Σάββατο, Νοέμβριος 18, 2017

Exam Resource: ECPE Essay Topics

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Garagani-Robertson Language Schools

E.C.P.E. Michigan Proficiency Notes On Writing Topics

These notes can be used as a basis for writing discursive (C2) E.C.P.E. compositions.

Αυτές οι σημειώσεις μπορούν να χρησιμοποιηθούν ως βάση για τη συγγραφή λόγου (C2) ECPE συνθέσεις.


Animal Vivisection
The practice of cutting open the bodies of living animals in order to do medical or scientific tests on them.

Pros                   
-    the importance of studying anatomy for scientific understanding (research into genetic engineering, treatment of diseases such as cancer, training of biology students and so on)
-    no viable alternative; testing on humans is both morally and ethically wrong and therefore not acceptable.
-    laboratory animals are bred for that specific purpose

Cons
-    cruelty to animals; many believe that animals have rights and therefore should not be subjected to laboratory tests
-    a lot of experiments conducted for reasons of little importance such as the testing of cosmetics

Solutions
-    control of unnecessary testing
-    advanced computer modelling could make the use of so many laboratory animals unnecessary.

Terms: guinea-pig, laboratory testing, vital research, cruelty, injustice, inhumane, animal rights


Animal Captivity
Keeping animals in zoos, circuses, or in a domestic environment.

Pros
-    zoos protect endangered species as natural habitats are being destroyed by human activity such as farming, logging, the creation of urban settlements
-    zoos have initiated breeding programmes to replenish the number of threatened species by releasing bred animals back into the wild
-    zoos allow scientific study of animals and their behaviour
-    many animals are bred in captivity, so have never known their natural habitat and thus do not suffer
-    zoos and circus represent a way by which people can see animals they would never normally have an opportunity to see in real life
-    domestic animals such as dogs and cats have been specifically bred for the purpose of providing company and comfort and are, by and large, kept well by their owners

Cons
-    zoos and especially circuses only exist as a form of entertainment; e.g. circuses train wild animals to perform tricks
-    maltreatment of animals (the poor conditions of some zoos and circuses); many zoos and circuses do not have the financial resources to maintain their animals in an appropriate manner
-    captivity is obviously not a natural state for wild animals and therefore can’t be the best thing for them

Terms: animal welfare, be kept in captivity, cages, a life behind bars, breeding programmes, to perform/carry out experiments, be under the threat of extinction, cruelty and maltreatment


Hunting Animals

To chase animals and birds in order to catch and kill them for food or sport.

Pros
-    hunting provides food, especially for tribal societies
-    source of income and useful products such as fur for clothing
-    type of sport or entertainment (e.g. fox hunts)

Cons
-    the cruelty involved when chasing and slaughtering prey
-    poaching threatened species (e.g. elephants for their ivory tusks)
-    using animal skins / furs for something as pointless as fashion accessories


Genetic Engineering
The ability to manipulate the genetic content of plants of animals to promote desired characteristics and/or suppress undesirable ones.

Pros
-    genetic research may lead to a cure for several diseases such as cancer
-    may result in the creation of replacement organs in the laboratory instead of relying on donors for organ transplants
-    allows the creation of crops that are
-     disease resistant
-     pesticide resistant (thus leading to a decrease in the use of chemical pesticides and insecticides)
-     crop abundance; increased crop yield
-     increased nutritional value of crops / increased flavour
-     more uniformity of crops to make harvesting more efficient
-    financial gains for farmers due to increased crop yields and efficiency

Cons
-    is it a case of humans ‘playing God’? there are moral and ethic issues at stake
-    manipulation of nature may have unforeseen consequences which are irreversible
-    may lead to cloning or the creation of ‘super humans’ which, as many believe, is morally and ethically wrong (who decides which genetic characteristics should be expressed? are we all to become blonde and blue-eyed?)
-    the creation of ‘super crops’ which are genetically similar and therefore actually more prone to pests, insect attack or disease
-    the nutritional value of genetically modified food may be questionable

Terms: unknown long-term consequences, the artificial manipulation of the genetic pool, genetically modified food, genetic mapping


Advertising
The promotion and endorsement of manufactured goods

Pros
-    allows/facilitates consumer choice
-    an essential part of our consumer based economy
-    offers employment opportunities
-    sponsorship of sporting activities etc.

