It’s been a long time since I posted a sample answer here! I used to do it occasionally, but stopped in late 2017. Well, today I am going to post one that I wrote recently because I think it serves quite well as a model for writing IELTS writing task 2 questions. I have even made a video, which you can find below.
First, let’s look at the question:
Some people say that the main environmental problem of our time is the loss of particular species of plants and animals. Others say that there are more important environmental problems.
Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
So what are we really being asked to do here? I often suggest rewriting the question differently in order to understand it better:
- Discuss the loss of species as main problem
- Discuss another problem (as main problem)
- Give your own opinion (on which is main problem)
Remember that regardless of your opinion, you need to discuss both views.
Here is what I wrote to answer this question:
It is obvious that the planet is in great danger, but people disagree over whether the main problem is the loss of certain species or other issues such as climate change. This essay will discuss both views and conclude that they are both interrelated, and that there is no one problem that is the worst.
Around the world, species of animals and plants are dying at a shocking rate. Forests are being cut down to make way for giant cattle farms, while endangered animals are being poached so that their body parts can be sent to China to make fake medicines. This is a devastating trend not just because these animals don’t deserve to die, but because biodiversity is tremendously important to the planet. When sharks are killed, for example, it is not just the sharks that die. The whole underwater ecosystem faces collapse, which can be catastrophic for the world.
Other problems exist aside from just the loss of species. Major environmental issues today include climate change. This is caused by many factors such as air pollution and the loss of forests and coral reefs, and it has massive potential ramifications, such as sea level rises and desertification. Ultimately, this could lead to the extinction of humanity and the destruction of our world. However, to say that it is worse than the extinction of certain species overlooks the fact that they are related. When we kill certain plants and animals, we are contributing to climate change indirectly, and all of these environmental tragedies bring the world closer to complete destruction.
In conclusion, there are many ways in which humans are wreaking havoc on the planet, but it is hard to say that one is worse than another because they all add up to the same result.
You can see that I have used a basic four paragraph structure. I have devoted one paragraph to the first idea: loss of species. My second paragraph is more complicated. It is partly about another environmental problem (climate change); however, I then make my position clear. My opinion is that both problems are the same, or at least they are part of one bigger problem.
This is a quite complex notion, and I consider this a very advanced IELTS essay structure. There is also some great vocabulary for the topic of environmental here:
- wreaking havoc
In the following video, I show you how to write an essay like this step-by-step. It’s quite a long video at about 18 minutes, but I think it is very helpful for learning how to plan an IELTS essay.
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More About Environment
The topic of environment is really common in IELTS nowadays and it could appear in any section of the exam. Here are some posts I have made about it:
- IELTS speaking questions about environment
- TED talk about climate change
- Reading practice on plastics
- An environmental flow chart for task 1
- Another sample essay
- Environmental vocabulary PPT
You can also read more about climate change on the NASA website.