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

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

Journey to the End of the World


Journey to the End of the World

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 changes. She has even talked 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. The Antarctic continent is located at 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 programme 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 to Antarctica. According to her, her programme 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 in 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 a 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 relieved to find a white landscape around her 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 a 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 on that continent was quite different then. There were no humans at all. The climate of the Gondwana continent was warmer due to the variety of flora (plants) and fauna (animals) 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 on the Gondwana continent, which moved towards the bottom of the earth at the South Pole. Due to the high, cold temperatures, Antarctica started changing into an ice mass. From that period up until now, there has been no record of human settlement in Antarctica due to the extreme coldness. Later on, the writer starts talking about the importance of the Antarctic continent. According to her, Antarctica is an integral part of our history. It is the right place to learn 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.

Being there in Antarctica was quite a different experience for her. She felt it was 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 has been untouched and unhabituated up until 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 for the whole 24 hours here. Antarctica gives sunlight non-stop for six months, whereas it remains dark and 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 an 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, 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 on a geological clock. Within a short period of time, 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 Antarctica layer.

Due to the unwanted activities of human beings, most of the species are dying out. In the modern world, it has been proven 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 of the sun. The ozone layer is depleted by various substances that are emitted from various factories or industries. These substances are halocarbons, 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. The greenhouse maintains average warmth on Earth, which is 49 degrees Fahrenheit or 9.444 degrees 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 changes in ecology. Due to global warming, most of the glaciers in the mountains, Himalayas, and Antarctica have started melting down, and the sea level has also risen. 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 a single-celled plant called phytoplankton. These plants use solar energy to assimilate carbon and supply oxygen. Most of the species in Antarctica depend on these plants, and further depletion of the ozone layer may affect these plants, which indirectly affects the lives of marine animals. On the Ice programme, 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 for this programme.

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

Finally, the writer talks about the thrilling 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 that they were walking on a metre-thick ice plank under which there was a great ocean 180 metres deep. Finally, the writer hoped that Antarctica would not become as warm as it used to be millions of years ago.


Journey to the End of the World

Question 1. How do geological phenomena help us learn about the history of mankind?


Geological phenomena help us offer insights into mankind's history by revealing past environmental conditions, changes in land formations, and the evolution of life.

Question 2. What kind of indications do we get while visiting Antarctica to save Earth?


While visiting Antarctica to save Earth, Antarctica provides indications of the Earth's fragility, highlighting the urgent need to conserve its pristine environment and combat climate change.

Question 3. How can a visit to Antarctica be an enlightening experience?


A visit to Antarctica can be an enlightening experience as it exposes individuals to untouched landscapes, diverse wildlife, and the impact of climate change, fostering a deeper understanding of environmental preservation.

Question 4. Why is a visit to Antarctica important to realise the effects of global warming?


A visit to Antarctica is important to realise the effect of global warming as it serves as a barometer for climate change, displaying the effects of melting ice, rising sea levels, and shifts in ecosystems.

Question 5. How is Antarctica a crucial element in the debate on climate change?


Antarctica plays a crucial role in the debate on climate change by showcasing the direct consequences of global warming, such as melting ice caps and impacting worldwide climate patterns.

Question 6. What was the objective of the ‘Students on Ice Programme’?


The objective of the 'Students on Ice Programme' was to educate and inspire high school students about environmental issues, fostering future leaders to address ecological challenges.

Question 7. Why is Antarctica and its understanding important for the survival of the world?


Antartica and its understanding are important for the survival of the world because they hold crucial information about Earth's history, climate patterns, and the potential consequences of human actions.

Question 8. What are the indications for the future of humankind?


The indications for the future of humankind lie in studying Antarctica's untouched environment, revealing the consequences of climate change, and emphasising the need for sustainable practices.

Question 9. How did Antarctica amaze the writer when she first saw it?


Antarctica amazed the writer with its stark landscape, uninterrupted blue horizon, and the realisation that India and Antarctica were once geographically connected.

Question 10. Why was Tishani Doshi filled with relief and wonder when she set foot on the Antarctic continent?


Tishani Doshi felt relief and wonder upon setting foot on Antarctica due to its pristine beauty, unique ecology, and the realisation of its untouched state.

Question 11. Why is Antarctica the place to go if we want to study the earth’s past, present, and future?


Antarctica is the ideal place to study Earth's past, present, and future, as it provides a historical record, showcases current environmental conditions, and offers insights into potential future scenarios.

Question 12. What were the writer’s feelings about reaching Antarctica?


The writer's feelings on reaching Antarctica included difficulty imagining life in such extreme conditions and recognising the immense challenge of living in the continent's harsh climate.

Question 13. What sort of brightness and silence prevailed in Antarctica during the summer?


During summer in Antarctica, perpetual brightness and silence prevail, interrupted only by occasional natural phenomena like avalanches or breaking ice sheets.

