Word Meaning, Summary, Important Questions Of Chapter 4 Journey to the End of the Earth | Class 12

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Journey to the End of the Earth’ by Tishani Doshi describes the journey to the coldest, driest and windiest continent in the world: Antarctica. The world’s geological history is trapped in Antarctica. Geoff Green’s ‘Students on Ice’ program aims at taking high school students to the ends of the world. Doshi thinks that Antarctica is the place to go and understand the earth’s present, past and future.

Short Summary Of Chapter 4 Journey to the End of the Earth In English

The narrator boarded a Russian research ship-The Akademik Shokalskiy. It was heading towards the coldest, driest and the windiest continent in the world, Antarctica. His journey began 13.09 degrees north of the Equator in Madras (Chennai). He crossed nine time zones, six checkpoints, three bodies of water and at least three ecospheres. He travelled over 100 hours in car, airplane and ship to reach there. Six hundred and fifty million years ago a giant southern supercontinent Gondwana did indeed exist. It centred roughly around present-day Antarctica. Human beings hadn’t arrived on the global scene. The climate at that time was much warmer. It had a huge variety of flora and fauna. When the dinosaurs became totally extinct and the age of mammals began, the landmass was forced to separate into countries as they exist today.

The purpose of the visit was to know more about Antarctica. It is to understand the significance of Cordilleran folds and pre-Cambrian granite shields; ozone and carbon; evolution and extinction. Ninety per cent of the earth’s total ice volumes are stored in Antarctica. Icebergs are as big as countries. Days go on and on in 24-hour austral summer light. The most hotly contested debate of our time is whether West Antarctica Ice sheet will melt entirely or not. If we want to study the earth’s past, present and future, Antarctica is the place to go. Antarctica has a simple eco-system and lacks biodiversity. It is the perfect place to study how little changes in the environment can have big results. Scientists warn that a further depletion of the ozone layer will affect the lives of the sea-animals and birds of the region. It will also affect the global carbon cycle. The burning of fossil fuels has polluted the atmosphere. It has created a blanket of carbon dioxide around the world. It is increasing the global temperature which is clearly visible at Antarctica when we see icebergs melting away. It shows how minor changes in the atmosphere can cause huge effect. If the global temperature keeps on increasing the human race may be in grave danger.

“Students on Ice” is a programme which provides the students ample opportunity to understand how global temperature can be a big threat to human existence. It inculcates a new understanding in them. Geoff Green thinks that high school students are the future policy makers. They can help in saving the earth from ecological dangers and the effects of global warming.

The author further gives us an example showing how small changes in the atmosphere can be threatening. The microscopic phytoplanktons are single celled plants. They nourish the entire Southern Ocean’s food chain. They use the sun’s energy to assimilate carbon and supply oxygen. Any further depletion in the ozone layer may affect this functioning and indirectly affect the lives of all marine animals. Walk on the ocean was the most thrilling experience of the visit. They climbed down the gangplank and walked on the ocean. They were 52 people. They were walking on a meter-thick ice-pack. Under the ice-pack there was 180 meters of living, breathing, salt water. Seals were enjoying themselves in the sun on ice. The narrator was wondering about the beauty of the place. He wished it would not become a warm place as it used to be millions of years ago. If it happens, the result can be ruinous.

Important Previous Year Questions From Chapter 4 Journey to the End of the Earth

SAI (2 marks)

  1. How is Antarctica different from the place you live in? (2020)

LA II (6 marks)

  1. What are phytoplankton? How are they important to our ecosystem? (2020)

SAI (2 marks)

  1. What is ‘Students on Ice?
  2. Why did Geoff Green decide to take high school students to Antarctica?
  3. Why is Students on Ice program a success?
  4. Why are the youngsters called the future policy makers of the earth?
  5. How do geological phenomena help us to know about the history of humankind?
  6. What are the indications for the future of humankind?

