Green is GREAT - Part 1

You might not think of Britain as a tropical country, but at the Eden Project they have their very own rainforest! Richard learns about the centre's cutting-edge work in research and education, and pretends to be a bat for one of the world's rarest plants.


Green issues are really important to Great Britain. The people here work really hard to protect the environment.

The nation is trying to reduce the impact their daily lives have on the planet, which in turn means reducing their carbon footprint. Let’s find out how…


Britain has the largest indoor rainforest in the world, which is used for environmental research. It’s also a world leader in wind energy at sea and on land.

And the London 2012 Olympics are the first truly sustainable ever, which means the environmental benefit of the Games will last for a very long time.

This is the Eden Project in Cornwall. It’s a place where green ideas are explored and built to try and reduce the impact on the environment and it’s been so successful that tourists visit from around the world.

The Eden Project started life over ten years ago as an old china clay pit; it was just a hole in the ground. The big bubble shaped area, or biome, is twice as high as Big Ben and works as a greenhouse home for some of the world's most important plants.

The Eden Project features a number of different biomes. These ecosystems are maintained to simulate different climatic conditions that are found in different parts of the world. I met up with Hetty Ninnis, who works here.

Richard: Hetty, what’s the idea behind the Eden Project?

Hetty: So, the Eden Project is here to show people how we can live with the planet without destroying it.

Richard: And tell me about this biome.

Hetty: So, this is the tropical rainforest biome. It's a garden and it's here to show people sort of where everyday products they might find in the supermarket come from, so they can see where bananas come from, where chocolate comes from.  

Richard: And you recycle water here?

Hetty: Yes, we do. We collect water up the top of the pit and then we use that to water our plants 3 days a week in here. So do you fancy coming along and pollinating some plants?

Richard: Why not? Lead the way.


Richard: So, Hetty, what are we doing?

Hetty: We're going to be pollinating the jade vine, a very rare plant from the Philippines.

Richard: So, how are we going to pollinate it?

Hetty: OK, out in the wild it's fruit bats that do the pollinating, so today we're going to pretend to be fruit bats.

Richard: We're going to pretend to be a fruit bat? O... kay. How do we do that?

Hetty: We're going to do that by, if you can see here on these little flowers, when a fruit bat comes down, it hangs upside down from up here, and he pushes his face into that flower, and as he does, the pollen gets pushed out of here, so we take a little bit of pollen on the paintbrush and then move on to the second flower, taking that pollen with us and then hopefully it will set fruit in a few months' time.

Richard: And this is a very green and efficient way of doing things?

Hetty: Well, it's a really important job because this plant is so rare in the wild now that we need to make sure we've got seeds so we can keep it going in the future.

Richard: Well, since I'm up here, I'd better have a go, so can I pollinate it?

Hetty: OK, if you feel confident, please have a go.

Richard: I wouldn't say confident. It's a rare plant, right, alright? Let's be very careful.

Hetty: Be gentle.

Richard: I'll give it a go. Just dab that in there and pop that in there. Yes, yes. That's pollinated.


The Eden Project tries to be as self-sufficient with energy as possible. They are world leaders in green technology.

This is WEEE man and he’s a monster! He’s made entirely of the rubbish that one person will throw away in their lifetime; that's a lot of waste!

Much of the energy at the Eden Project comes from green sources, but there are also exciting developments in creating energy from sources of power that won't run out. Renewable energy.

Task 1

Select the true sentences.


Task 2

Use no more than three words and/or a number to complete the sentences about the Eden Project.


Task 3

Order the words to make sentences from the video.


Task 4

Complete the sentences using the right 'green' word.


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Submitted by ignacio perez on Mon, 22/04/2019 - 18:22

I think I generate too much rubbish. In my country, there are plans to suppress plastic bags. Plastic is something that pollute oceans. Industrial and commercial products have too many wrappers. In order to keep our common home, we should return to ancient commerce practices like taking one's own bag to fill it with purchases. Wouldn't it be great?

