Archive | December 2013

WEP 121213

Click on the image to download this week’s Weekly English Practice from English Coaching Projects.

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The “Social Supermarket”

Where can poor people afford the best food?

Look at this vocabulary before you listen to and read the article:

to throw away: to put in the rubbish (garbage/trash)

bargain: something sold cheaply

toiletries: soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc

left over: that which is not used; remains

brand: a trade or business name

to put money in the meter:  to pay bills

soul:  a person’s emotions

stock: goods or merchandise

hub:  a centre of activity

to peruse: to look at something carefully

to afford: to have enough money to buy

The Nescafe Azera Coffee should have sold in a supermarket for £3.29, however, a manufacturing error meant that instead of the advertised 60g, its contents only weighed 59g. Normally, the powder would have been thrown away. Today, however, it was being offered for sale at Britain’s first social supermarket at the bargain price of just 99p.

It was a similar story for the undamaged but undelivered toiletries returned to the Ocado depot, the incorrectly packaged Muller yogurts or the Asda Gruesome Gooballs left over from Halloween. Despite being perfectly in date and among some of the country’s most popular brands, they were on sale in Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire today, among produce 70 per cent cheaper than in normal shops.

“We have shoppers here who are young mums who have two jobs to fit around childcare and school,” said Sarah Dunwell, project leader at Community Shop, an organisation which plans to open 20 social supermarkets by Easter next year, including six in London.

“There are so many people making hard decisions about putting money in the meter or food in their children’s lunchbox – families feeding the kids but who can’t eat that night themselves. When this happens day after day, it is soul destroying,” she added.

Community Shop is a subsidiary of Company Shop, the UK’s biggest distributor of surplus food and goods, and has the backing of some of the biggest players in the food industry who provide stock at no or low profit to the social enterprise.

Some 500 members have signed up to the scheme in Goldthorpe, which is set to develop a community hub, café and cook school next year. George Copley, 75, a former miner was perusing the Rwandan tea bags with curiosity. “There’s been nothing here since the day the pit closed (1994). You have to pick and choose what you buy because there is still the water bill and the electricity to pay,” he added. Susan Liversidge, 53, who has been unemployed for the past three years, said she had just £30 a week to spend on food.

“There are some really nice brands that I wouldn’t normally be able to afford. It is really good quality at a cheap price. It means I might have a bit of money left over to buy a gift for someone or invite a friend over for a meal which I haven’t been able to do before,” she said.

Something to chat about

  • Why do you think the “Social Supermarket is a good/bad idea?
  • Would this work in your country?
  • Why/Why not?
  • Would you pay to become a member?
  • If so, how much would you pay?
  • What other similar schemes do you know of? How do they work?

 

This story was adapted from:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/introducing-the-social-supermarket-where-even-britains-poorest-people-can-afford-the-finest-food-8993723.html

 

iLook iThink iSpeak – express yourself better!

(Click on the image to download it and see the pictures)

WEP 121213 iLiTiS

 

What are the best ways to save money?

Look at the different pictures.

Think about the best ways you know of saving money. What do you do to avoid spending too much?

Talk about the difference between the rich and poor people in your society. How different are their lifestyles?

Discuss any ideas that you have about reducing the inequality gap between the rich and poor.

Write it all in an email to your ECP coach (and record your voice!).

WEP 051213

Click on the image to download this week’s Weekly English Practice from English Coaching Projects.

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Potato Power!! Can Spuds Light Your Life

One potato can power LED lamps for a room for 40 days

Look at this vocabulary before you listen to and read the article:

to be cut off: to be disconnected

electricity grid: the network of cables that distributes electricity

spud: a colloquial term for potato

to claim: to assert that something is true

to twitch: short, convulsive movements

to boil: to cook in water at 100 degrees

thus: as a result or consequence

to store: to accumulate for future use

to lack: to not have

to deplete: to use up (consume/finish) the supplies or resources of something

 

Reasearchers based at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are pushing the idea of “potato power” to deliver energy to people cut off from electricity grids. Just put a couple of cheap metal plates and some wires into a spud, and you can provide lighting to remote towns and villages around the world, they claim. A single potato can power enough LED lamps for a room for 40 days,” says lead reasearcher Haim Rabinowitch.

To make a battery from organic material, all you need is two metals – typically zinc and copper. The acid inside the potato forms a chemical reaction with the zinc and copper, and when the electrons flow from one material to another, energy is released. This was discovered by Luigi Galvani in 1780 when he connected two metals to the legs of a frog, causing its muscles to twitch.

In 2010, Rabinowitch decided to investigate the potential of potatoes. His team found that if you boil potatoes for eight minutes, the organic tissues are broken down, reducing resistance and thus producing more energy. Enough to charge mobile phones or laptops in places where there is no power connection.

A single boiled potato battery with zinc and copper electrodes generates portable energy at about $9 per kilowatt hour, which is 50 times cheaper than a typical 1.5 volt AA alkaline battery and an estimated six times cheaper than standard kerosene lamps used in the developing world.

So why isn’t the potato battery already a success?

In 2010, the world produced 324,181,889 tonnes of potatoes. They are cheap, store easily, and last for a long time. With 1.2 billion people in the world lacking access to  electricity, a simple potato could be the answer. “We thought qorganisations would be interested,” says Rabinowitch. But it’s not that simple.

First, there’s the issue of using food for energy. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), says that using food for energy – like sugar cane for biofuels – must avoid depleting food stocks and competing with farmers.

And there is a second problem: consumer perception of potatoes. Compared with modern technologies like solar power, potatoes are simply not cool. People buy their products for more reasons than efficiency and price. There is a status value too. Basically, some people don’t think a potato battery will impress the neighbors.

Something to chat about

  • Did you ever do any experiments with food or animals at school?
  • Would you use a potato to charge your phone if you could make a ‘potato battery’ at home?
  • Should we use food to produce energy for cars, telephones and other devices?
  • How could we reduce our energy consumption at home and at work?

 

This story was adapted from:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20131112-potato-power-to-light-the-world

iLook iThink iSpeak – express yourself better!

(Click on the image to download it and see the pictures)

WEP 051213 iLiTiS

Producing energy

Look at pictures 1 and 2. Describe how energy is being produced. What advantages and disadvantages do these forms of energy production have?

Think about other forms of energy production. Are they harmful to the environment? Discuss what you believe are the best forms of energy production for the future.

Using (or wasting) energy

Look at pictures 3, 4 and 5). Describe what energy is being used for. Is it being wasted or is it being used in a beneficial way?

Discuss how energy is used around your city. Could it be used better? What would you change?

Write it all in an email to your ECP coach (and record your voice!).

WEP 281113

Click on the image to download this week’s Weekly English Practice from English Coaching Projects.

WEP 281113 Cover

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