have unique environmental problems.
Most rural environments have a number of environmental resources: land
used for agriculture and food production, grazing land for animals, forest
or woodland, natural areas with native vegetation and animals, perhaps
some freshwater features such as streams, a river or lake, and for some a
coastal area along the ocean or sea. There are also the villages or towns
where human activities are concentrated. Each of these may have some
particular environmental problems or management challenges.
The following are qualitative descriptions of the most pressing
environmental concerns facing most rural areas.
The most widespread environmental problem, affecting almost all rural
areas with populations of any size, is the safe disposal of liquid
domestic wastes, particularly human wastes and urban sewage. Few
developing countries have adequate waste collection and treatment
facilities even in the most developed urban areas, and those that exist
are costly and seldom properly maintained. In spite of considerable
efforts at rural sanitation, facilities in many rural areas are still
rudimentary or entirely lacking. The result is serious water pollution
both of fresh water supplies (wells, springs, rivers, groundwater and even
rainwater catchments) and of coastal waters around beaches, reefs and
lagoons that are important for tourism, recreation and fishing. This
pollution presents grave risks to human health.
It is only in the last few decades that countries have begun to pay
serious attention to this problem, but the investments required to collect
and treat domestic wastes are such that progress is very slow.
Another major environmental concern for the future of developing
countries is the steady reduction in forest cover in almost every country
(except those that already have no forest left). Forests are logged for
local use or export; shifting cultivation and clearing for agriculture are
constant pressures on the forest resource; and frequent uncontrolled fires
eat into the forest margins in some countries. This not only represents
the loss of a significant productive resource, but contributes to many
subsidiary problems such as water shortages, soil erosion, and loss of
habitat for endangered species. While many countries have tree replanting
programmes, these have rarely been more than marginally successful.
and Land Tenure
In rural areas, productive land is usually the most important resource
for local people. It must be used efficiently to meet the needs of the
people for water, food, building materials and reasonable quality of life,
and to maintain the functioning of natural systems on which all these
depend. This requires comprehensive planning and careful allocation of
land to the most appropriate use or combination of uses. Traditional
systems of land and resource tenure often worked effectively when
populations were smaller western approaches to land management were
sometimes introduced in colonial times. But rural person’s attachment to
his or her land may go far beyond western concepts of ownership, and
include mystical and spiritual dimensions rooted in traditional cultures.
There were often systems of collective tenure that were effective before
European contact in maintaining the fair allocation and wise management of
scarce resources, but authority and control within traditional land tenure
systems tend to break down with modern influences and over-population.
European systems of individual freehold ownership are no improvement in
this respect. Where neither traditional nor Western systems of ownership
function effectively, there can be anarchic development, resource abuse
and destruction without the possibility of imposing modern systems of
zoning or control in the common interest. While some land is abused, other
areas are neglected. However, tampering with land rights in rural areas
can produce the same type of reaction as would interfering with religion.
Restoring or building on customary systems of management may be the most
acceptable and effective approach where it is still possible.
Human Habitat and
There are also problems of the human habitat in most rural areas,
particularly involving housing and sanitation. In countries where cyclonic
storms, hurricanes or typhoons are common, many houses are unable to
resist hurricane force winds, or are in areas subject to flooding or
landslides. Rural areas often lack essential infrastructure like roads or
other means of transport that allow rural products to be sold in urban
markets or for export, and that make it possible for rural children to
continue their education beyond what is available in the village. The
pressure of migration to urban areas has also resulted in overcrowding and
makeshift construction in towns and cities, with consequent health and
social problems. Some cities now have at least partial sewage treatment,
but the problems of urban pollution in general are far from solved even
The above problems are the most widespread in their impacts in the rural
areas of most developing countries, and thus rank first in priority.
Another group of concerns affect many countries and territories. They are
frequently given high priority at a national level.
The soil resource, essential for agriculture, is the fundamental basis of
rural prosperity. Developing countries are subject to the same problems of
soil erosion and loss of fertility as most other parts of the world.
