A természet világa
Flora and fauna
Our flora and fauna are very similar to those of our neighbouring countries and it is different, too. You can find grassy steppes here. We have all kinds of medicinal herbs, the use of which we have to relearn. We have oak trees on the lower slopes where the weather is warmer. Beech trees can be found more frequent above 600 meters. There are more pine woods near the border where the hills are higher. Foreigners like coming to hunt here in Hungary because we still have a lot of wild animals, hunting seems to be cheap for them and our hospitality is still well known. The kinds of game that can be found in our country: deer, mouflon, wild boar, pheasant, partridge, wild duck, dove, hare, wild goose, fox and many others.
Hungary is in the temperate zone and has a continental climate. This means that the weather is quite easily predictable and there are big differences between the weather in the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Occupying a relatively flat area in the Carpathian Basin, Hungary is protected from the extremes of weather by the mountain ranges encompassing her from almost all sides. Her climate is influenced by both moderate maritime and mild Mediterranean air currents. Temperatures above 30°C (degree) may occur in July and August but generally do not last long. January and February are the coldest months, but even then average temperature doesn’t fall below minus 5°C.
My favourite season is spring. After the long cold, wet and foggy days it is warm again. Nature also awakens from its sleep and the trees and bushes are full of blossom. It smells of flowers everywhere. The nicest spring flowers are snowdrops, violets, tulips, primroses, daffodils, hyacinths and lily of the valley. This is also the time for fruit trees to come out in buds and bloom. I like nature so I try to make the best of the fine weather. May is just the right month for taking walks or going on trips to the surrounding hills. On a sunny day in spring I can’t really settle down to anything except lying in the sun and enjoying the first warm sunshine of the year. The weather in spring is quite capricious, especially in April. There can be heavy rainstorms lasting for a few hours or scattered showers lasting even for a couple of days. It was extremely hot summer last term. There was a heat wave in July. The sun was burning for days and end.
There was scarcely a breath of air. The heat was increasing and it was getting hotter and hotter. It was sweltering heat and I remember that the people walking in the streets had to find shelter in the shade of big trees to avoid getting sunstroke. I got as browns as berries although I hate lying in the sun. In summer a hot spell is followed by quick showers that sweep through the fields. Before a shower the sun hides behind the clouds which look dark and heavy against the summer sky. When the sky is completely overcast you know that the rain is not far off. Then suddenly lightning and thunder begin. Lightning is quite dangerous and it may strike big trees or even houses. If it is a passing shower then right after it a rainbow appears in the sky, which turns blue again and the sunshine is hotter than ever. Sometimes it pours down with rain (to rain cats and dogs) and it won’t stop. You can easily get soaked to the skin.
There is even hail in summer which causes a lot of damage to the crops. Wheat is harvested in the middle of summer and there are lots of fruits that are ripened by the hot sun during the summer days. There are cherries, raspberries, gooseberries, red-currants, sour cherries etc. In summer it is enough to put on a light dress with a low-cut neck or a T-shirt with shorts or breeches and a pair of low shoes or sandals. On the beach women wear a bathing suit or a bikini and perhaps a straw hat. Men wear swimming trunks. The beginning of autumn is called an Indian summer if the weather is still warm. Usually it is just like summer. We say that autumn is a rich season because the trees are full of fruits like apples, pears, plums, nuts, almonds, mulberries etc. and most of the vegetables are harvested at the beginning of the autumn too. In Hungary the grape harvest, that is vintage, is a great feast. Friends and relatives come together to pick the grapes from the vines, to press them, pour the grape juice into wine-casks and let it ferment for a while for it to be decanted later. The rainiest season is definitely autumn. The best strategy for protecting yourself from the rain is to carry an umbrella or a mackintosh with you all the time. In autumn, people put on a mackintosh or some other kind of waterproofs.
It is important that you should wear water-resistant shoes or wellingtons as well because you can catch a cold easily if you step in the puddles and get your feet wet. All kinds of precipitation may occur during the autumn months from drizzle and rain through mist, fog, hoar frost and sleet to snow. In autumn the leaves of trees slowly become coloured, you can see yellowish, brownish and reddish ones. In October the weather is very changeable; one day it is as if it were summer the next is just like in winter. In November there is often frost. When winter is here, the temperature falls below zero. Then smooth snow falls down from big, grey clouds. There are blizzards and stormy winds shake the trees and windows and it’s very pleasant to sit by the fire inside while the wind is blowing outside. There are usually hard frosts in January. I often feel cold in such weather. I shiver with cold when I go to work in the morning. My eyes are watering from the cold. In winter you must be careful not to catch cold. You must wear warm clothes and dress in layers. In cold weather people wear fur hats or thick, knitted hats and gloves, warm scarves and polo-necked sweaters, cotton stockings or trousers, winter boots and thick fur-lined overcoats. Winter weather often paralyses traffic on the roads. They are slippery, because of the ice covering them and there are a lot of accidents. You must not drive at a high speed. Fog also delays traffic. Planes cannot land at the airport because of poor visibility. It’s better to cancel driving when there is dense fog hanging over the roads. If the snow sets in, the roads are deep in snow. They may be blocked by snowdrifts. Hard snowstorms sometimes stop all the traffic and many cars get stuck in the snowdrifts.
