The Ailing Planet, Explanation, Line by Line, Meaning of Difficult Words, English CBSE Class 11 NCERT Hornbill Chapter 5



Author – Nani Palkhivala

a holistic and ecological view Over all view toward environment and living beings
sustainable development Development that can be maintained
languish Remain un-noticed
ignominious darkness Disgracefully unknown
inter alia Among other things, Apart from
decimated Destroyed to a large extent
catastrophic depletion Terrible reduction, Disastrous decrease
transcending concern Extraordinary anxiety



Word Meaning
Gripped Caught, Affected
Entire Complete
Human race Human beings
Rapidly Quickly

The green Movement was started about 25 years ago. It has completely and quickly caught attention of entire human beings. No other movement has ever affected imagination of human beings so quickly.



The first national level organisation for Green Movement was established in New Zealand in 1972. Since then the movement has further grown and developed.. It has not receded.



Word Meaning
Irrevocably That cannot be changed
Mechanistic view Mechanical opinion without emotions
Holistic Over all perspective, Broader thoughts
Ecological Related to environment and all living beings
Perception Understanding
Revolutionary New, Causing a big change, Creative

One should hope that the humankind has now changed its approach and it will not return to old thought of considering life as being only mechanical. The new approach now has an overall perspective that includes all living beings and environment. This change is a very big change indeed. It can be as big a change as was taught by Copernicus. In sixteenth century he had said the earth and other planets revolved around the sun.



Word Meaning
Growing Increasing
Consciousness Awareness
Enormous Huge
Metabolic Process of living and life
Vital Important
Preserved Saved, Protected,

In the history of human beings, for the first time, awareness about earth is increasing. The earth is being considered as a huge living being and we are a small part of it. We have understood that the earth also has its requirement to sustain life on it. And such process needs to be respected and protected.



Word Meaning
Reveal Show, Indicate, Disclose
Declining Decreasing, Reducing, Deteriorating
Ethical Moral
Obligations Duties
Steward Care taker
Trustee Administrator, Custodian
Legacy Tradition , Inheritance, heritage

The important aspects about the earth are indicating that its health is deteriorating. We have started to understand our moral duties as a good caretaker of this planet. We should act like a responsible custodian to hander over heritage of earth to future generations.



Word Meaning
Concept Idea
Sustainable development Development that can be maintained

The idea of development that can be maintained without harming future became popular in 1987. This concept was given by the World Commission on Environment and Development.



Word Meaning
Compromising Damaging, Adversely affecting
Stripping Removing, Depriving

This concept was defines as the development that meets requirement of the present generation without adversely affecting the ability of future generation to meet their needs. Which means that present generation should not deprive the future generation of the natural resources they would need.




Lusaka is a city in a country by the name of Zambia. At the cage of a zoo in Lusaka a notice has been put up. It reads ‘The world’s most dangerous animal. No animal has been put in that cage. It has a mirror. A visitor sees his/her own image. The message is that man is the most dangerous animal in the world.



Word Meaning
Dawned Surfaced, Emerged
Domination Authority, Tyranny

Several agencies in different countries have made efforts to create awareness about this new concept. Thus a new awareness has emerged in the most dangerous animal of the world – the human being. Human beings have now understood that it is wise to move away from the system based on authority to concept of partnership.



Word Meaning
Catalogued Tabulated, Identified
Species Creatures
Reckon Believe, Of the opinion
Languish Remain un-noticed
Ignominious Humiliating, Disgraceful

Scientist have identified and tabulated about 1.4 million creatures living on the earth. They share the earth with human beings. There is huge variation about how many more creatures are yet to be identified. Biologist are of the opinion that about three to four hundred million species are yet to be identified. They remain un-noticed which can be considered a humiliating disgrace to those creature.




Word Meaning
Inter alia Among other things, Apart from, In addition to
Distinguished Famous, Eminent, Prominent

Brandt Commission was one of the earliest international commission that examined aspects of ecology and environment also. It had examined many other aspects also. A famous Inidan Mr. L.K. Jha was also a member of this commission.



Word Meaning
Raised Asked
Successors Those coming later
Scorched Burnt, Very hot
Advancing Increasing, Spreading
Impoverished Made Poor
Ailing Sick, Unhealthy

In its first report Brandt Commission asked a question. For our future generation are we going to leave a very hot planet? A planet where deserts will increase, the greenery would be less and an unhealthy environment.



Word Meaning
Thoughtful Full of good thought
Principal Main
Foundation Basis
Fisheries Marine life, Species living in water

Mr. Lester R brown has written a book titled Global Economic Prospect. This book is full of several thoughts. In this book he tells that there are four main biological systems at earth – marine life, forests, land for grass and land for crops. These four systems are foundations for the economic well-being of the world.




Word Meaning
Virtually Practically
Unsustainable That continue at the present level
Impaired Damaged, Reduced

These four systems provide food for all species. Practically these provide all the material for industry except that for mineral industry and petroleum industry. In most of the areas of the world, human beings have taken away too much from these systems. In those areas these  systems may not survive for a long time. Growth of these systems has been reduced.



Word Meaning
Barren Unproductive, Infertile
Deteriorate Decay, Reduce
Over-fishing Catching more fish from water

When such situation occurs, marine life reduces to a great extent, forests disappear, grasslands are converted into unproductive useless land and fields for farming reduces. The world is aware about requirement of protein and so it consumes more protein than needed. Thus catching huge amount of fish from water is quite common.



Word Meaning
Decimate Destroy a large proportion
Firewood Wood used for cooking food

In poor countries, forests have been destroyed to great extent to procure firewood. In some places firewood has become very costly. Cost of firewood has become more costly than the cost of food items.




