OnePlanet: To help your English, with short articles and videos about the natural environment...

Environmental English


And to help the environment too, because as Jacques Cousteau said, "We love the things we marvel at, and we protect the things we love."

OnePlanet is for international readers; for people who speak English as a second or third language.

But you're very welcome if English is your first language.



It's time for environmental English

You can study business English anywhere. It's time for schools to offer environmental English.

There are language schools, courses and course-books for general English (holidays and shopping, work and music); and for business English (products and projects, orders and complaints); and for literary English (scansion and Shakespeare, metre and Marvell). There is academic English, military English, English for doctors, English for lawyers, English for financial markets, English for civil aviation, English for tourism - every kind of English, except environmental English.

I think it's time to do something about that!


OnePlanet is a personal odyssey

Nicholas and animals

I'm very serious about environmental English. We need it. Click here for specifics about Environmental English.

I was a lawyer for 20 years. Now I teach general English, business English and academic English. In summer, I teach environmental English.

My name is Nicholas, and I've always liked nature. Some of my best moments have been meetings with strange creatures including toads, lemurs and orca.

OnePlanet records my journey as I become a naturalist. I'll be using a small library of books, a lot of curiosity, and the help of as many environmental professionals as possible. Biologists, rangers, farmers, anybody who knows the natural world.

My environment library now has 750 books and weighs as much as a small car. It has everything from children's stories, identification and field guides ... semi-professional books on biology, habitats, soils, ecology, climate and microclimate, conservation and breeding...

...not to mention camouflage, predation, defence, migration, naturalisation, hibernation, dormancy, metamorphosis, symbiosis and parasites...

... and plant and animal communication, ethology, intelligence, botany, oceanography, geomorphology and lots of other -ologies!

Also, domestication, farming, conservation, pollution control, habitat management, myths, folklore and art. But not much about hunting, shooting or fishing.

Now all I need is the time to read them. About 8 years should do it.



What do I mean by "clear English"?

OnePlanet is in the kind of English that British and American professionals use at work (not the English they use at a football match). Doctors and scientists, lawyers and businesspeople, architects and engineers. You could call it standard English, or international English.

It's English without the strange bits. No 'informal English', no idioms, no dialect, no vernacular, no slang, no newspeak, no buzzwords, no trending expressions.

Complex ideas don't need complicated language. They may need a few technical expressions like biome and habitat; larva and exuviae; browser and grazer; predation and symbiosis; understorey and canopy; but you can talk about them in clear English.

Good academic English is clear English. Bad academic and scientific English are impossible to read unless you are a specialist in that area. The writer wants it to be difficult; the writer is being difficult. Do we need to say "teleost" instead of "bony fish"? Well, perhaps, but here is a phrase where the writer is being deliberately difficult: He or she says that at certain times of day, certain small marine animals "recruit the benthos". Why not just say they "go to the bottom [of the sea]"? It's about personal status. Click here for more about good and bad academic English.


So what is environmental English?

It's not a kind of English, it's a kind of English course.
Like business English, it's a way to learn English. See the Environmental English page.


Why all the puffins?

Puffin logo

You'll find the same logo on all my outdoor+environment websites:

Puffins (Fratercula arctica) are not only cute, they're also heroic and very, very tough. In summer, you can see them near the coasts of western Europe, especially Scotland, and in Scandinavia, Iceland and Greenland. In winter, when the wind blows strong and the waves are huge, they live far out in the north Atlantic.