Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of the story “The Ailing Planet: The Green Movement’s Role” by Nani Palkhivala of the Assam Board (AHSEC / SEBA) Class 11 (first year) English (Hornbill) textbook. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: There has never been another movement in the history of the world that has captivated and influenced the entire human race like the Green Movement, which began in New Zealand. In 1972, the world’s first nationwide Green Party was formed. It has shifted our worldview from a purely mechanical to a more holistic approach to environmental research and protection. For the first time, the earth is being regarded as a living organism with its own metabolic needs that must be respected and preserved.
The World Commission on Environment and Development introduced the concept of “sustainable development” in 1987. It entails development that meets the needs of the present without jeopardising future generations’ ability to meet their own needs. Much damage has already been done, the majority of which is irreversible. Man has proven to be the most dangerous creature on the planet, always seeking to dominate rather than coexist peacefully. His selfish motivations have resulted in a scorched planet with advancing deserts, depleted forests, barren landscapes, and a dying environment.
Man has even threatened the four basic biological systems that form the foundation of the global economic system, namely fisheries, forests, grasslands, and croplands. These systems are incapable of supporting an ever-increasing human population. Production has declined, grasslands have become wastelands, and tropical forests are on the verge of extinction. Every year, fifty million acres of tropical forest are lost. The fact that we are losing an acre and a half of forest every year is undoubtedly alarming, but true. We have reached a tipping point in environmental deterioration. It will remain critical unless something is done to reduce global population growth. Every four days, the world’s population grows by a million people. It is a source of great concern, far more than anything else in human history. We have jeopardised not only the survival of the human race but also the survival of the planet.
Understanding the Text
1. Locate the lines in the text that support the title “The Ailing Planet.”
Answer: The article contains a number of striking passages that highlight the dire state of the planet. Such as:
a. The earth’s vital signs reveal a patient in declining health.
b. Are we to leave our successors a scorched planet of advancing deserts, impoverished landscapes and ailing environment?
c. …fisheries collapse, forests disappear, grasslands are converted into barren wastelands, and croplands deteriorate.
d. Since the tropical forest is the powerhouse of evolution, several species of life face extinction as a result of its destruction.
e. The world’s ancient patrimony of tropical forests is now eroding.
2. What does the notice ‘The world’s most dangerous animal’ at a cage in the zoo at Lusaka, Zambia, signify?
Answer: The warning is a reminder of the danger that humans pose to all other forms of life on Earth. In the cage’s mirror, man is reflected as the world’s most dangerous animal. No other living thing has done as much damage to its own habitat as humans have. To meet his current requirements, mankind has not so much damaged the planet’s environment as he has depleted it out of greed. He has done so without providing anything for posterity. They might not get to enjoy the mountains, forests, animals, grasslands, or rain that he has so carelessly ruined today. He has acted as though the Earth were his personal property, something he has worked for and therefore is entitled to destroy. However, that is not the case. However, despite his superior intelligence, man has acted in ways that make him the most dangerous animal on the planet.
3. How are the earth’s principal biological systems being depleted?
Answer: Fisheries, forests, grasslands, and croplands are the four most important biological systems on Earth. The global economy could not function without them. They provide us with food and the raw materials for our factories. Yet human use of these systems has outpaced their ability to produce, bringing them to the verge of a breakdown. The global population’s insatiable appetite for protein has led to the collapse of marine ecosystems. Acres of forest have been lost due to the growing demand for wood in a variety of industries and as a fuel source in economically disadvantaged regions. And as human populations grow, forest areas are cleared to make way for farmland and residential development. When forests are cut down, it can cause a drought because there won’t be as many trees to soak up the rain. As a result, fertile agricultural land is degraded. Grasslands, also known as pastures, play a crucial role in the ecosystem. However, these are rapidly becoming abandoned spaces.
4. Why does the author aver (suggest) that the growth of the world population is one of the strongest factors distorting the future of human society?
Answer: Overpopulation is a pressure that our planet simply cannot sustain. The tipping point has been reached in India. Its total population is greater than that of all of Africa and South America combined. This kind of population boom prevents any sort of progress from being made in terms of development. However, progress is the only way out of this predicament. The population growth rate will slow until more people have jobs, education, and good health. If things keep going the way they are, half of its population will starve to death, and the rest will be left in their huts with nothing more than unfulfilled dreams. While forced sterilisation is not the answer, family planning will still require some use of force and pressure. If we don’t prioritise population control, we’ll never get out of this hole of poverty.
Additional/extra questions and answers/solutions
1. What exactly is the Green Movement? Why and where did it start?
Answer: The Green Movement is a grassroots environmentalist uprising. It started to develop comprehensive strategies for environmental safety and research. New Zealand’s Green Party was the world’s first national Green Party, established in 1972.
2. What has been the most notable shift in humanity’s attitude toward the environment?
Answer: People’s perspectives on environmental problems have shifted as a result of the Green Movement. For the first time, the Earth was understood as a sentient being whose needs must be honoured and whose resources must be protected. It is now more important to ensure the survival of the Earth than it is to ensure the survival of humanity.
3. What do the planet’s vital signs tell us, and what are our responsibilities to it?
Answer: There are outward signs that something is wrong with our planet. According to surveys, environmental degradation has reached a critical state in most countries. What little natural habitats exist should be our top priority right now. The future of our planet depends on us taking precautions now to ensure its survival.
11. What precisely is “sustainable development” and how does man pose a threat to it?
Answer: For development to be considered sustainable, it must provide for the needs of the present without jeopardising future generations’ potential to do the same. The goal is to make responsible use of nature’s bounty in order to progress forward, without shortchanging future generations.
The current environmental situation is dangerous to long-term progress. There is a near-term breakdown of the four major biological systems. Croplands have lost their fertility and become virtual deserts; grasslands and pastures have become dumping grounds for waste, and fisheries have been decimated as a result of the increased population. Our children and grandchildren will perish if this destruction is not stopped. All life on Earth, not just human life, is in jeopardy.
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