2nd Bach – “Selectividad” Text (Solved) PAAU Modelo dun exame escrito: Read the text and the instructions to the questions very carefully. Answer all the questions in English.
Jared Diamond’s Collapse takes readers through a history of societies that overtook their ecological limits, and collapsed as a result. The most famous example is that of Easter Island, famed for its sombre giant stone statues – moai. It is not certain, but the moai appear to have been built as part of status competition between the various tribes on the island, with bigger moai demonstrating greater power. The early seventeenth century was probably the pinnacle of Easter Island culture, the time the biggest moai were being built, an echo of the skyscrapers going up across the world from Canary Wharf to Kuala Lumpur. However, moai construction consumed a lot of resources, particularly wood, for transport and energy. By 1650, the last tree had been felled. By the time Europeans arrived on the island’s shores in 1722, the number of Easter Islanders had fallen dramatically, and they had been reduced to wars and cannibalism. Easter Island reminds us of the danger of only measuring human economic progress, and excluding factors affecting sustainability. In the first half of the seventeenth century, says the archaeological evidence, quality of life in Easter Island may have been at its highest ever. If Easter Islanders had measured well-being, they would have seen increasing life expectancy and life satisfaction. Despite that, or rather because of it, disaster was just around the corner. It appears that nobody on Easter Island was measuring their environmental impact.
1. Write a summary of the text in English, including the most important points, using your own words whenever possible (1 point). From my point of view, the title that Jared Diamond chose for his book, Collapse, could also be the key word to summarize this text. In fact, it deals with the idea that societies that only care for a certain kind of progress, based on competitiveness, on the destruction of the environment, will finally collapse. This is what happened to the Easter Islanders in the 17th century. They didn’t realize that by destroying their natural
resources they were also putting an end to their own lives. This is a lesson that we, inhabitants of planet Earth in the 21st century, still have to learn. 2. Find words or phrases in the text that correspond in meaning to the words and definitions given here (1 point, 0,25 each): a) showing – demonstrating: “with bigger Moai showing/demonstrating greater power.” b) well-known – famed: “Well-known/ famed for its sombre giant stone statues.” c) reached – arrived (on) : “By the time Europeans arrived on / reached the island’s shores...” d) seems – appears : “ It seems/ appears that nobody on Easter Island....” 3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one . (2 points; 0.5 each) a) The moai appear to have been built as part of status competition. It appears … b) Moai construction consumed a lot of resources. A lot of … c) Their society was particularly vulnerable, being separated by over 2000km from the next inhabited island. Because the … d) The nearest other island is 40 million kilometers away from the Earth. The distance … a) It appears that the Moai were built as part of status competition. b) A lot of resources were consumed by Moai construction. c) Because the next inhabited island was over 2,000 Km away, their society was particularly vulnerable. d) The distance from the nearest other island to the Earth is 40 million Kilometers.
4. Answer the following questions in your own words. (2 points; 1 point each) a) Why did Easter Island society collapse? According to the text, Easter Island society collapsed because the impact which the construction of the Moai had on the environment (among other factors) was too harmful. A lot of resources, mainly wood, were consumed and when nature, which is what we “feed” on, is destroyed, human life is impossible. b) What lessons can the world learn from what happened to Easter Island? There is an obvious lesson to be learnt from what happened to the Eastern Islanders: our lifestyle cannot be just based on economic progress, regardless of how this kind of progress may damage our world. Obviously, progress is important, but the sustainability
of our planet must be taken into account.
5) How could you and your family save energy? (approximately 120 words; 3 points) There are a lot of measures that my family and I can take in order to save as much energy as possible. Recycling is important. In fact, in my house we have four different litter bins, one for paper, one for plastic, another one for glass and the last one for organic substances. In addition, we tend to walk or ride a bike to work instead of travelling by car and unless it is too cold we usually wear thick jumpers at home so as to avoid turning on the heaters. It may sound a bit stingy, but it is not a question of saving money, we do it to protect the environment. Finally, we try to spend just the water we need, so we have showers instead of baths and we turn off the tap while we are rubbing the dishes with soap, for example. I know it is not much but if we all do a little every day, our planet will benefit from those small efforts.