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考研网校复习专区英语阅读二:生物与环境平衡的危机

考研教育网   2006-06-12 13:28 【 】【我要纠错

  The history of life on earth has been a history of interaction between living things and their surroundings. To a large extent,the physical form and the habits of the earth''s vegetation and its animal life have been molded by the environment. Considering the whole span of earthly time,the opposite effect,in which life actually modifies its surroundings,has been relatively slight. Only in the present century has one species man acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.

  During the past quarter century this power has not only become increasingly great but it has changed in character. The most alarming of all man''s assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air,earth,rivers,and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable. In this now universal contamination of the environment,chemicals are the sinister partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world the very nature of its life. Chemicals sprayed on croplands or forests or gardens lie long in soil,entering into living organisms,passing from one to another in a chain of poisoning and death. Or they pass mysteriously by underground streams until they emerge and combine into new forms that kill vegetation,sicken cattle,and work unknown harm on those who drink from once pure wells. “Man can hardly even recognize the devils of his own creation,” as a scientist has said.

  It took hundreds of millions of years to produce the life that now inhabits the earth. Given time not in years but in millennia life adjusts,and a balance has been reached. But in the modern world there is no time.

  The rapidity of change follows the impetuous pace of man rather than the deliberate pace of nature. Radiation is now the unnatural creation of man''s tampering with the atom. The chemicals are the synthetic creations of man’s inventive mind,having no counterparts in nature.

  To adjust to these chemicals would require not merely the years of a man''s life but the life of generations. And even this,were it by some miracle possible,would be futile,for the new chemicals come from our laboratories in an endless stream; almost five hundred annually find their way into actual use in the United States alone. Among them are many that are used in man’s war against nature. Since the mid 1940''s over 200 basic chemicals have been created for use in killing insects,weeds,and other organisms described as “pests.”

  译文:

  地球上生命的历史一直就是一部生物与其环境相互作用的历史。在很大程度上,地球上动植物的形态以及习性都是由外部环境所塑造的。考虑到地球上生命存在的整个时间,相反作用,即生命对其周围环境的实际改变作用,却相对很小。只有在当前这个世纪(指20世纪)才有一个物种——人类,获得了强大的力量,改变了其所生存的世界的自然状态。

  在过去的1/4世纪中,这种力量不仅日趋强大,而且其性质也发生了变化。在人类破坏环境的种种行为中,最令人担忧的是人类向大气、土壤、河流以及海洋中排放危险甚至致命物质,而当今这种污染在很大程度上是无法挽救的。在当今这种对环境的普遍污染中,化学制品与辐射狼狈为奸,改变着地球的自然状态,也就是改变着地球上生命的自然状态。喷洒到农田、森林或者花园里的化学物质长期滞留于土壤中,渗入有机体内,并彼此相传,形成了一个中毒与死亡的链条。化学物质还神秘地通过地下水传递,最终以新的形式出现并结合,使植物毒死,牲畜害病,并使饮用一度纯净的井水的人遭受了不明之害。正如一位科学家所言:“人类甚至对自己创造的恶魔都不认识。”

  地球历经了许多亿年才创造了栖息其上的生命。经过了一定时间——不是以若干年计而是以若干千年计的时间——生命开始适应环境,并形成了一种与环境的平衡。但是在现代世界中,时间这一因素已经没有了。

  环境改变的速度不再顺从大自然从容不迫的节奏,而是顺从人类急切匆匆的步伐。辐射是当今人类通过支配原子而得到的一种非自然的创造物。化学制品则是人类有发明创造力的头脑创造出来的合成物,在自然界本无相应的东西。

  为了适应这些化学制品,人类需要付出的时间不会只是一个人一生的时间,而是几代人的时间。而即使这样,就算出现奇迹成为可能,这种适应也是徒劳的,因为新的化学制品从我们的实验室中源源不断地涌出。仅在美国,每年就有大约500种化学制品投入使用,其中许多是用于人类对自然的战争中。从20世纪40年代中期起,人类已经创造了200多种基本化学制品用来消灭昆虫、野草以及其他所谓的“有害生物”。

  重点词汇:

  1、character(人的)品质,性格;(事物的)性质、特性;

  例句:He has a changeable character.

  他性格多变。

  2、assault攻击,袭击

  例句:They made a strong assault on the town.

  他们猛烈攻击这个镇子。

  3、spray浪花,水花,喷液

  例句:Did you bring along some insect spray?

  你带来杀虫剂了吗?

  4、impetuous性急的,鲁莽的,

  例句:It was impetuous of her to do that.

  她竟做那种事,真是鲁莽。

  5、deliberate不慌不忙的,从容的

  例句:He is delibertate in his speech.

  他说话从容不迫。

  4、5两词的词义可从上下文中体会出来

  The rapidity of change follows the impetuous pace of man rather than the deliberate pace of nature.

  可见由than相连,必然是两个反义词。

  6、futile无益的,无效的,无希望的

  例句:His efforts to save the business were futile.

  他挽救公司的努力未能奏效。

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