Journey To The End of The Earth NCERT Textbook PDF

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Journey To The End Of The Earth

Chapter 3: Journey To The End Of The Earth

Six hundred and fifty million years ago, a giant amalgamated southern supercontinent Gondwana — did indeed exist, centered roughly around present-day Antarctica.

Things were quite different then: humans hadn’t arrived on the global scene, and the climate was much warmer, hosting a huge variety of flora and fauna.

For 500 million years Gondwana thrived, but around the time when the dinosaurs were wiped out and the age of the mammals got underway, the landmass was forced to separate into countries, shaping the globe much as we know it today.

To visit Antarctica now is to be a part of that history; to get a grasp of where we’ve come from and where we could possibly be heading.

It’s to understand the significance of Cordilleran folds and pre-Cambrian granite shields; ozone and carbon; evolution and extinction. When you think about all that can happen in a million years, it can get pretty mind-boggling.

Imagine: India pushing northwards, jamming against Asia to buckle its crust and form the Himalayas; South America drifting off to join North America, opening up the Drake Passage to create a cold circumpolar current, keeping Antarctica frigid, desolate, and at the bottom of the world.

For a sun-worshipping South Indian like myself, two weeks in a place where 90 percent of the Earth’s total ice volumes are stored is a chilling prospect (not just for circulatory and metabolic functions, but also for the imagination).

It’s like walking into a giant ping-pong ball devoid of any human markers — no trees, billboards, buildings.

You lose all earthly sense of perspective and time here. The visual scale ranges from the microscopic to the mighty: midges and mites to blue whales and icebergs as big as countries (the largest recorded was the size of Belgium).

Days go on and on and on in surreal 24-hour austral summer light, and a ubiquitous silence, interrupted only by the occasional avalanche or calving ice sheet, consecrates the place.

It’s an immersion that will force you to place yourself in the context of the earth’s geological
history. And for humans, the prognosis isn’t good.

Human civilizations have been around for a paltry 12,000 years — barely a few seconds on the geological clock. In that short amount of time, we’ve managed to create quite a ruckus, etching our dominance over Nature with our villages, towns, cities, and megacities.

The rapid increase of human populations has left us battling with other species for limited resources, and the unmitigated burning of fossil fuels has now created a blanket of carbon dioxide around the world, which is slowly but surely increasing the average global temperature.

Climate change is one of the most hotly contested environmental debates of our time. Will the West Antarctic ice sheet melt entirely?

Will the Gulf Stream ocean current be disrupted? Will it be the end of the world as we know it? Maybe. Maybe not.

Either way, Antarctica is a crucial element in this debate — not just because it’s the only place in the world, which has never sustained a human population and therefore remains relatively ‘pristine’ in this respect; but more importantly, because it holds in its ice-cores half-million-year-old carbon records trapped in its layers of ice.

If we want to study and examine the Earth’s past, present, and future, Antarctica is the place to go.

Students on Ice, the program I was working with on the Shokalskiy, aims to do exactly this by taking high school students to the ends of the world and providing them with inspiring educational opportunities which will help them foster a new understanding and respect for our planet.

It’s been in operation for six years now, headed by Canadian Geoff Green, who got tired of carting celebrities and retired, rich, curiosity-seekers who could only ‘give’ back in a limited way.

With Students on Ice, he offers the future generation of policy-makers a life-changing experience at an age when they’re ready to absorb, learn, and most importantly, act.

The reason the program has been so successful is that it’s impossible to go anywhere near the South Pole and not be affected by it.

It’s easy to be blasé about polar ice-caps melting while sitting in the comfort zone of our respective latitude and longitude, but when you can visibly see glaciers retreating and ice shelves collapsing, you begin to realize that the threat of global warming is very real.

Language English
No. of Pages6
PDF Size0.7 MB

NCERT Solutions Class 12 English Chapter 3 Journey To The End Of The Earth

1. ‘The world’s geological history is trapped in Antarctica.’ How is the study of this region useful to /\


The world’s geological history is indeed trapped in Antarctica. The study of the region of Antarctica gives us insight into the world’s geological history.

This is because the current world is battling with a growing population and the extreme burning of fossil fuels has formed a blanket of carbon dioxide around the earth, which is the main cause of global temperature or warming. 

Antarctica is a crucial element in the debate on climate change because it is relatively ‘pristine’.

It is because 650 million years ago Gondwana land existed in the south part of the earth where Antarctica is currently situated. It contains a rich variety of flora and fauna.

For 500 million years Gondwana flourished, later landmass was forced to separate into countries, shaping the globe, much as we know it today.

All secrets are embedded in the layers of the ice in the form of 500-million-year-old carbon records. Hence, to study earth’s past Antarctica is the best place.

2. What are Geoff Green’s reasons for including high school students in the Students on Ice expedition?


Geoff Green took the high school students to one end of the world, to give them the chance to develop respect and knowledge for the earth.

He included high school students in the ice expedition because with students on the ice expedition he offered the future policymakers to experience how difficult it would have been for the earth to sustain life by raising its warmth.

At a younger age when the process of good values develops in their life, it will also assist them in knowing more about their planet.

3. ‘Take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves.’ What is the relevance of this statement in the context of the Antarctic environment?


‘Take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves.’ is a relevant statement to the Antarctic environment.

A small environmental change can give rise to dramatic developments. Because of the small biodiversity and simple ecosystem, Antarctica is the best place to study the small changes in the environment that give big consequences.

For example, consider the microscopic phytoplankton these grasses of the sea that feed and support the entire Southern Ocean’s food chain.

These single-celled plants use the sun’s energy to absorb carbon dioxide and manufacture organic compounds and the most important of processes is called photosynthesis.

Scientists caution that more depletion in the ozone layer will affect the activities of phytoplankton, which in turn affect the marine life’s food chain.

From this example of the phytoplankton, there is a great metaphor for existence: take care of the small things and the big things will fall into place.

NCERT Class 12 English Textbook Chapter 3 Journey To The End Of The Earth With Answer PDF Free Download

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