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1) Life on earth is precariously equilibrated because of a balance between positive and negative feedback, which is set to be disturbed as a result of anthropological factors. Examine the issue and suggest ways through which such a scenario can be avoided?(250 words)

Topic – changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes

1) Life on earth is precariously equilibrated because of a balance between positive and negative feedback, which is set to be disturbed as a result of anthropological factors. Examine the issue and suggest ways through which such a scenario can be avoided?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article discusses the impact that human actions have had on environment, of the possibility of Earth becoming a hothouse with unprecedented consequences. The article discusses the reason why such a situation has come to pass, and the possible impacts. This issue is important for environment and geography sections.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain what we mean by positive and negative feedback, why scientists have raised concern of irreversible changes, the reasons for this situation and the possible impacts. Finally, we need to discuss the steps we can and should take to better the situation.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what it meant by positive and negative feedback and the concerns that the scientists have raised in their paper of Earth becoming a hothouse due to imbalance in the positive and negative feedbacks.

Body

  • Explain the issue – When positive feedbacks become stronger than the negative ones, the system may change abruptly and get pushed out of equilibrium. The earth and its systems have shifted between alternative states through long-term processes over its geological history. Now, it appears we are approaching some critical thresholds.
  • Examine the reasons for the same – how human actions have impacted the forests and our oceans, unmitigated release of CO2 in atmosphere etc
  • Discuss the impacts of such a situation – environmental impacts should be explained first followed by associated impacts such as social, political, economic etc
  • Discuss the steps taken so far such as the technological and political solutions that we have attempted. Discuss the need for

        shifts required in our social and economic thinking.

Conclusion – Emphasize on the sensitivity of the issue and discuss way forward.