Cons
-    leads to over production as manufacturers vie for consumer interest; waste of dwindling natural resources
-    form of manipulation in that it encourages people to buy products that they may not necessarily need; - encourages compulsive buying / shopping
-    can be misleading; many advertisements make outrageous claims about the products they promote.
-    advertising in the form of packaging of products in order to make them more appealing to prospective buys causes a huge litter / waste problem

Terms: boost sales, buy/sell at a discount, reach a wide audience, promote a product / service, present an upmarket image, raise a companies profile, become a household name, brand of washing powers, lipstick etc


Tourism
The business of providing things for people to do, places for them to stay etc while they are on holiday

Pros
-    stimulates local economies; provides jobs and generates income
-    allows people to experience different cultures and locations
-    going on holiday represents an important physiological need to break normal routine

Cons
-    the environmental cost; pollution cause by transportation, destruction of local environments and animal habitats with the construction of huge hotel complexes etc.
-    popular tourist locations are swamped by tourists which detracts from the holiday experiences (e.g. crowded beaches); local residents may also be inconvenienced
-    tourists often don’t witness any real diversity of culture but predetermined sights and attractions which have little in common with a country’s real heritage

Terms: go sightseeing, a sightseeing tour, a guided tour, visit historical / archaeological sites, influx of tourists


Urban Planning
The deliberate planning of the layout of towns and cities to alleviate some of the problems associated with urban living

-    makes with facilities and amenities (sports centres, theatres, hospitals and so on) far more accessible for residents
-    alleviate traffic jams and the difficulty of moving around and parking in crowded cities
-    zoning separates commercial and industrial areas from residential ones; thus creating a more peaceful and less polluted living environment

Terms: planning, forethought, layout, zoning, alleviation of bumper-to-bumper traffic, congested roads, urban sprawl, chaos, the hustle and bustle of city living, relief from stifling fumes, relief from noise


Nuclear Power
The use of the nuclear fusion process to create electrical energy as a viable alternative to conventional fuels.

Pros
-    nuclear energy is virtually limitless and therefore can solve the problem of ever increasing energy demands
-    its arguably the most inexpensive source of electricity
-    nuclear power plants are far cleaner than conventional fuel power plants as they don’t require the combustion of fossil fuels

Cons
-    the dire consequences of a nuclear accident such as Chernobyl (radioactivity, contamination of the local environment)
-    the creation of radio active waste such as plutonium and the problem of its disposal as it remains radioactive for thousands of years


Environmental Issues

Acid Rain:
Acid rain is caused by airborne exhaust pollutants from cars and factories which condense in clouds with water and fall as acidic rain. In extreme cases this causes deforestation.

Global Warming:
Is a general increase in world temperatures caused by increased amounts of carbon dioxide around the Earth. The gaseous carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels (esp. in the internal combustion engine, used for transportation) traps the energy of the sun’s rays in the atmosphere, resulting in a rise in global temperature. Possible long-term consequences include the melting of polar ice and the resultant flooding of low-lying coastal areas.

Fossil Fuels:
Conventional fuels such as coal or oil that is produced by the very gradual decaying of animals or plants over millions of years. Fossil fuels are an exhaustible or finite energy source and supplies are rapidly being depleted. The use of fossil fuels results in pollution, particularly the alarming increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which threatens global warming.

Alternative Energy Sources:
Renewable energy sources such as wind power (wind turbines, wind mills), tidal and wave power (floating platforms), solar power (solar panels), geothermal power (underground pipes), and hydroelectric power (hydroelectric dams and power stations) are possible solutions to the problem of rapidly depleting fossil fuels. Their main advantages are that they are insexhaustible and pollution free energy sources. However, currently, with the exception of hydroelectric power (using falling water to drive turbines in order to create electricity), most of these technologies are less efficient and therefore far more expensive than traditional energy producing alternatives. Additionally, solar and wind power may not be suitable in many areas as they are climate dependant – it’s difficult to generate electricity if there is no wind or sun!

Industrial Waste:
Manufacturing processes that have created an increased standard of living, especially in developed countries, cause both airborne pollution and industrial waste. Toxic chemicals become part of the food chain and are eventually consumed by people, resulting in adverse health effects.

Depletion of the Ozone Layer:
The ozone layer, which is in the upper atmosphere, serves as natural protection from harmful UV (Ultra Violet) radiation from the sun. CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), which are gases used in fridges and aerosol cans, are responsible for damaging the ozone layer. Thus, animals and plants are becoming increasingly exposed to damaging UV rays. This, in turn, may lead to increased mutation in living organisms and an increased incidence of skin cancer in humans.