Submitted by David Lara on Thu, 31/01/2019 - 14:32

Hello, what it means "sort of" in the next sentence: It's a garden and it's here to show people sort of where everyday products they might find in the supermarket... Thanks in advance

Hello David

In this video, Hetty says 'sort of' to show that she is not speaking very exactly. I think she means that the garden can't show people everything about where all their food comes from, but that it is there to give them an idea. You can see a bit more about this use of 'sort of' on this Cambridge Dictionary page.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by LinaS on Tue, 22/01/2019 - 17:22

Is it somehow possible to download this video?

Hello LinaS,

I'm afraid the videos on LearnEnglish are not available for download. On our audio-only pages we make the audio file available, but we cannot do this for all our material for technical and legal reasons.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by btriton on Sun, 20/05/2018 - 19:04

Yes, I would like to visit Eden Project. It is so amazing and interesting, everyone should be committed to save endangered species avoiding some activities as hunting, or buying some birds or any protected species. and probably many of us could be a WEEE man, all the items that everyone has bought like batteries, laptops, desktops, TV, AC, and go on...

Submitted by nalini on Tue, 19/12/2017 - 08:46

I would LOVE to visit the Eden project one day. If ever possible, I's like to have my own ecosystem project as well, but I guess that's too expensive for a normal person to maintain.

Submitted by Nizam Balinese on Thu, 15/06/2017 - 08:53

Hello everyone.. ☆ Would you like to visit the Eden Project? - I'd love to visit this place. I love the idea so much and would like to know more about it. Plants may not look as charismatic as animal, but plants are a critical part of the ecosystem. Fortunately, some scientist have dedicated their lives to studying plants, especially rare ones that are quickly heading towards extinction. ☆ How can we protect endangered species? - The best way to protect endangered species is to protect the special place where they live. So when you are buying a house, consider your impact on wildlife habitat. By protecting habitat, entire communities of animals and plants can be protected together I think. ☆ Do you produce enough rubbish to make a WEEE man? - I don't know how much rubbish I throw away, I've never calculated it, so I don't know it's been enough to make a WEEE man or not. But the most important thing right now is to do the best, to keep clean and save the world, you know.

Submitted by Wolves on Tue, 13/06/2017 - 17:00

Hello British Council's staff, I wonder which kind of grammatical formula is " to be pollinating". Today for istance i have crossed also "if you happend to be wearing a white labcoat....". I have then found the meaning, but i can not understand which is the basic logical sense of this grammatical structure yet, therfore when it is normally used. Can you help me please? Thank you!

Hello Wolves,

'to be pollinating' and 'to be wearing' are continuous infinitives. Our continuous aspect page explains the different uses of continuous forms in general and should help you understand what these infinitives mean, but if you have any other specific questions, please let us know. Though we'll need to know more about the context, of course!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by s_sabeti on Sat, 25/03/2017 - 11:48

That was an interesting subject. As an offshore wind turbine engineer, i have been seriously involved in such issues, which i can surmise will be more promulgated in very soon future on account of the hurdles we are going through.

Submitted by Genc on Sat, 04/03/2017 - 12:49

Of course, I wouldn't mind visiting the Eden Project! It does look a very interesting place to be in, though.Once, we people stop destroying everything in the world, we wouldn't have to protect endangered species, anyway! I don't think I produce enough rubbish to make a WEEE man.However, people are starting consuming the tech gadget, unwisely more and more which they end up with rubbish to make a WEEE man...

Submitted by luisfernandove… on Mon, 27/02/2017 - 01:27

I really liked the way that Britain is interested in ecology and the planet, I also liked the bubble design where the different types of plants and the eden project is a great way to start putting the example In several countries so the change is greater, maybe it is difficult to change but it is for the sake of the planet, I am very interested in the video and the project eden I understood it very well and my expectation about Great Britain change.
Yeah I agree with you! I did like the idea that Britain cares about the planet and our evironment.I wish every nation would do the same! That would be too good to be true, though.