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Oil, Water, and the Future

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Oil plays an important role in the world. It powers every aspect of everyday life, from trains, planes, and cars; to industry; to the farms which supply our food at the supermarket. It fuels war, too. Only a few people believed that the war in Iraq was primarily about terrorism. In reality, the main priority focuses on the control of oil. And it's going to get worse.

Nations have already begun to ensure a steady supply of oil in the future. Canada has built bases in the Arctic, because global warming will open up drilling opportunities in the polar regions. China has invested a lot of money in African countries such as Angola, because they want to obtain rights to drill there. They've also increased the development of their navy to protect oil interests in the South China Sea and elsewhere. Europe heavily depends on an increasingly strong and vocal Russia. America tolerates leaders, countries, and policies with which it disagrees.

Global warming has worsened the situation. As climate change becomes increasingly severe, it will affect food and water supplies. At present, many of China's cities face water shortages, for example. In addition, deserts in the west of China are rapidly growing, and farmland is shrinking. The same has begun to happen in other places around the globe, and scientists grow more and more worried. Water could become a non-renewable resource like oil. If so, then countries will need even more oil to guarantee food and water for their citizens.

It's important to note that many countries chased oil in the years before World War I. Alliances were formed to protect interests around the world, and this led to the start of the Great War. As vital oil and water become scarcer in the 21st century, there can be only one result: conflict.


Preview some of the lesson material:

Speculate: Write in the missing word for today's article title: "Oil, (                         ), and the Future." Why did you choose this word for the blank?

Fill in the Blanks: Fill in the blank with the correct word.

  1. Oil powers every (                         ) of everyday life, from trains, planes, and cars, to industry.
  2. The main (                         ) focuses on the control of oil.
  3. Nations have already begun to (                         ) a steady supply of oil in the future.
  4. China has invested a lot of money in Africa, because they want to (                         ) rights to drill there.
  5. America (                         ) leaders, countries, and policies with which it disagrees.
  6. As climate change becomes increasingly (                         ), it will affect food and water supplies.
  7. Water could become a non-(                         ) resource like oil.
  8. (                         ) were formed to protect interests around the world, and this led to the start of the Great War.
  9. Oil and water are (                         ).
  10. As oil and water become (                         ) in the 21st century, there can be only one result: conflict.

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. What do you think about our need for oil? Is it good or bad? Why do you think so?
  2. The article suggests that the war in Iraq was really about oil. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  3. What can people do to prevent the grim future predicted in the article? Can you do anything?
  4. What do you do to help the environment?
  5. What do you think about the future? Will life be better or worse in 100 years? Why do you think so?

Google Search: Type "oil crisis" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.


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