LA II (6 marks)

  1. How is the study of Antarctica useful to us?
  2. What lessons can be learnt from an expedition to Antarctica?

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Answer Of Chapter 4 Journey to the End of the Earth ​ For The Above Questions

  1. Antarctica is totally different from where I reside. It’s a land with layers and layers of ice with very little form of life. It doesn’t snow here where I live and the summer temperatures rise to more than 40 degree Celsius. It’s more habitable than the harsh climate and simple ecosystem of Antarctica .
  2. Phytoplankton is a single-celled grass that feed the entire southern ocean’s marine life. It is the main form of vegetation and source of food in the entire southern ocean. Through the process of photosynthesis they provide food and oxygen to all the marine life at the sea. They convert the carbon dioxide into food and water with the help of sunlight. These tiny plants require a low degree of temperature for their survival. But due to the global warming, ozone layers are depleting which filter harmful UV rays of the sun. The rise in temperature adversely affects their activities. If phytoplankton cannot thrive, the whole of marine animals will be at risk too. The chain reaction will not just stop there, this will lead to bigger problems for the ecosystem. Any imbalance in the ecosystem means a threat to all living beings on the planet.

Answers for Questions for Excellence

  1. ‘Students on Ice’ is an educational expedition to Antarctica. It takes high school students to show them the terrifying impacts of human activities in Antarctica so that, the students will realize that the end of the earth is quite near and therefore something should be done to save the planet.
  2. Geoff Green didn’t find any good in taking curious celebrities to Antarctica until he thought of taking high school students. He believed that the high school students are the real future policy makers of the earth and the young enthusiasm in them would easily understand the seriousness of the threat that poses the earth by visiting Antarctica and they would act their bit to save the planet from further deterioration.
  3. When one stands in the midst of the calving ice-sheets, retreating glaciers and melting icebergs, one realizes that the threats to the earth are real. It is different and way more pragmatic from talking about Antarctica from the comfort zones of our warm countries and therefore being in Antarctica is a shocking realization.
  4. The youngsters according to Geoff Green are the future policy-makers because it is them who will bring substantial changes as they grow up. More than that, the more educated youth of today is the hope for the earth as many students are more informed and more aware of the weakening strength of the planet.
  5. Geological phenomena certainly helps us to know about the history of humankind. A giant southern supercontinent- Gondwana did exist 650 million years ago. The climate was much warmer. It had a huge variety of flora and fauna. Gondwana thrived for 500 million years. Finally, it broke in to separate countries as they exist today. It was the Stage when dinosaurs were wiped out and the age of mammals started.
  6. Rapid human population growth and limited resources exert pressure on land. Burning of fossil Fuels has only helped in increasing the average global temperature. Melting of ice-caps, depletion S of the ozone layer and global warming are the real and immediate dangers for mankind. They will affect the lives of all the marine animals and the birds of the region.
  7. The world’s geological history is trapped in Antarctica. Therefore, the study of Antarctica shows that India and Antarctica were part of a supercontinent named Gondwana. This supercontinent existed 650 million years ago. The climate of Gondwana was much warmer. It fostered a huge variety of flora and fauna. Then about 150 million years ago, dinosaurs were wiped out. The age of mammals started. Gondwana was forced to separate into countries. The globe was shaped much as we know it today. A cold circumpolar current was created. It made Antarctica frigid.
  8. While in Antarctica, one can witness the ice sheets breaking, water level rising, seals taking sun bath on the ice floes. One can also walk on the thin layers of ice and feel the life under ones feet. One can see icebergs as big as a small country. And earlier these ice sheets were many times bigger than their present size. One can see a green patch of phytoplankton – a microscopic grass that feeds the entire marine life. Lastly, if one can get a chance to dig a bit, one can be lucky to see the fossils of half a million years old animals, plants and birds that got killed in the previous ice-age. This way one can learn the lesson of the slow impending death of the planet earth and therefore take some constructive actions to save it from its doom.

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