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The Ailing Planet | NCERT Solution | English | Class XI

Updated: Jan 29, 2022

Lesson Architecture

  • Author Biography

  • Theme

  • Core Issues of the Lesson

  • NCERT Solution

  • Extra Questions

  • Link for MCQ Test



Biography of the Author ( Source: Hindustan Times)

  • Born in Bombay (now Mumbai), Palkhivala hailed from a Parsi working class family, and went on to become a household name in India.

  • His father was in the palkhi (palanquins) business, and hence the surname Palkhivala.

  • He joined the St Xavier’s College, and completed his masters in English literature.

  • Palkhivala was also a part-time lecturer in Government Law College, Bombay.

  • The heights of eloquence to which Palkhivala had risen have seldom been equalled and never been surpassed in the history of the Supreme Court.

  • Sri Aurobindo was his favourite writer and thinker, whose writings greatly attracted him.

  • His father was in the palkhi (palanquins) business, and hence the surname Palkhivala.

  • The fearlessness with which he spoke out, irrespective of the party in power, made him the voice of conscience of the nation.

  • The most outstanding quality of Palkhivala was his willingness to help people in need and his humility and modesty.

  • He was tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd.

  • He died on December 11, 2002.


Theme:

  • This chapter is an article written by Nani Palkhiwala and was published in The Indian Express on 24th November 1994.

  • This lesson has details about the Green Movement which played a major role in addressing environment issues.

  • The lesson voices concerns about the domination of human beings who have left no or little place for other species on earth.

  • ‘The Ailing Planet: the Green Movement’s Role’ focuses on a host of environmental issues.

  • It was written in 1994 but is still relevant owing to the continued deterioration in the health of the planet Earth.

  • The lesson highlights the Earth as an ailing patient whose condition is getting critical day by day.

  • It also focuses on the activities of human beings which are responsible for a plethora of environmental issues including global warming.

  • The Green Movement and its role in conserving the environment is also a focus of discussion in the lesson.

  • The writer talks about the importance of conserving natural resources and how this planet is a place to live for everyone and not just humans alone.

  • The writer also highlights the problem of over-population which is also responsible for the imbalance in the environment.



Core Environmental Issues


Green Movement:

  • There has been no other movement in the history of the world which has drawn the attention and impacted the entire human race as the Green Movement that started in New Zealand.

  • The world’s first nationwide Green Party was founded in 1972.

  • It has changed our outlook of the world form a mere mechanical perspective to taking a holistic approach in the study and protection of the environment.

  • For the first time earth is being considered a living organism with metabolic needs of its own which must be respected and preserved.

Concept of ‘Sustainable Development’

  • The focus is now on ‘sustainable development’, a concept brought about by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987.

  • It means development that meets the need of the present world without compromising on the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

  • We need to ensure that we do not take away what actually belongs to our children.

  • We should not strip away all the natural resources without leaving anything for the future.

  • One example of human beings being responsible for the wanton destruction has been seen in a zoo at Lusaka.

  • On a cage, there is a board that reads ‘the Worlds’ most dangerous animal’. Inside the cage there is no animal but a mirror where one sees oneself.

  • This awareness is good enough to make us sensible in order to learn that we cannot survive on this system of domination.


Dominance of Man over other species on Earth

  • Great damage has been done already, most of which is irreparable.

  • Man has proved to be the most dangerous creatures on earth, always trying to dominate instead of striving for harmonious coexistence with nature.

  • Man shares the earth with 1.4 million living species.

  • Man’s selfish motives have turned this into a scorched planet of advancing deserts depleted forests, barren landscapes and a dying environment.

  • An international commission, Brandt Commission with a renowned Indian Mr. L. K. Jha dealt with ecology and environment.

  • In its first report it raised the question that are we going to leave a planet that is burnt, growing barren, with advancing deserts, infertile lands and deteriorating environment for our future generations.

