Journey to the End of the World | Summary | Tishani Doshi | Neb English Support

Neb English Support 

Journey to the End of the World | Summary | Tishani Doshi | Neb English Support


This chapter is about an interesting travelogue from the third chapter of the book Vistas of class 12 which is "Journey to the End of the Earth". This travelogue has been written by Tishani Doshi, an Indian poet, journalist and writer. This chapter has presented various facts related to our planet Earth. The writer herself is the main narrator. She is the main character who has told all her readers about our planet's ecology and its change. She has even related about the adverse effects of ecological change on all living beings. The title of this chapter "Journey to the End of the Earth" refers to the journey to the final part of this planet which is the largest, coldest, driest and windiest continent in the world. Antarctica continent is located in the South Pole of this planet. Before starting her travelogue, the writer has recommended an important place for all her readers. According to her, if you want to know about our planet's past, present and future, Antarctica is the right place to go. The writer has presented three different parts of her program here in this chapter. 

Number First: Part of History

Numbers Second: Human Impact

Number Third: Walk on the Ocean.

The writer begins with the journey of Antarctica. According to her, her program was called "Students on Ice." That program was led by Canadian professor Geoff Green. There were altogether 52 members in that program. According to the writer, she started her journey from Madras. It began 13.09 degrees north of the equator in Madras. From Madras, it took a hundred hours for her to reach Antarctica via car, aeroplane and Russian vessel called Akademik Shokalskiy. In her journey, she crossed nine time zones, six checkpoints, three bodies of water, and at least as many ecospheres.


When they reached Antarctica, she felt quite a relief to find a white landscape around and an uninterrupted blue horizon. She was even quite surprised by the fact that there was once a time when India and Antarctica were geographically connected. Next, the writer starts talking about part of history related to Antarctica. According to the writer, six hundred and fifty million years ago, both India and Antarctica were on the same continent called Gondwana. The situation of that continent was quite different then. There were no humans at all. The climate of the Gondwana continent was warmer due to which varieties of flora (plants) and fauna (animals) were there. The Gondwana continent flourished for 500 million years until the dinosaurs became extinct and human beings came into existence. After that, the supercontinent Gondwana was divided into multiple parts. Antarctica only remained in the Gondwana continent that moved towards the bottom of the earth at the South Pole due to the high cold cranes Antarctica started changing into ice mass. From that period up to now, there is no record of human settlement in Antarctica due to extreme coldness. Later on, the writer starts talking about the importance of the Antarctica continent. According to her, Antarctica is an integral part of our history. It is the right place to know about our history of origin, the present and even the future. Antarctica is the best place to research and understand mountain ranges, low-elevation continents, ozone and carbon evolution and extinction. Antarctica is capable of providing surprising insight into the future.

To be there in Antarctica, was a quite different experience for her. She felt quite difficult to live there in Antarctica not for herself but for anyone in such a landscape where 90% of ice volumes are stored. For her, it is impossible to live in Antarctica in her imagination - due to its climate. This place is untouched as well as unhabituated up to now. According to the writer, the experience of Antarctica makes anyone forget about all the other things. There are no trees, billboards, buildings etc. We can find small and big creatures living near such as midges and mites, seals, penguins, white polar bears, blue whales etc. There are so many big icebergs like countries. The southern summer light can be seen the whole 24 hours here. Antarctica gives sunlight non-stop for six months whereas it remains dark as well as light lasts for six months. The main reason behind this is that our Earth revolves around the sun for 12 months. The earth is tilted at 23.5 degrees on its axis that's why the South Pole faces the sun for six months whereas the North Pole faces the Sun for six months.

There is silence everywhere but the silence can be interrupted by an avalanche or ice sheet breaking. According to the writer, the human future in Antarctica isn't good. Later on, the writer starts talking about human impact. According to the writer, the human civilization on earth started 12,000 years earlier. This period is quite short in comparison to Earth's history. This is quite a short period if we watch it in a geological clock. Within a short period, human beings have created their dominance over nature by making villages, towns, cities, and megacities. Human beings are on the way to fighting with other species in the matter of using natural resources. Due to the excessive use of fossil fuels, human beings have created a blanket of carbon dioxide around the world. Due to this excessive carbon dioxide, the world's temperature is also increasing. The writer states that if we want to study and examine our planet's past, present and future, we have to move to the right place which is Antarctica. She has put forward two important facts related to Antarctica saying that Antarctica is quite pure and untouched. 1/2 million carbon records are trapped inside the layer of Antarctica.

Due to the unwanted activities of human beings, most of the species are dying out. In the modern world, it has been proved that minor changes in the atmosphere can cause huge effects. In the present time, human beings are burning out excessive fossil fuels. This excessive carbon dioxide plays a very vital role in the depletion of the ozone layer.

Note: The ozone layer is a sealed or deep layer in the stratosphere encircling the earth that has a large amount of ozone O3. This layer protects the Earth from ultraviolet rays that come out from the sun. The ozone layer is depleted through various substances that are emitted from various factories or industries. These substances are halo carbons, refrigerant solvents, foam-growing agents like chlorofluorocarbon, Halons etc. The ultraviolet rays are quite harmful to our body and cause skin cancer, sunburn, cataracts etc. Due to the greenhouse, there is an average temperature on Earth. Greenhouse maintains average warmth in the Earth which is 49 degrees Fahrenheit or 9.444 degree Celsius.

However, due to burning excessive fossil fuels, the carbon gases trap Earth's heat inside. Due to this, the temperature rise is seen in Earth's average temperature causing global warming and change in ecology. Due to global warming, most of the glaciers of the mountains, Himalayas, and Antarctica continent have started melting down and the sea level also rises. Due to this imbalance in sea level, most of the sea creatures die out. Due to global warming, disasters like flooding, soil erosion, landslides, earthquakes, and tsunamis are seen here on this planet. The adverse effects on human beings, animals, plants, and sea creatures are seen. Climate change also brings a lot of problems for all living beings. The writer says that minor changes in the atmosphere can cause huge effects. If global warming keeps on increasing, the human race may be in peril. The writer gives examples of the effects of climate change. According to her, minor changes in the atmosphere can be threatening. The writer gives an example of single-celled plants called phytoplanktons. These plants use sun energy to assimilate carbon and supply oxygen. Most of the species of Antarctica depend on these plants and further depletion of the ozone layer may affect these plants which indirectly affects the lives of marine animals. Here students on Ice program, the high school students got a chance to learn how global warming can be a great threat to human existence. Professor Geoff Green only selected school students in this program.

According to him, high school students are future policymakers of their nations. They can help in saving our planet from ecological dangers and the effects of global warming in the future.

Finally, the writer talks about the thriller experience of walking on ice. While returning, the team found a big iceberg. Professor Geoff Green asked all the students to walk on that iceberg. While walking on that iceberg, all the students were surprised to know the fact that they were walking on a meter-thick ice plank under which there was a great ocean of 180 meters deep. Finally, the writer hoped that Antarctica would not become a warm place as it used to be millions of years ago. 

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