The Ailing Planet the Green Movement's Role
1. Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context.
. a holistic and ecological view
. inter alia
. sustainable development
. catastrophic depletion
. ignominious darkness
. transcending concern
- a holistic and ecological view - It indicates the view that demands the preservation of the planet. It upholds the necessity of earth's resources and environment for the future generations.
- sustainable development - A balanced development that meets the needs of the present without destroying the
- resources or compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
- languish – the careless attitude makes a lot of species are neglected or go unnoticed
- ignominious darkness - disgraced or dishonored as nobody has knowledge about them or is enlightened about them
- inter alia - among other things
- decimated - to reduce drastically in number
- catastrophic depletion - a disastrous and harmful reduction in the number of something
- transcending concern - a concern that surpasses all the boundaries and generations. The concern is about the present and future which would include the people and the planet where they live.
Understanding the Text
1. Locate the lines in text that support the title. 'The Ailing Planet'.
The following lines support the title of the chapter:
- "Are we to leave our successors a scorched planet of advancing deserts, impoverished landscapes and ailing environment?"
- "The earth's vital signs reveal a patient in declining health."
- "...the environment has deteriorated so badly that it is 'critical' in many of the eighty- eight countries investigated".
2. What does the notice 'The world's most dangerous animal' at a cage in the zoo at Lusaka, Zambia, signify?
The notice signifies that there is depletion of resources and deterioration of environment. Man is responsible for this and his own survival is threatened.
3. How are the earth's principal biological systems being depleted?
There are four principal biological systems of the earth,
i.e. fisheries, forests, grasslands and croplands. Due to the increasing demand of human beings the productivity of these systems is being hampered. The excessive demand results in deterioration and depletion of these resources. A country where protein is consumed on a large scale, over-fishing is common, which leads to the collapse of fisheries in that area. Grasslands have been turned into deserts and production of crops is decreasing. The forests are destroyed in large proportions to obtain firewood. Depletion of tropical forests has also led to the extinction of several species.
4. Why does the author aver that the growth of world population is one of the strongest factors distorting the future of human society?
One of the strongest factors responsible for a nation's poverty and unemployment is over-population. It disturbs the earth's principal biological systems leading to degradation of environment. The author highlights the problem of over-population by pointing out the mental set-up of the poor who feel more children means more workers to earn money. They do not realise that more children only means more unemployed people. He asserts that development is the best contraceptive, which includes spread of education, improvement of health and rise in income. Spread of education leads to awareness among people, which in turn results in a fall in the 'fertility' rate. The author makes a comment which emphasises the never ending circle of population and poverty by asserting that "The choice is really between control of population and the perpetuation of poverty."
Talking about the Text
1. Laws are never respected not enforced in India.
India, is condemned for its easy attitude towards laws as people do not respect them. There is also no strict enforcement of the laws by the governing bodies. For instance, the Indian Constitution mentions that casteism, untouchability and bonded labour shall be abolished; however, these evils flourish openly even today.
The author points out that Article 48A of the Indian Constitution, propounds that "the State shall Endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country". However, little is done in favour of this. What we see is a near "catastrophic depletion" of forests over the last four decades. Forests are disappearing over the decades at the rate of 3.7 million acres a year. Areas that are officially designated as forest land, in reality, are treeless. The actual loss of forests is eight times the rate pointed by the government statistics.
2. "Are we to leave our successors a scorched planet of advancing deserts, impoverished landscapes and an ailing environment?"
The first Brandt Report raised the question about the deteriorating condition of the dying planet, Earth. Earth is like a "patient in declining health". The depletion of forests, grasslands, fisheries and croplands are the result of excessive demand for resources. Over-population has led to a severe strain on the health of our planet. We must realise soon that in this "Era of Responsibility" it is solely our duty to preserve our planet. We must realise that the earth belongs as much to the future generation as much to us. Rather making it our property, we should do our best to preserve it for the generations we have "borrowed it from".
3. "We have not inherited this earth from our forefathers; we have borrowed it from our children".
There has been in the perception of the people in respect to the planet over the decades. The human perception has shifted to a "holistic and ecological view of the world". Earth is a living organism that has limited resources. These resources will not last forever. The earth has its metabolic needs that require to be preserved. The need of the hour is "sustainable development" which propounds the need of meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising with those of future generations. The present problems are not necessarily fatal for us but they are a 'passport for future'. This is the "Era of Responsibility" that calls for a responsible action from us. We must realise that the earth belongs as much to the future generation as much it belongs to us.
4. The problems of over population that directly affect our everyday life.
Over-population leads to the issues of poverty and unemployment. The vicious circle of population and poverty will continue unless the root cause i.e. population is taken care of. It hampers the development of a country. It leads to the consumption of the natural resources at a much faster rate. The fossils consumed, the resources depleted, the forests cleared, the heat produced, the global warming caused are all the repercussions of the fast-growing population.
Thinking about the Language
1. The phrase 'inter alia' meaning 'among other things' is one of the many Latin expression commonly used in English.
Find out what these Latin phrases mean.
1. Prima face
2. ad hoc
3. in camera
4. ad infinitum
5. mutatis Multan's
6. tabula rasa
- prima facie: 'at first sight, before closer inspection'
- ad hoc: 'for the specific purpose, case, or situation at hand and for no other'
- in camera : 'in secret, in private'
- ad infinitum: 'to infinity, having no end'
- mutatis mutandis: 'changing those things which need to be changed', the necessary changes having been made
- Caveat: 'a warning or caution'
- tabula rasa: 'blank slate', 'without any prior experience or knowledge'
Working with Words
Locate the following words in the text and study their connotation.
1. gripped the imagination of
2. dawned upon
3. ushered in
4. passed into current coin
5. passport of the future
1. gripped the imagination of: received much attention
2. dawned upon: realized it for the first time
3. ushered in: began the new idea
4. passed into current coin: have been brought into use
5. passport of the future: a thing that makes something possible or enables one to achieve it
2. The words 'grip', 'dawn', 'usher', 'coin', 'passport' have a literal as well as a figurative meaning. Write pairs of sentences using each word in the literal as well as figurative sense.
a) While mountaineering Amit lost his grip of the rope.
b) Atul couldn't get a grip on what was going on in the classroom discussion.
a) They started working at dawn.
b) The Act of Congress marked a new dawn in the country’s history.
a) Mohini ushered the guests to their seats.
b) The change of management ushered in fresh ideas and policies.
a) I have ten one rupee coins.
b) Ankit was the first to coin the motto ‘Make Love, Not War’.
a) Anil has just got his passport made to go on a foreign tour.
b) Hard work and perseverance are a passport to success.