Four biological systems of the Earth

  • Man has even threatened the four basic biological systems namely fisheries, forests, grasslands and croplands which form the foundation of the global economic system.

  • They are the basis of the world economic system.

  • They not only supply food for mankind, but also the raw materials for industry, except minerals and petroleum based products.

  • In many parts of the world, human demand over these systems is far more than the earth can actually support or keep up with. As a result, production has fallen.

  • The protein hungry world has destroyed all fisheries by over-fishing.

  • In poor countries, forests are being depleted for firewood.

  • Grasslands are turning to wastelands, croplands are becoming infertile.

  • Tropical forests, which are the power house of evolution with several species of life, are on the verge of extinction. These systems are not being able to support the ever increasing human population.

  • Grasslands have turned to wastelands, and tropical forests are facing rapid extinction.

  • Fifty million acres of tropical forests are disappearing every year.

  • According to a government report, India is losing forests at the rate of 3.7 million acres every year. However, the reality is even more alarming.

  • The actual loss of forests is eight times more than the government report. Areas marked as forest land are virtually treeless.



Growth of Exploding Population- a deterrent.

  • The main cause of environmental deterioration is the world’s exploding population.

  • More than a million years were needed to bring world population to its first billion in the year 1800. A second billion was added at the end of the next hundred years.

  • The population of India is more than that of Africa and South American put together.

  • If control of population is not treated as topmost priority, people will die of starvation.

  • The only solution to this terrifying situation is development which will ensure rise in income, education and health and thus will check population growth.

Emerging Era of Responsibility:

  • Addressing the environmental crisis will ensure our journey to the future.

  • The changing world scenario has opened our eyes to become more responsible.

  • This emerging Era of Responsibility brings a vision that the world be treated as an integrated whole.

Advice of Maragaret Thatcher and Lester Brown:

  • We have not only put the survival of the human race at stake, the survival of the planet has been threatened as well.

  • Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made a very decisive statement , ‘ No generation ha a freehold on this earth. All we have is a life tenancy-with a full repairing lease.’ Mr. Lester Brown has made a pertinent point in saying that we have not inherited this earth from our forefathers; we have borrowed it from our children.

  • Let us not forget that we have to return it to them in good condition so that they too can live a healthy life on this planet.


Recapitulation:

  • The world’s first nationwide Green Party was founded in New Zealand in 1972. From a mechanical outlook, the approach towards looking at the environment has shifted to holistic and ecological view.

  • This change in mindset of the people is as phenomenal as the change that came over when Copernicus showed the world that the earth and planets revolve around the sun.

  • The concept of Sustainable Development popularized by World Commission on Environment and Development meets the needs of the present without compromising the interests of the future generations.

  • The earth’s four biological systems are fisheries, forests, grasslands and croplands. These biological systems have completely been destroyed and ruined due to man’s greed.

  • The main cause of environmental deterioration is the world’s exploding population. The population of India is more than that of Africa and South American put together. If control of population is not treated as topmost priority, people will die of starvation. The only solution to this terrifying situation is development which will ensure rise in income, education and health and thus will check population growth.

  • Addressing the environmental crisis will ensure our journey to the future. The changing world scenario has opened our eyes to become more responsible. This emerging Era of Responsibility brings a vision that the world be treated as an integrated whole.

  • For the first time in human history, we see that the concern is not the survival of the human race alone, but of the planet as well. We do not own this planet, nor have we inherited it. We have borrowed it from our children. Therefore, it is our duty and responsibility to return it them in good condition.

NCERT Solution

Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context.

  • a holistic and ecological view: treating the environmental problem as a whole and not the symptoms alone in isolation.

  • Sustainable Development: meeting the needs of present development without compromising on the resources for future generations.

  • Languish: numerous species existing without being discovered and protected.

  • Ignominious darkness: number of species shamefully unrecognized by man.

  • inter alia: among other things.

  • decimated: large parts being destroyed.