Places where soils were poor to begin with, or with irregular topography,
geological instability, heavy rainfall or large areas of cleared land, all
face increased susceptibility to erosion. Traditional agriculture
generally involved lengthy fallows or the addition of humus, but these
techniques are being abandoned with modernization and increasing pressure
on the land. The result is a steady increase in soil loss and an increase
in degraded land.
While heavy rains are characteristic of many tropical areas, they can be
irregular from season to season and from year to year. Since most rural
areas have little water storage capacity, dry periods can result in
serious water shortages which hamper development, and can create serious
public health problems. Destruction of forest cover has caused many
formerly perennial streams to stop flowing in the dry season. In coastal
areas, groundwater supplies can be irreversibly contaminated by saltwater
if too much water is extracted from wells. Rainwater catchments are
dependent on regular precipitation. Where these problems are common, water
is often the most limiting factor in development.
Traditionally where all the materials people used were produced locally,
wastes also could be absorbed by the natural system. Today with more and
more imported materials, there is a growing problem with solid waste
disposal even in rural areas. The steady increase in imports from overseas
has brought with it an accumulation of old car bodies and broken down
heavy equipment, appliances, bottles, cans and plastic. Disposal sites are
often in swamps or along rivers, or take land from other important uses.
Collection and disposal of wastes are expensive on a small scale, so that
wastes are either not collected, or the disposal sites are improperly
managed, with resulting health and pollution problems.
There is widespread concern about the potential dangers of the toxic
chemicals being used in rural areas in increasing amounts. Most developing
country governments lack adequate legislation controlling toxic chemicals.
Pesticides or herbicides may be imported in bulk and then repackaged
without adequate labeling, resulting in accidental poisonings. Chemicals
brought in on a trial basis, or given on aid, may simply sit in a
warehouse until the containers deteriorate and the contents spill out or
seep down into the groundwater. Products considered too dangerous
elsewhere are still in widespread use (and misuse) with no public
awareness of the risks involved. Pesticides have been widely used in
campaigns to control mosquitoes and other insect pests with no monitoring
of possible environmental effects. Spraying equipment may simply be washed
in the nearest stream, which may also serve as a village water supply.
Accidents with toxic chemicals can have serious effects on people’s health
but few rural doctors have experience in identifying poisoning by toxic
chemicals, so most incidents probably go unreported. Monitoring for
chemical residues in foods and the environment has hardly begun.
The problem of the conservation of nature can be important in developing
countries where there are still large natural areas undisturbed by human
activities. Sometimes these areas have unique floras and faunas with
endemic species found nowhere else. The demands of increasing human
populations make it difficult protect natural areas even where the land
tenure situation would allow such action. Steady habitat destruction, and
competition and predation by introduced species further increase the
pressure on native species. The problem of nature conservation can become
critical as the area of undisturbed natural habitat diminishes, but in
developing countries the scientific and financial resources available to
deal with the problem are very limited.
While a number of developing countries have made great efforts in setting
aside protected areas, the needs far exceed the means. In addition,
creating protected areas can reduce the natural resources available to
local people. Solutions need to be integrated into larger programmes of
rural development so that the people benefit from and support them.
Conservation areas which are created and managed by the traditional land
owners represent the kind of creative approach to conservation needed in
A third group of environmental concerns are not as widespread as those
above, affecting only a few developing countries, but they are significant
in the local areas affected.
The damage or destruction of productive coastal resources and fisheries
is a nearly universal problem. Coral reefs are destroyed by construction
or dredging, pollution, siltation and dynamiting or poisoning for fish.