Question 14. What do you think is the reason behind the success of the programme ‘Students on Ice’?


The success of the 'Students on Ice' programme lies in its ability to engage high school students, providing them with firsthand experiences in Antarctica and empowering them as future environmental stewards.

Question 15. Why does the author of Journey to the End of the Earth state that in 12,000 years, man has managed to create a ruckus on this earth?


The author of Journey to the End of the Earth states that in 12000 years, man has managed to create a ruckus on this earth because, in 12,000 years, humans have rapidly disrupted the Earth's balance through urbanisation, resource exploitation, and the excessive burning of fossil fuels, causing ecological disturbances.

Question 16.How was Antarctica a chilling prospect for a South Indian, Tishani Doshi?


Antarctica was a chilling prospect for South Indian Tishani Doshi due to its extreme cold, untouched wilderness, and the stark contrast to her familiar, warmer environment.

2. Answer the following question in about 125–150 words.

Question 17. How was the programme ‘Students on Ice' an attempt to equip future generations with knowledge to save Earth?


The 'Students on Ice' programme aimed to equip the future generation with the knowledge to save Earth by providing them with firsthand experiences in Antarctica. This initiative exposed students to the environmental challenges the Earth faces, emphasising the importance of conservation and sustainable practices. Through direct engagement with the pristine Antarctic environment, students gained insights into the impacts of climate change, the fragility of ecosystems, and the urgency of global environmental stewardship. The programme instilled a sense of responsibility in the participants, empowering them to become advocates for Earth's preservation and inspiring future leaders committed to addressing ecological issues.

Question 18. The world’s geological history is trapped in Antarctica. How is the study of this region useful to us?


The study of Antarctica is useful as it holds the world's geological history, offering a unique record of Earth's past climate, ecosystems, and geological transformations. The continent's ice layers encapsulate essential information about historical atmospheric conditions, biodiversity, and environmental changes. By analysing Antarctic ice cores, scientists can decipher patterns of climate variations, study ancient species, and understand the planet's evolution. This research aids in unravelling the intricate connections between Earth's past and present, contributing valuable insights for addressing contemporary environmental challenges and guiding future conservation efforts.

Question 19. What are phytoplankton? How are they important to our ecosystem?


Phytoplankton are microscopic, single-celled plants that use solar energy for photosynthesis, assimilating carbon, and producing oxygen. They are vital to the ecosystem as they form the base of the marine food chain, providing sustenance for various aquatic organisms. Phytoplankton play a crucial role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by absorbing it during photosynthesis. Their abundance influences oceanic carbon cycles, impacting global climate patterns. Additionally, phytoplankton contribute significantly to oxygen production, making them essential for maintaining the balance of Earth's atmosphere and supporting diverse marine life.

Question 20. The author calls her two-week stay in Antarctica ‘a chilling prospect’. How far do you think she is justified? What other features of the Antarctic environment are highlighted?


Tishani Doshi justifies calling her two-week stay in Antarctica a "chilling prospect" due to the extreme cold, isolation, and starkness of the environment. The term encapsulates the challenging nature of living in Antarctica, where temperatures plummet and the landscape lacks the usual elements of habitable regions like trees, buildings, or even billboards. The perpetual brightness during summer, silence interrupted only by natural phenomena, and the absence of familiar features make Antarctica an unfamiliar and challenging environment. Doshi's choice of words reflects the harshness and unique characteristics of the Antarctic setting, highlighting the difficulty of imagining life in such an extreme and untouched landscape.

Question 21.Why does Tishani Doshi call her trip to Antarctica a “Journey to the End of the Earth”? What experience did she have during this expedition?


Tishani Doshi refers to her trip to Antarctica as a "Journey to the End of the Earth" because Antarctica is the southernmost continent, and reaching it feels like reaching the farthest reaches of the planet. The author experiences a sense of remoteness and isolation, emphasising the extreme conditions of this icy continent. During her expedition, she encounters pristine landscapes, untouched by human development, and witnesses the immense beauty of the Antarctic environment. The journey evokes a feeling of travelling to Earth's ultimate frontier, a place where nature reigns supreme and human influence is minimal.

Question 22. In what ways is the research on Antarctica helpful in the study and understanding of the Earth’s past and future, according to the author of ‘Journey to the End of the Earth’?


Research on Antarctica is helpful in studying and understanding Earth's past and future, according to the author of 'Journey to the End of the Earth,' as the continent serves as a natural archive. Antarctica's untouched environment preserves crucial information about past climates, biodiversity, and geological processes. By analysing ice cores, scientists can reconstruct historical climate patterns, gaining insights into Earth's evolution. The continent's pristine conditions offer a baseline for understanding natural ecosystems unaffected by human interference. Additionally, Antarctica's role as a barometer for climate change provides valuable data for predicting future environmental trends, making it a crucial resource for studying Earth's past and anticipating its future.


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