Fuel Cells:
Fuel cells are a promising alternative to vehicles with petrol or diesel internal combustion engines. Liquid hydrogen is combined with oxygen extracted from the air to produce energy to power an electric motor which propels the vehicle. The main advantages is that there are zero emissions as normal, harmless water is the by-product of the chemical reaction.

Rubbish Disposal:
The disposal of rubbish is an on going problem. Current solutions include dumping rubbish at sea, dumping it in landfill sites or incinerating it. Each method has serious environmental consequences.

Landfill Sites:
Toxic residues from industrial effluence and domestic rubbish seep into the ground water under landfill sights and is carried away to agricultural areas. It, therefore, becomes a part of the food chain. Residue also makes its way to the sea, polluting water and effecting the marine ecosystem.

Incineration:
The burning of rubbish produces large amounts of carbon dioxide, thus adding to the global warming problem. Additionally, harmful toxins may be released into the air by this process and cause environmental damage including deforestation.

Logging:
Incessant logging and the wholesale destruction of the world’s forests has dire effects. When trees are removed, the topsoil (the upper level of soil in which most plants have their roots) is wasted away by rain, thus plants can not re-establish themselves and forests cannot be rejuvenated. This may result in mudslides, the creation of barren, infertile land, and the depletion of atmospheric oxygen.

Technology
Knowledge about scientific or industrial methods or the use of these methods - machinery and equipment used or developed as a result of this knowledge.

Pros
-    improves comfort and standard of living from housing to the ability to keep food cold in refrigerators)
-    makes communication easier; global reach
-    technology is the foundation stone of our economy
-    medical care and longevity
-    allows scientific research and consequent advancement of human knowledge (e.g. space exploration etc)

Cons
-    industrialisation has caused pollution
-    the misuse of technology to make conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons


Computers
An electronic machine that can store information and do things with it according to a set of instructions called a program.

Pros
-    make work processes faster and far more efficient; who uses a typewriter to write a letter anymore?
-    store vast amounts of information in the form of digital data; far more efficient method of storage as it is space saving (an entire encyclopaedia can be stored on a single DVD-ROM, even more on Blueray) and easier to access material (computer search engines)
-    computers are an important educational tool for both students and researchers alike
-    allow and encourage the free exchange of information on a global basis; the dissemination of news and opinion via the internet

Cons
-    people become too dependant on computers; e.g. the use of calculators to work out even the simplest mathematical sums / use of spell-checkers in word processing programs.
-    the internet has become a forum for illicit material including pornography, advice on how to construct explosive devices at home and so on
-    computers can be overused, even addictive (e.g. computer games) and normal communication between friends and family can suffer

Internet Shopping
Using the internet to browse and shop for products, rather than going to regular stores on the High Street.

Pros
-    0n-line shopping quick and easy – all done with a simple click of a mouse. Can be done from anywhere with an internet connection at any time (24/7)
-    Vast array of products, including those from other countries, are made readily available
-    Search engines make finding and
comparing prices for products easy

Cons
-    Deceptively easy to shop and websites attractive and encourage spending. This can lead to over-spending (and even addiction)
-    Delivery charges and/or shipping insurance often apply, making products more expensive than they seem to be
-    Delivery can be slow and sometimes unreliable. Risk of products lost during shipment.
-    Credit card fraud risk


Crime & Punishment
Retribution for illegal, and illicit activities.

Purpose of Prison
-    punishment for the crime committed
-    isolate dangerous individuals from the rest of society
-    re-educate and rehabilitate criminals
-    act as a deterrent to would-be criminals

Solutions to the Crime Problem
-    having more police patrols and officers on the beat to deter criminal activity
-    improving education and social services for everyone in society
-    imposing harsher punishments
-    installing CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras in public places which act as a deterrent
-    establishing better rehabilitation systems for reforming offenders
-    setting up neighbourhood watch schemes (where neighbours have a proactive role in detecting crime in local areas)

Terms: prohibited, illegal, restricted, under age, accuse of, stand trial for, convicted of, sentenced to, police brutality, the criminal justice system, burglary, arson, assault, fraud, drug trafficking, shoplifting, murder, manslaughter, effective deterrents, community service, lenient punishments, harsh punishments, capital punishment, corporal (physical) punishment etc.

