Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 2.7.3 Environmental Impact Assessment

Difficulty: 0

welcome again today we continue to stay on track towards the completion

of the IB Environmental systems and societies syllabus

topic two point seven

point three

describe and evaluate the use of environmental

impact assessments

pristine climax


nestled in the mountains a developing society

needing a source of energy

the question

should a rich coal deposit

in these hills

be exploited

at the expense

of the rich

and diverse

climax forest

do you think that

it's worth

clearing some of the forest

to develop

and what are some reasons

for your perspective

the government

of this area however


to this principle

sustainable development

development to meet the needs of the present generation

without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs

the classic

balancing act between

having some development

and having some environmental protection though it is with

sustainable development

as the goal

that we have





an EIA

is a method

of detailed survey

required in many countries before

a major development ideally it should be independent of but paid for by the


such as survey

should include a baseline study

a measure of environmental conditions

before development commences

and to identify areas and species of conservation importance

the report produced

like the one below

is known environmental

impact assessment

or sometimes as an environmental impact or an EIS

the monitoring of this

should continue

for some time

after the development

and as you can see here

an EIA is

a very extensive document

sometimes taking

over two years to prepare

or sometimes being prepared hastily

after the developments already begun

it depends on the conditions and the levels of transparency and integrity

within each administration

but in general

an EIA is a comprehensive document

prepared by a team of experts so back to our question

should we exploit this

pristine climax forest

the administration that runs this region

have decided to

focus on sustainable development they have decided to

conduct an environmental impact assessment

it's not that EIA is required for every project

but if a project meets certain criteria it's necessary to

investigate the environmental impacts

in a bit more detail

and suggest alternatives

and to examine ways of


as much as possible

the impacts while allowing the project to proceed or perhaps not even a lot of

the project to proceed

this initial

phase of

looking at what the project entails

the scale of it

and deciding

whether or not a full

environmental impact assessment is required

it's what we call screening

where the laws of the country will decide

what scale project


a full environmental impact assessment

in most countries with EIA

a project

of the scale shown here in this map

with these

two peaks representing our mountains and all of this area here

the pristine climax forest


a railway line for

connecting town a to town b

where you will have coal mining

a project of this scale

is likely to qualify for full environmental impact assessment

and what follows from this is

a phase of the process referred to as scoping

a very relevant phase for

the environmental systems and societies


because it

involves a

coming together

of stakeholders from all areas

to identify the issues

and as you can see here this involves

a range

of groups that have to come together

to share their expertise and their ideas

as we focus in

on some of the special areas of concern

the scoping this followed by a

collection of the baseline data

where is the environment right now?

and where has it been going for the last few years what are some trends?

and now that the project is being proposed

what are some likely changes or impacts

with option a maybe

or with option b_

or with option c

what would be the business as usual or the trend

assuming that no project is


this point of


what would happen in the future


another kind of input

but it's very important

to document where things are

before we look at predicting where things might go in the future

this process of documenting

the current state of the environment

the pre development state of the environment

is referred to as the baseline data collection

following this

through expert input of all kinds

impacts are predicted

possible alternatives are discussed and

ways to reduce the impact

are considered

what then are some tools available

for the prediction

off the impact of this

railway line

from a to b

for the purpose of exploiting coal

in this pristine

forest its first necessary

to document the current state of the environment

and perhaps

this state

has already been documented

perhaps we already have some data of (about) the kind of


and the diversity

and the populations of different species that live in this area

and perhaps

if there are any man made things like gas lines and utility lines running through

this area underground

if there is a river running through the area and

documenting and bringing together


on the present state of the environment is what we call

that baseline data collection

in years gone by

it was necessary to overlay several maps from different sources

to bring together a composite picture

of the environment but

in the modern age of computer technology

information from different sources

about a particular area

can all be lumped together

in what we term the geographic information system

the g_i_s_

and this is a bringing together

a composite

of everything that we know about an area

so that

environmental managers can quickly


the information that's already there and available

about the area

added to this of course is the power of satellite imagery

which can give us

high quality resolution images of

all areas of the earth

this however

does not mean that

we would not go out into the field and actually verify some of this

for (because) ground verification

is always good way to go

and then of course there is the need to include

expert knowledge

and knowledged of similar projects

that had EIA's completed (and)

were audited or reflected upon

to see what


impacts did happen

versus what impacts for predicted (birds chirping)

if we proceed with the project

and we decided to

allow our railway line to go through the


climax forest

then we need to get onto the field and collect

some baseline data

so what tools have we considered so far in our course

that we might (can) use

to help us collect

some information

on the diversity of

of the plants and animals in this area

perhaps we might need to do a count of

the number of bird species and the number of nests that are going to be

disrupted throughout the length of the railway line

the number of trees that would (will) have to be cut down

the species of these tees

what other kinds of wildlife would be affected and how

what would be the level of noise in the area

so there are a whole range of impacts to be considered some which may involve

social issues and not just issues of

endangered species and wildlife

some which may involve engineering issues

and with all of these issues in mind

we decide whether or not the project should

go forward

and if and when the project does proceed

then we need to monitor

and monitoring should happen once approval is given

it should continue throughout the project

for there are certain mitigation measures that might have been

proposed in the EIA

and it's important for

some independent regulatory body

to visit

the construction site

to ensure that

what might be written

in the EIA report

is actually carried out in reality

for instance

if there are certain

special hours for the construction to proceed

and special periods of the year designated for construction to proceed

then it's important that some

regulatory body

visits the

construction company

to insure that what was proposed in the EIA report

is translated into reality in the actual construction (sound of a train coming)

finally the railway is complete

and now

monitoring must continue

monitoring is very important now because

all of the experts and all of the input and all of the effort that went into

making a prediction

now's the time for us to be actually test

and to collect data

to decide

whether or not

our predictions

held true

for we can go out into the field over the next

five years ten years as the coal mine is explored

firsthand information

on what was the environmental impact

of building ths railway line to exploit coal

carrying out a post

development audit

a very very important part of the EIA because it is the

part where we actually learn something at the very end

something that could be used in other EIA's for the data that we

collect in the post development audit

to make any sense

it's just as important for the

baseline data

to have been collected so we would have a knowledge of what was there

pre project

so that if there's a change

post project

we would be able to tell what the

impact was documented here for you

all of the phases

of the EIA process

it's important to note that not every project requires an EIA

evaluate the use of environmental impact assessments

ecocentrists reject EIA as corrupt and designed to gloss over

abuse of the environment technocentrists see EIA as a waste of resources

and they point to the use of advanced technologies to address all possible

issues arising out of a project from pollution

to species loss imagine that you are an environmental manager in charge of the

public meeting

the scoping phase of an EIA

i want you to identify some points that you would highlight

to address both the ecocentrist and

technocentrist concerns

The Description of 2.7.3 Environmental Impact Assessment