England has a maritime climate, which means that the weather is very wet and rainy there. It is usually very changeable and it is difficult to forecast with certainty even for a day. It is damp and not too cold all times of the year. It rarely snows and if it does, it melts when it reaches the ground. Summers are cool and damp too. Possibly because it is so unpredictable, English people are always prepared to discuss the weather.
Spring weather Summer weather
slight breeze to perspire/sweat (izzadni)
it begins to thaw to rain cats and dogs
there are avalanches in the mountains to get soaked to the skin
to be struck by lightning
Autumn weather Winter weather
it is wretched/rotten to have subzero temp.
to have chilly weather there is a blizzard
to drizzle, rain, pour, sleet a snowflake
It is misty, foggy
humid, wet, damp
to reach gale force
There has been more and more damage to the environment since the increase of the world’s population and industry. I have heard of air, water and soil pollution. In general, the larger the city the higher the degree of air pollution, which is caused mainly by factories or by fumes from cars and from other means of transport. Even rivers are dirtier in a city than in the country. All types of pollution can be very dangerous for plants and animals as well as for human health. This is why we must avoid polluting our environment in any way. Acid rain is caused by air pollution.
Vehicle pollution mainly in urban areas can be dangerous. Floods are caused by cutting down trees. Grass and undergrowth and shrubs aren’t able to hold humidity. Rain is joined by melted snow water and evaporation is also slow. If people cut down woods there is a big amount of water, which runs down quickly and there is nothing that can slow down the speed of it. Soil is also washed away so people cannot plant in the usual way. The other reason for floods is global warming. Ice in North Pole melts so another large of water appears in the seas and ocean. Air becomes humid so more rain falls. The other consequence of warming up is that seasons are changing all the time.
There are heavy rains and a lot of snow where there didn’t use to be. (like snow in Florida). There was the winter flood in the east part of Hungary in 2001 and 2002. The water was not only cold but it ruined a lot of houses. In the summer of 2002 there were serious floods all over Europe. France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Hungary suffered the biggest damages from the floods. Some people even died. Polluted rivers flow into the oceans and seas so they poison wild life plants and animals. So species die out. Originally waters of rivers, oceans and seas clean themselves but if a lot of alga appears on the surface of the water it is not able to do so. There are disasters on waters, too. Ships and boats are wrecked and they may sink. If tankers sink, oil gets into the water and disaster can happen in a few days.
Oil can get on and among the feather of birds, on the skin of seals and whales and other animals. These living creatures aren’t able to fly or swim and not able to escape if it’s needed. Oil can get into their stomachs. Different chemicals have damaged the ozone layer. Since mainly the 1950s people have used more and more oil and natural gas. Since the 1970s and 1990s we use 60 percent more energy. So all of these factures cause the green-house effect, which have led to an increase in temperature levels. Cutting down forests also “helps” the problem. Humid jungles absorbed carbon-dioxide and produce oxygen. Developed countries realized the danger. So they started to develop rules on protecting the environment. Because of the very hot, dry summers fires often occur in different places like fields, woods and in bushes.
These can occur not only relatively small areas but also in huge territories. Fire-brigades rush to the spot; they try to put out fire with water or appropriate chemicals as soon as possible. Helicopters are often in action. They spray the inoculators from above. If there is strong wind it makes the work more difficult. It often takes days or even weeks to put out fires and of course rains help. An economic reactor exploded in Chernobyl in 1986 spreading a radioactive cloud of dust mainly in Europe. This has been the most dangerous event in the history of nuclear power production. Since then there have been more and more demonstrations against nuclear power. The Greens are people who try to protect environment either with legal and illegal actions. They are known to have tied themselves onto e.g. rails, which is really illegal and very dangerous. But they also table bills in Parliament. Volcanoes sometimes erupt without any reason. Although, the environment regenerates itself with it, they destroy spacious forests and spread volcanic ash all around. In fact, this is mostly used to happen several times. Lots of cinema films created about famous volcanoes erupting like Etna, Vesuvius, and St. Helen. Earthquakes are caused by seismic waves.
There are more and more steps being taken in our country to enable everyday people to be environmentally friendly. The state itself tries to persuade citizens to recycle. If you pay for having your rubbish taken away, you have to pay less if there is less rubbish in your dustbin. When these dustbins were introduced it was strange to use them but nowadays it is and everyday event. In Hungary there are different colors of dustbins at more and more local housing estate. We should collect our rubbishes separately e.g. glasses, paper, plastic, dangerous litters etc. Certainly you mustn’t throw away any litters where you are warned by noticing “no dumping!” The first thing I can do is that I don’t litter the streets, but try to put the rubbish into the dustbin. Hopefully, I find one when I need it. Our household could also select waste. There’s a selective waste collection in the area where I live. I also pay attention to buying products which have been recycled and I always ask the shop assistants not to put the products into plastic bags for me. I rather put them into a box or a carrier bag.
We’ve been using some light bulbs in our flat since their prices were payable. In addition to it, my dad always warns us not to leave the light switched on if we aren’t in the room. At my workplace we have some air-conditioners but we only use them if needed because of their consumption (so as to save more energy). Unfortunately, I have a bad habit from which I try to give up. I can’t help turning on both my PC and my TV. However, I also know that no one is able to watch both of them at the same time.