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《考研英语阅读理解100篇 基础版》第2章 社会文化类 Unit 22

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2019年01月08日

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The idea that shopping is the new politics is certainly seductive.You probably go shopping several times a month,providing yourself with lots of opportunities to express your opinions.If you are worried about the environment,you might buy organic food; if you want to help poor farmers,you can do your bit by buying Fairtrade products; or you can express a dislike of evil multinational companies and rampant globalisation by buying only local produce.Sadly,it's not that easy.There are good reasons to doubt the claims made about three of the most popular varieties of“ethical” food: organic food,Fairtrade food and local food.People who want to make the world a better place cannot do so by shifting their shopping habits: transforming the planet requires duller disciplines,like politics. 
Organic food,which is grown without man-made pesticides and fertilisers,is generally assumed to be more environmentally friendly than conventional intensive farming.However,farming is inherently bad for the environment: since humans took it up around 11,000 years ago,the result has been deforestation on a massive scale.But following the“green revolution” of the 1960s greater use of chemical fertiliser has tripled grain yields with very little increase in the area of land under cultivation.Organic methods,which rely on crop rotation,manure and compost in place of fertiliser,are far less intensive.So producing the world's current agricultural output organically would require several times as much land as is currently cultivated.There wouldn’t be much room left for the rainforest. 
Fairtrade food is designed to raise poor farmers’ incomes.It is sold at a higher price than ordinary food,with a subsidy passed back to the farmer.But prices of agricultural commodities are low because of overproduction.By propping up the price,the Fairtrade system encourages farmers to produce more of these commodities rather than diversifying into other crops and so depresses prices—thus achieving,for most farmers,exactly the opposite of what the initiative is intended to do. And since only a small fraction of the mark-up on Fairtrade foods actually goes to the farmer—most goes to the retailer—the system gives rich consumers an inflated impression of their largesse and makes alleviating poverty seem too easy. 
Surely the case for local food,produced as close as possible to the consumer in order to minimise“food miles” and,by extension,carbon emissions,is clear? Surprisingly,it is not.A study of Britain's food system found that nearly half of food-vehicle miles(ie,miles travelled by vehicles carrying food)were driven by cars going to and from the shops.Most people live closer to a supermarket than a farmer's market,so more local food could mean more food-vehicle miles.Moving food around in big,carefully packed lorries,as supermarkets do,may in fact be the most efficient way to transport the stuff. 
What's more,once the energy used in production as well as transport is taken into account,local food may turn out to be even less green.Producing lamb in New Zealand and shipping it to Britain uses less energy than producing British lamb,because farming in New Zealand is less energy-intensive.And since the local-food movement looks suspiciously like old-fashioned protectionism masquerading as concern for the environment,helping poor countries is presumably not the point. 
注(1):本文选自Economist; 
注(2):本文习题命题模仿对象:第1题模仿2006年真题Text 1第5题;第2题模仿2011年真题Text 2第2题;第3题模仿2010年真题Text 2第2题;第4~5题分别模仿2013年真题Text 2第5题和2015年真题Text 4第2题。 
1.In the author's eyes,the view of seeing shopping as a political event is _______. 
A) very helpful 
B) not practical 
C) sheer nonsense 
D) quite harmful 
2.According to the author,what may be the chief reason for the disadvantage of organic food? 
A) It cannot yield enough food. 
B) It is involved with some kind of political event. 
C) It is directly responsible for the global deforestation. 
D) It is not necessarily environment-friendly. 
3.Which of the following is TRUE according to the author? 
A) Most benefit from fair-trade food goes to farmers since it is them who decide to raise the price. 
B) Fairtrade food encourages farmers to increase the diversity of their produces. 
C) Fairtrade food fails to fulfill its original design because farmers are deprived of most of the profit. 
D) Fairtrade food can effectively involve consumers to the effort of poverty alleviation. 
4.The author's attitude towards the issue of local food seems to be _______. 
A) approving 
B) objective 
C) indifferent 
D) ironic 
5.It could be inferred from the text that _______. 
A) local food might increase,instead of decrease,carbon emissions 
B) Fairtrade food can encourage people to be more generous and concerned about the farmers 
C) organic food is supposed to be produced in areas that are currently covered by tropical rainforests 
D) local food is,in fact,the disguise of the traditional sense of trade protectionism 

有人把购物看成是一种新的政治活动,这种观点的确很有吸引力。你每个月可能都得购物好几次,因此你也就有了很多机会表达你的见解。如果为环境问题感到担忧,你也许会购买有机食品;如果希望帮助贫困农民,你可以通过购买公平贸易食品来尽绵薄之力;抑或,如果想对邪恶的跨国公司和猖獗的全球化表示反感,你就可以购买本地食品。可惜事情并不是那么简单。我们有充分的理由怀疑有关这三种最受欢迎的“道德食品”的主张。人们希望让世界变得更加美好,但要实现这个愿望,仅仅依靠改变购物习惯是不可能的——改变世界还是要靠比较乏味的方式,比如政治。 
由于有机食品生产过程中不使用人造杀虫剂和肥料,因此人们一般都想当然地认为有机食品的环保性比传统的集约型农业更为明显。不过,农业在本质上就是人类的一项破坏环境的活动:自从约11000年前人类开始从事农业以来,一直都在对森林进行大规模的破坏。但是随着20世纪60年代“绿色革命”的到来,化学肥料的大量使用使得粮食产量增至3倍,而耕地面积并没有增加多少。有机生产方式不使用化学肥料,主要依靠轮作、粪肥和混合肥,并不是集约型生产。因此,如果目前全球农业总产量都靠有机生产方式进行的话,那么所需耕地面积将是现有面积的数倍之多。这样一来,热带雨林也不会剩多少了。 
公平贸易食品旨在提高贫困农民的收入。其售价比一般食品高,而其中部分差价则作为补贴发还给农民。但农产品低廉的价格是因为生产过剩的原因。通过提高价格,公平贸易体系鼓励农民生产更多的“公平贸易产品”,而不是生产多样性的农产品,因此导致价格下跌——这样一来,对于大多数农民来说,最终的结果正与他们的预期相反。此外,由于价格差价的部分只有少部分归农民所有——大部分都被零售商赚走了——这种体系会让有钱的消费者产生自己颇为慷慨大方的印象,而且让人们觉得减少贫困似乎是轻而易举的任务。 
本地食品是指在距离消费者尽可能近的地方生产食品,从而最大限度地缩短了“食品里程”并减小了二氧化碳的释放。那么本地食品的优点可信么?令人惊讶的是,事实并非如此。一项针对英国食品制度的研究发现,“食品运输里程”(即运送食品的车辆行驶里程)有近一半是由送货到商店及买东西后出商店的车子所行驶的。大多数人住的地方离超市较近,而距离农贸市场比较远,因此本地食品越多,可能就意味着“食品运输里程”越长。只有像超市一样用包裹得严严实实的大货车运送食品也许才是最为高效的运货方式。 
此外,如果把生产中使用的能源和运输两个因素都考虑进来的话,本地食品也许没有那么环保。由于新西兰农业的能源使用不太密集,因此在新西兰生产羊肉然后把它运到英国这一过程所消耗的能源要比直接在英国生产羊肉要少。况且,本地食品运动看起来更像是传统贸易保护主义一种以关注环保为掩饰的形式,其重点似乎并不在于帮助穷国的发展。 
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