Mangroves are killed off by dredging or filling, or by changing essential
patterns of water circulation and salinity. Seagrass beds are dredged or
silted over. Modern boats and fishing techniques combined with increased
fishing pressure have driven some coastal fisheries resources (such as
giant clams, dugongs or manatees, and sea turtles) to extinction in local
areas, and left others seriously depleted. Ciguatera fish poisoning has
increased with damaging activities in coral reef areas, further reducing
useable fish resources. The result has been a steady reduction in the
productive potential of coastal fisheries, one of the most important
subsistence sources of protein, with a corresponding increase in imports
of canned fish and other substitutes.
Coastlines are in a dynamic relationship with the sea, with material
constantly being deposited on or carried away from the shore. While the
building of new land is usually considered desirable, coastal erosion is a
serious local concern, particularly where it affects roads, buildings or
scarce agricultural land. The expense of protective works to control
erosion of shorelines is a continuing drain on those countries suffering
from this problem. The sea level is now rising more rapidly because of
global warming, so the problem of coastal erosion and flooding can only
Mining is a significant economic activity in some rural areas of
developing countries, and it is inevitably accompanied by serious
environmental problems. These include the disposal of mine wastes,
tailings and processing wastes, erosion problems and the pollution of
rivers in mined areas, loss of natural habitat or of land with
agricultural potential, and the abandonment of unusable wastelands once
the mining has ended. While new mines today are generally subject to
strict environmental controls, older mines and areas abandoned after
earlier mining continue to present serious environmental problems.
Industry is not widespread in rural areas of developing countries,
concentrating mostly on the processing of food or minerals for export.
However, it frequently causes pollution and other problems in localities
where it occurs. Wastes from fish and fruit processing plants, effluent
from textile dyeing, and dangerous air pollution from smelting operations
are some examples of localized industrial pollution problems in developing
USE OF LOCAL RESOURCES
The above problems all contribute in one way or another to the most
critical environmental issue facing developing countries: the sustainable
use and management of limited land resources. Population growth as such is
not always the most important factor; some countries have rapidly
increasing populations, while in others the population may have
stabilized, and in some industrialized countries it is declining.
Nevertheless, human activities are leading everywhere to a gradual (or not
so gradual) erosion in the resource base on which all people, and
particularly rural people depend for survival. In rural areas where there
are not many alternatives, the limits to resources are closer and there is
less room for error; if people can no longer survive on their resources,
they must migrate.
It is clear that the solution to these problems of the environment and of
sustainable resource use will require management skills and a good
scientific understanding of the local environment. Unfortunately, skilled
people and scientific infrastructure are sorely lacking in developing
countries, and even more so in rural areas. In the past there were
traditional experts on resource management at the local level, but more
than a hundred years of missionary activity, colonization, European
education and modernization have largely destroyed this knowledge and the
traditional management systems through which it was applied.
If the people in rural areas are to ensure for themselves a satisfactory
environmental future, they must take measures to reverse the steady
erosion in their resource base and to stabilize their populations within
the carrying capacity of their local area, even if this means modifying
what they see as deeply held cultural values. They must increase efforts
to restore damaged resources, and to achieve comprehensive management of
different resource uses and development activities. This will be very
difficult, as it requires questioning some of the development assumptions
and goals inherited from former colonial masters or copied from elsewhere.
It is clear from the above list of environmental concerns that each local
rural area requires forms of development adapted to the limitations of the
environment, and drawing as much from the traditional societies that
successfully lived within those limits for generations as from the modern
A comparison of the environmental concerns of developing countries with
those of industrialized countries shows a profound difference of emphasis,
at least in the short term. The pollution resulting from modern
technological development is much less important than the need for
sustainable management of the natural resource base. As non-renewable
resources such as fossil fuels run out, we shall need to return to a form
of economy based largely on rural resources like agriculture and forestry.
Rural areas can therefore become a potential model for the future, facing
now what must become the long-term preoccupation of the whole world as
resource degradation approaches the limits of the planet.
Which of these environmental problems are the most important in your
Why are they so important?
Which problems are not significant where you are?
Which problems are caused primarily by local people?
Have some problems been imported from outside?
Can the government solve all these problems?