Word Meaning
Tropical forest Forest between two tropics, Forest of hot climate
Powerhouse Main source
Evolution Development, Formation
Extinction Destruction, Death

Dr. Myers says that forests of hot climatic region is the main source of development of species. Thus destruction of these forests would result into death of several species of life.



Word Meaning
Precede To arrive before
Patrimony Heritage, Property received from ancestors
Eroding Getting destroyed
Dung Manure, Excreta of animal
Deprive Deny

It is wisely said that before human beings earth had large forests. And after mankind earth will be full of deserts. The old heritage of tropical forests are getting destroyed at the rate of 40 to 50 million acres per year. Due to shortage of firewood, animal excreta is also being used as firewood, though it is a natural fertilizer. Hence soil is not getting manure to increase its fertility.



Word Meaning
Five-fold Five times
Cope with To overcome a problem, To deal with

The world has estimated that speed of planting trees needs to be increased five times. Then only we will be able to deal with expected requirement of fire wood in the year 2000.



Word Meaning
The other day Sometime ago, On some day

James Speth is the president of World Resources Institute. Some time ago he said that forests were decreasing at the rate of one acre per second. But now  the rate of decrease could be about one and a half acre per second.



Word Meaning
Provide Prescribe, Specify
Endeavour To make efforts, Try
Safeguard Protect
Wildlife Animals, birds etc living in forest

The article 48 A of the Indian Constitution specifies that government will make efforts to protect and improve environment. It will also protect forest and wildlife of the country.



Word Meaning
Endless Never ending
Anguish Sorrow, Grief
For instance For example
Abolish To stop, To end
Flourish To increase, To continue

But it is matter of never ending grief that laws are not respected nor applied in India. For example Indian Constitution says that casteism, untouchability and practice of bonded labour should be stopped in India. But without any feeling of shame, these practices continue in India even after forty years of implementing the Constitution.



Word Meaning
Recent New, Current, Fresh
Highlighted Drawn attention, Emphasised
Catastrophic Terrible, Disastrous
Depletion Reduction, Decrease
Reliable Dependable, Authentic

A new report from our Parliament’s Estimates Committee has drawn attention to disastrous reduction of forests in India during last 40 years. According to authentic data, forests in India are reducing by about 3.7 million acres per year.



Large areas which are officially called as forest land is practically without any trees. It is estimated that actual loss of forest is about eight time the rate of depletion provided by government.



Word Meaning
Aerial photography Photos taken while flying over the area
Investigated Inspected, Analysed, Studied

A study of three year duration has been conducted by United Nations. Satellites and aerial photography has been used in this study. It has studied condition of 88 countries. The study says that in most of these countries condition of environment has been damaged severely.



Word Meaning
Factor Reason
Distort Damage, Twist,

Certainly the increase in population of the world is the biggest reason in damaging future of human society. In one million years population of the world reached one billion. The population reached this number around the year 1800.



From 1800 to 1900 population increased by one more billion. Thus in 1900 the world population became two million. At present world population is about 5.7 billion. World population increases by one million in four days.



Word Meaning
Fertility Rate of increase of population
Contraceptive Method to prevent population increase

When income rises, education spreads, health improves and rate of increase of population reduces. Hence development of society is the best method to reduce rate of population increase. But if the number of people goes on increasing, development of society may not be possible.



Word Meaning
Beget Produce, Generate
Condemns Sentences, Forced into

The rich person would get richer. Children of poor people are forced to remain poor. Having more children does not mean that we would have more workers. It means that we will have more people without work.



Word Meaning
Suggest Recommend
Cattle Animal
Sterlised Made unproductive
An element of Some amount of
Coercion Force, Compulsion
Perpetuation Continuation

It is not recommended that human beings should be treated like animals and made unproductive. But voluntary family planning would certainly need some amount of compulsion. We would need to choose one of the two options – either control population or increase poverty.



Word Meaning
Familiar Known

Presently population of India is estimated to be about 920 million. It more than the combined population of Africa and South America. Everybody who knows conditions of India is sure that population control needs to be given highest priority in India. Otherwise people of India may die due to poverty and hunger.



Word Meaning
Transcending Increasing, Extraordinary
Holistic Overall

In the history of human being an increasing concern is being seen for the first time. People are talking about survival of the complete planet rather than only of human beings. We have started taking an overall view about our existence.



Word Meaning
Demise Death
Passport Path, Key
Emerging Growing, Developing,
Ushered in Started
Era Period, Age

The present problem of environment may not definitely mean that all human beings will be eliminated from the earth. But environment is the path or key for our future. This growing new thought has started a new period or age of responsibility.



Word Meaning
Integrated Combined
Dissociated Separated

This is an overall view towards ecology. It is about considering the complete world as one instead of collection of separate parts.



Word Meaning
Crucial Important
Transformation Change
Effected Made

Industry needs to play the most important role in the period of responsibility. A great change can be made if every businessman followed the views of Chairman of Du Pont Mr S Woolard. Five years ago he had declared that he was the Chief Environmental Officer of his organisation.



Word Meaning
Leading Prominent

He said that to continue to exist as the prominent manufacturer, it was necessary to do excellent work in environmental aspects.



Word Meaning
Decisively Convincingly
Felicitous Appropriate, Suitable

Margret Thatcher had made several statements when she was Prime Minister. One of her statements is considered as the most appropriate statement in English language about environment. She said that nobody is the owner of this earth. We all have come here as a tenant for our life time. It is our duty to repair whatever damage we cause to earth.



Word Meaning
Inherited Received from ancestors

Mr. Lester brown has said that we have not received this earth from our ancestors as our own property. We have borrowed it from our children. We must return it to them in good condition.




1 Comment

Abcdef · January 24, 2022 at 8:01 pm

This was really helpful

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