  • catastrophic depletion: dangerously disappearing forests.

  • transcending concern: a concern that goes beyond usual experience.


Understanding the Text


1. Locate the lines in the text that support the title 'The Ailing Planet.'

The following are some of the lines from the lesson to justify how critically the planet is ailing. For example,


(i) the earth's vital signs reveal a patient in declining health.....'

(ii) 'Are we to leave our successors a scorched planet of advancing deserts, impoverished landscapes and ailing environment?'

(iii) 'Since the tropical forest is the powerhouse of evolution, several species of life face extinction as a result of its destruction.'

(iv) The world's ancient patrimony of tropical forests is now eroding..... growing use of dung for burning, deprives the soil of an important natural fertilizer.'

(v) Large areas, officially designated as forest land, ' are virtually treeless.''


2. What does the notice ' The world's most dangerous animal' at a cage in the zoo at Lusaka, Zambia signify?


Ans: The notice highlights the threat that man poses to other creatures on earth. The mirror inside the cage represents man's own image as the most dangerous animal on earth. Man's greed and not need has done more damage to the earth. He has treated the earth as his property and not given any consideration for the next generation. Man's ruthless treatment of nature and wild life has made him the most dangerous animal on earth.


3. How are the earth's principal biological systems being depleted?


Ans: Earth has four principal biological systems -fisheries, forests, grasslands and croplands. The entire world economy is based on these systems. We are dependent on them for our supply of food as well as raw materials for our industries.

Over-fishing by the protein hungry world has pushed fisheries to extinction.

Demand for wood in different industries and also as fuel in poor countries has brought about depletion of acres of forest land.

Grasslands or pastures are an essential part of the biological system. But they are fast getting converted to wastelands.

With disappearance of forests , rainfall becomes scanty resulting in drought like situation. This in turn damages croplands which become infertile.



4. Why does the author suggest that the growth of world population is one of the strongest factors distorting the future of human society?


Ans: In India the population is more than the entire population of Africa and South America put together. Development is the only remedy from this social evil. Ratio of population will go down only when people are employed , educated and healthy. If the present trend continues, half of its people will die of hunger and their dreams will remain unfulfilled in their huts. Development can take place only when population control is given topmost priority. Nation wide campaigns both on electronic and print media along with street play, speeches and counselling might help sensitize the people against population explosion. Spread of education & generation of employment can be the only remedy.


Extra Questions

1. What is Green Movement? Why was it initiated and where?

Ans: The Green Movement is a revolution to fight destruction of environment. It was initiated to create a holistic approach towards protection and study of environment. The first nationwide Green party was founded in New Zealand in 1972.


2. What do the earth's vital signs reveal? what is our duty towards it?

Ans: The earth's vital signs project the earth as an ailing planet. The earth is in declining health owing to the deterioration of her health.

Our primary duty now is to save whatever is left of the environment. We have to safeguard and protect the earth for our children.


3. What do you understand by the statement' Forests precede mankind, deserts follow'?

Ans: Forests have been there even before the existence of mankind on the face of the earth. But human beings have almost vanished it owing to commercial purpose. Thus there will be a vast stretch of deserts in place of forests as a consequence of man's indiscriminate treatment of nature. There will be barren lands and deserts after man leaves the world.


4. Why is development regarded as the best contraceptive?

Ans: A nationwide development will give rise to employment and consequent improvement in lifestyle. People will have access to education and education can sensitize people in favour of small family set up. Development can contribute to improved healthcare system, growth in educational institutes and greater awareness among human beings.


5. Why can't we have a freehold on this earth? Comment.


Ans: We do not own the planet, nor have we inherited it. No generation has a freehold on this earth. We only have life long tenancy. We have borrowed it from our children. It is our duty and responsibility to return it to them in good shape.








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1 Comment


madhav kundu
madhav kundu
Jul 31, 2020

Nicely explained.

Like
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