What can you do to solve environmental problems where you are?
Instructions for trainers in the use of
Some questions state a social problem, ask for the effects of the problem, and then want you to write about a solution.
These days it seems that an increasing number of people are leaving rural areas to live in the city. Discuss some of the effects of rural depopulation (migration from the country to the city) and suggest some ways in which this trend could be reversed.
Write at least 250 words, and spend 40 minutes.
This essay type is called: A social problem + solution. Such essays will ask you to discuss the effects of the social problem (which really means discuss the problem in detail) and then will then ask you to offer a solution. It’s not a cause-and-effect essay, so you don’t need to write about any causes for the problem.
First here is a real answer given by an IELTS candidate without corrections:
Nowadays losing balance of population distribution between city and country has become a critical issue in our society. In this essay I intend to discuss the influences of this phenomenon as well as how we could do to address the problem of decreasing population in the rural areas and on increasing one in the urban areas.
The impacts of this problem could be observed by two aspects. Firstly it is evident that every city has its own standard of accommodating people. While a city overloads too many inhabitants, a result of overcrowding is hardly avoided. Further, the high population density would erode the living quality by making air, water and noise pollution. In addition the following effects, such as crime and unemployment would also disturb the harmony in a city. Secondly, there is a increasing trend of rural adults to immigrate to the city instead of staying at country. As a result, the remainders in the rural areas are elders and children who belong the group with less productivity. And that is the main reason why countryside progress slowly.
In order to solve this problem of rural depulation I believe we must first address the rooted cause: the less working opportunities in these areas. Admittedly, living in the city definitely has more chances to obtain a job. But that doesn’t mean others who lice in the country must be jobless. In my opinion, if we could use the resource in the rural areas reasonly and smartly. The fresh environment and relax living pace would be the attractions to the tourists. And this is a good opportunity to develop tourism in the country. As a result of more jobs being provided people who live in the rural areas would have more intention of staying at country.
To conclude, even though the problem is unlikely to be resolved in the short term, I firmly believed, an appropriate method of developing rural areas is the only way to balance the population’s distribution.
329 words . . . far too many words!
Here are some corrections and advice. First the inroduction:
Nowadays losing the balance of between the population distribution between city in cities and country the countryside has become a critical issue in our society. In this essay I intend to discuss the influences causes of this phenomenon as well as how what we could do to address the problem of a decreasing population in the rural areas and on an increasing one in the urban areas.
Introductions need two or three sentences. Rewrite the question, using synonyms; describe the current situation; and add a thesis statement. The above introduction mentions causes in the thesis statement, but we already know that this is not necessary in this essay type.
My rewrite, keeping the student’s main ideas:
Nowadays, the dramatic depletion of rural communities and the corresponding growth of urban centres has become a much-discussed topic, mainly due to the devastating effects on those left in the countryside, and to a lesser extent due to its secondary effect of urban decay. In the following paragraphs I will address those effects and offer a solution.
Back to correcting the student’s essay. Here’s his B1:
The Two impacts of this problem could can be observed by two aspects. Firstly it is evident that every city has its own standard of accommodating people. While When a city overloads too many inhabitants, a result of overcrowding is hardly avoided. Further, the high population density would erode the living quality by making air, water and noise pollution. In addition the following effects, such as crime and unemployment would also disturb the harmony in a city. (perhaps another paragraph here) Secondly, there is a an increasing trend of rural adults to immigrate migrating to the city instead of staying at in the country. As a result, the remainders remaining people in the rural areas are elders the elderly and children who belong to the group with less productivity. And that is the main reason why the countryside progress progresses slowly.
So, the above paragraph (B1) is addressing the effects of the problem. Good. And it has separated them into two: those in the countryside, and those in the city.
