NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 5 the Ailing Planet: the Green Movement’s Role written by Nani Palkhivala updated for CBSE session 2022-23. Students of Class 11 can take the benefits of English Chapter 5 using the extra questions in Reading Skills section.

Locate the lines in the text that support the title ‘The Ailing Planet’.

Lines that support the title are:

    • The earth’s vital signs reveal a patient in declining health
    • Are we to leave our successors a scorched planet of advancing deserts, impoverished landscapes and ailing environment?
    • When this happens, fisheries collapse, forests disappear, grasslands are converted into barren wastelands, and croplands deteriorate.
    • The actual loss of forests is estimated to be about eight times the rate indicated by government statistics.

What does the notice “The World’s most dangerous animal” at a cage in the zoo at Lusaka, Zambia, signify?

This line, written on the notice board outside the cage in a zoo in Zambia, is written to tell the reality of humans. How human beings have destroyed the resources of earth and harmed the environment in order to fulfill their needs, right after the attainment of civilization. We are undoubtedly the biggest and most dangerous animals because there is no more danger to the earth than any other animal than us. We are responsible not only for our earth but also for the elimination of the entire human race. With this notice, the zoo management and administration is doing a great job of making people aware of nature.

How are the earth’s principal biological systems being depleted?

Mr. Lester R Brown, an American environmentalist through his book ‘The Global Economic Prospect’ lays importance on four prime biological systems which are – Fisheries, Forests, Grasslands and Croplands. He considers it as ‘four pillars of the global economic system’. Apart from supplying our food, they supply raw materials for industry. It is natural that these will extinct where there is uncontrolled human exploitation with resources. In such scenarios, fisheries may collapse and forests will disappear with descend in croplands & grasslands.

For the sake of obtaining firewood, enormous forests are cleared every day. Human beings have given the name of development to playing with the environment. In order to better understand the trouble, we have made for our biological system, we must look at science journals issued by Scientists across the globe after rigorous research in Antarctica for last two decades.

Are we to leave our successors a scorched planet of advancing deserts, impoverished landscapes and an ailing environment? Discuss.

Humans impact the physical environment in many ways: overpopulation, pollution, burning fossil fuels, and deforestation. Changes like these have triggered climate change, soil erosion, poor air quality, and undrinkable water. Reports indicate that humans have destroyed 97% of earth’s ecosystem. Some examples include the mining of natural resources like coal, the hunting and fishing of animals for food, and the clearing of forests for urbanization and wood use. Extensive overuse of nonrenewable resources, like fossil fuels, can cause great harm to the environment. If we read science journal “Climate Change”, we come to know that due to human’s interference with the nature; many ice bergs have melted away in last ten years.

Discuss in groups of four: Laws are never respected nor enforced in India.
Unfortunately, the laws are not followed properly in India. Breaking the law is a common thing and we do not see any fear in the minds of the people. As author cites article 48A that says “the State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country”, but no state follows these laws and the situation is getting worse every year.

We have not inherited this earth from our forefathers; we have borrowed it from our children. Discuss in groups.

The author wants to convey a message through his ‘Ailing Planet’ that how important it is to take care of this only planet where everything necessary for survival is available. If the holocaust happens because of humans, then we will have no other place to escape. We should always remember three R’s (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) in life. We should reduce the amount of natural resources we use. We must reuse old clothing, grocery bags etc. and recycle plastics, papers, metals etc. We should give this lovely earth from our forefathers to our children and future generations in the same form as we have got it.

The problems of overpopulation that directly affect our everyday life. Discuss.
Resources are being used more rapidly due to overpopulation. Poverty and unemployment stand as enemies in front of the common man and the government. We get to see more problems in the country which has more population. Those countries of Europe, where the population is very less, have chosen new heights of progress by keeping pace with those times. Countries like India, China desperately need to curb the growing population so that we can get rid of food shortages, migration, depletion of natural resources, deforestation, pollution etc. to be dealt with comfortably.

Working with words

Locate the following phrases in the text and study their connotation.

    1. Gripped the imagination of
    2. Dawned upon
    3. Ushered in
    4. Passed into current coin
    5. Passport of the future


    1. Having strong impact on imagination
    2. First time understanding of something
    3. New beginning
    4. Have been put in practice
    5. Key to the future
NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 5 Question Answers
NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 5 Exercises answers
NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 5 Answers
NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 5