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The Ailing Planet : The Green Movement's Role

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How are the earth’s principal biological systems being depleted?

Mr. Lester R. Brown has pointed out that there are four principal biological systems of the earth. They are fisheries, forests, grasslands and croplands. They are the foundation of the global economic system. They supply our food and provide raw materials for industry except minerals. But man’s demands on these systems are reaching an unsustainable level. Overfishing is very common. Local forests are disappearing to provide firewood and wood. The world is losing 40 to 50 million acres of forests a year. Similarly, grasslands and woodlands are being converted into deserts and wastelands.


 Laws are never respectcd nor enforced in India.

Ram : Laws are never respected in India.

Mohan : Nor are they enforced.

Geeta : What are laws if they don’t have any teeth in them?

Meera : Just imagine how we have plundered our natural resources and wealth. Ram : It’s a sad commentary on the unsatiable greed of man.

Mohan : Fisheries, forests, grasslands and croplands are the four principal biological systems of the earth.

Geeta : They are the foundation of the global economic system.

Meera : Overfishing is destroying fisheries.

Ram : Local forests are disappearing. Tropical forests, “the powerhouse of evolution” are disappearing.

Mohan : Grasslands are being converted into deserts.

Geeta : And croplands are in a bad shape.

Meera : We are losing an acre and a half every minute.

Ram : This happens inspite of Article 48 A of the constitution.

Mohan : Who cares for the laws? Open plundering of nature and natural resources continues unabated.


Locate the lines in the text that support the title ‘The Ailing Planet’.

Lines in the text that support the title ‘The Ailing Planet’ are :

‘The earth’s vital signs reveal a patient in declining health’.

“...biologists reckon that about three to a hundred million other living species still languish unnamed in ignominious darkness”.

“Are we to leave our successors a scorched planet of advancing deserts, impoverished landscapes and ailing environment ?”

“... these systems are reaching an unsustainable level, a point where productivity is being impaired”.

“We see ... the survival not just of the people but of the planet.”


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

At Lusaka, there is a cage where the notice reads, “The world’s most dangerous animal”. There is no animal inside the cage except a mirror where you see yourself. The notice is very significant. It points an accusing finger at man. He is the real villain who has plundered the earth. Man is the most dangerous animal in the world who has degraded, depleted and polluted the natural resources and the environment.


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

Nani Palkhivala avers that population explosion will pose a great danger to the future of human society. Growing population makes nonsense of all progress and development. There is no alternative to voluntary family planning. The population of India is more than 100 crores today. It is more than the entire population of Africa and South America put together. No progress is possible here unless population control is given topmost priority. We have to make a choice—either control population or perpetuate poverty.