Here is a good pattern to follow for any B1 or B2 (explained in more detail here)
TS (Topic Sentence)
Idea 1: First, …
Explain Idea 1
Example of Idea 1
Idea 2: Furthermore + (sign post) …
Explain Idea 2
Example of Idea 2
Let me try to rewrite B1, using that pattern but keeping the student’s original ideas:
Rural depopulation causes negative social and economic impacts in all parts of the nation. First, in the countryside itself, where increasing migration of adults towards metropolitan areas results in the remaining inhabitants being predominantly the elderly and children, who are less productive, This will necessarily lead to slower rates of development and deprivation in those areas. My own village, for instance, is full of old people, who can’t really contribute anything positive to the community. Second, such outflows leads to the detriment of cities, which will become densely populated and overcrowded, with a myriad of associated problems: traffic congestion; air, water and noise pollution; and crime will all erode the quality of life for city dwellers.
Go through the above rewrite and try to spot the TS, linking words, signposts, ideas 1 and 2, explanations, and examples.
Back to the student’s essay and his B2, in which he’s discussing the solution:
In order to solve this problem of rural depulation depopulation I believe we must first address the rooted root cause: the less working opportunities in these areas. Admittedly, living in the city definitely has more chances to obtain a job. But that doesn’t mean others who live in the country must be jobless. In my opinion, if we could use the resources in the rural areas reasonly and smartly. The fresh environment and relax relaxed living pace would be the attractions to the tourists. And this is a good opportunity to develop tourism in the country. As a result of more jobs being provided people who live in the rural areas would have more intention of staying at in the country.
Again, it’s pretty good. If we use the above pattern we can try to structure B2 a bit better:
TS: The endemic problems of rural depopulation can be tackled economically on two fronts.
Idea 1: Investment in the tourism industry.
Explain: Many locations in rural areas have beautiful features and pristine environments which can be exploited for the sake of attracting visitors.
Idea 2: Investment in other local industries.
Explain: Not only is the countryside a stress-free place to work in, but new Internet-based technology will allow it to be exploited further.
Check again how I rewrote B1 by following the pattern and then try to use the TS and ideas above to compose your own B2. (You’ll need to add in linking words, signposts, examples, etc)
And now the student’s conclusion:
To conclude, even though the problem is unlikely to be resolved in the short term, I firmly believed believe an appropriate method of developing rural areas is the only way to balance the population’s distribution.
Pretty good. Remember that you have to actually reach a conclusion in you conclusion. That may sound like a stupid thing to say, but you’d be surprised at how many essays end without actually doing that. If the question asks for your opinion, make sure you have given it, and so on.
About Paul Davey
I’m Paul from Bristol, England. I am an IELTS tutor available for face-to-face classes in Taipei and Skype classes anywhere in the world.
I’m based in Yonghe, New Taipei City — very close to Taipei.
I have been teaching for many years and I am good at it. I’m patient and never tire of correcting students’ mistakes. I know many good ways for students to learn quickly and make a lot of progress in a short time. You won’t be wasting your money. I especially know the difficulties faced by Chinese speakers, and I know how to overcome these difficulties.
IELTS is my primary concern and over the years I have taught hundreds of students in the UK, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other spots around the world. I know what the examiners look for and I know how to increase your band and get the grade you need to make your dream come true.
I have been blogging about IELTS for about a decade. I started my first website in 2007, before beginning to blog at IELTS Tutor on the Hello UK website. Now I blog only at IELTS in Taiwan and Around the World.
I majored in Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, UK, graduating with a bachelor’s degree (2/1 with honours). I obtained my language-teaching qualification in 2006, which is accredited by the Royal College of Teachers. Before I began teaching, I worked in a software company in the UK, writing and selling software solutions. After teaching for many years I took a five-year break to run my own retailing business. Following that adventure, I returned to full-time teaching. For the last 11 years, I’ve been in Taiwan, where in addition to my IELTS work, I have taught corporate classes at Taipei Bank, Pfizer, and Chinese Petroleum Corporation (CPC, Taiwan).
I have interests in many fields including travel, literature, science and history.