Euthanasia
The painless killing of people who are very ill or very old in order to stop them suffering: mercy killing.

Pros
-    when a terminally-ill patient is suffering unbearably, it is more compassionate to agree to the request for a quick end
-    it can be argued that everyone has the right to control the destiny of his or her life
-    relief for family and friends who witness suffering

Cons
-    relatives often put pressure of depressed or financially-dependant people to accept euthanasia
-    if pain and depression are adequately treated in a dying person, the desire to commit suicide disappears
-    it is difficult to define the term ‘terminally-ill’ – some people who have been diagnosed as such have lived on for years
-    there is always the possibility of a cure, however slim


Longevity
Lengthening the natural term of a person’s life.

Pros
-    no-one wants to die and medical science should be used to delay death
-    would allow individuals to achieve more during their lives (e.g. if Einstein had lived longer, he may have contributed even more to human knowledge)
-    would allow grandparents to experience their grandchildren become mature, middle-aged adults

Cons
-    old people would become a burden; an ageing population will depend more on youth to support them both financially and emotionally (just because you live longer, doesn’t mean that your health and general abilities will not diminish with age)
-    it could be argued that the replacement of people with succeeding generations is a natural process and longevity would upset this balance. Longevity would certainly increase the world’s population at any given time and would therefore place a heavier burden already dwindling natural resources.

Plastic Surgery:
The medical practice of changing the appearance of people's faces or bodies, either to improve their appearance or to repair injuries.

Pros
-    appearance and self-image very important for people, probably for psychological reasons; leads to more self confidence and self-esteem
-    is there anything wrong with trying to improve on nature?
-    re-constructive surgery for car accident victims or people who are born with abnormalities is justifiable

Cons
-    many operations only for the sake of vanity or self-image
-    debasement or misuse of medical technology; the medical establishment should be focused on more serious problems and afflictions

Terms: cosmetic surgery, plastic surgeon, a nose job / facial reconstruction

Stereotypes
A fixed idea or image of what a particular type of person or thing is like.

-    generalisation; not all stereotypes are accurate; racial stereo types are particularly inaccurate (i.e. not all Germans are cool and efficient, not all Italians are warm and friendly)
-    stereotypes are often discriminatory; should all women be housewives?
-    stereotypes result in stigmatisation (to be treated by society as if you should be ashamed of your situation or actions)

Authority
The power you have because of your official position or because people respect your knowledge and experience.

-    those in authority may abuse the power they wield
-    corruption in government circles (bribery)
-    nepotism (treating family (and friends) with favouritism)
-    unfair treatment and/or persecution of minority groups; e.g. police brutality

Discrimination
The practice of treating one particular group in society in an unfair way because they are not seen as fitting into the mould.

Types:
-    gender discrimination; the inequality of the sexes; stigmatisation and expected roles
-    class and wealth discrimination; impoverished people are not treated with the same respect as the rich and powerful
-    age discrimination; old people treated unfairly by younger members of society
-    racial discrimination; different racial groups being treated as second-class citizens in a multi-cultural society
-    religious discrimination; people being intolerant of the religious beliefs of others, even to the extent of persecution
-    the discrimination towards mentally or physically handicapped people; unfair treatment towards intellectually challenged people or those with physical impediments or disabilities.


Globalisation
Manufacturing including and affecting the whole world.

Pros:
-    Decreases manufacturing costs as multinational companies establish factories in countries such as Taiwan and China which have low labour costs.

-    Lower manufacturing costs increase profits for companies; that is their bottom line but also decreases the costs to the consumer (resulting in an increased standard of living) due to increased manufacturing volume and competition.

Cons:
-    While manufacturing in Asian countries stimulates local economies, it robs countries such as America and Germany of employment in the production sector.

-    Globalisation results in a loss of local culture and traditions as products and the behaviour associated with the use of such products become truly global.


Addictions
Unable to stop taking a harmful substances, especially a drug / Liking to do or have something so much you do not want to stop

-    Addiction comes in many forms; drug addition, alcoholism, chain smoking, compulsive gambling, uncontrolled computer gaming etc.

-    Obviously, many forms of addiction have detrimental effects on health. They can also have physiological and social effects; alcoholics and gamblers become unreliable and ineffective at work. They may also not be able to contribute to the needs of their families and therefore become both a burden to both their relatives and society as a whole.


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