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[ Day 12 – Synopsis ] 75 Days Mains Revision Plan 2023 – Geography & Ethics

 

Geography


Q1. Describe major geological fault lines and seismic zones of the world. What are the geological characteristics and tectonic activity that make the Anatolia plate (Turkey) prone to earthquakes? (10M)

Introduction

The Earth’s dynamic nature is evident through the presence of major geological fault lines and seismic zones, where tectonic plates interact, and seismic activity is concentrated. These fault lines and seismic zones are crucial in understanding the geological processes that shape our planet and the occurrence of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other geologically significant events.

Recently an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck Turkiye, one of the most seismically active regions in the Mediterranean and the world.

Body:

Major geological fault lines and seismic zones:

  • Pacific Ring of Fire: The Pacific Ring of Fire is the most seismically active region in the world. It encircles the Pacific Ocean and is marked by several subduction zones, where tectonic plates collide and one plate is forced beneath another.
  • Himalayan Frontal Thrust: The Himalayan Frontal Thrust is a major fault line that runs along the southern edge of the Himalayan mountain range. It marks the boundary between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates and is responsible for the high seismic activity in the region. E.g. Nepal Earthquake, 2015
  • Alpide Belt: The Alpide Belt is a major seismic zone that stretches from the Mediterranean region through the Middle East, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. It encompasses the collision zone between the Eurasian and African-Arabian plates.
    • Countries such as Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, and the Philippines are located in this seismic zone.
  • The Anatolian Fault in Turkey: it is an active right-lateral strike-slip fault in northern Anatolia, and is the transform boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the Anatolian Plate.
  • Alpine Fault in New Zealand: It marks the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the Australian Plate and is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
    • The fault is one of the most active and hazardous geological features in New Zealand, with a major earthquake expected to occur on the fault line every 300 years on average.
  • The Red River Fault in Southeast Asia: it is specifically in the region where Vietnam, Laos, and China meet. The fault zone extends over a length of approximately 1,200 kilometres and is characterized by a series of parallel faults and rift basins.

Reason behind Anatolian Plate being the most seismically active:

  • Complex interaction of plates: In the region of Turkey, Syria, and Jordan, tectonics are dominated by complex interactions between the African, Arabian, and Eurasian tectonic plates, and the Anatolian tectonic block.
    • Collisions between the Arabian and African plates with Eurasia typically result in earthquakes in the region.

  • Active fault system: The Anatolian Plate is crisscrossed by several active fault systems, including the North Anatolian Fault, the East Anatolian Fault, and the South Anatolian Fault.
    • These fault systems are responsible for the majority of the earthquakes in the region.
  • Complex geology: The geology of the Anatolian Plate is complex and diverse, with different rock types and structures that can affect the propagation of seismic waves.
    • This can lead to variations in the intensity and duration of earthquakes in different parts of the region.
  • Tectonic movement: Research indicates that the Anatolian Plate is rotating counter-clockwise as it is being pushed west by the Arabian Plate, impeded from any northerly movement by the Eurasian Plate.
    • The African Plate is subducting beneath the Anatolian Plate along the Cyprus and Hellenic Arcs offshore in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Human activity: Human activity, such as mining, construction, and the extraction of groundwater, can also contribute to seismic activity in the region. E.g. construction of large dams.

Conclusion

Unlike other disasters, the damages caused by earthquakes are more devastating. Since it also destroys most of the transport and communication links, providing timely relief to the victims becomes difficult. It is not possible to prevent the occurrence of an earthquake; hence, the next best option is to emphasis on disaster preparedness and mitigation rather than curative measures.

 

Q2. Explain the environmental consequences of the shrinking ice caps and glaciers. How do these changes impact global sea levels and climate patterns? (15M)

Introduction

Since the early 1900s, many glaciers around the world have been rapidly melting. Human activities are at the root of this phenomenon. Specifically, since the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions have raised temperatures, even higher in the poles, and as a result, ice caps are shrinking and glaciers are rapidly melting, calving off into the sea and retreating on land.

Body:

Environmental consequences of the shrinking ice caps and glaciers:

  • Threat to coastal areas: As the ice caps and glaciers melt, they contribute to the increase in global sea levels. This poses a threat to coastal areas, leading to coastal erosion, flooding, and the displacement of communities.
    • Low-lying islands and coastal cities are particularly vulnerable to this consequence. E.g. Fiji, Vanuatu islands etc.
  • Permafrost Thaw: The retreat of ice caps and glaciers can also accelerate the thawing of permafrost in colder regions. Permafrost contains large amounts of organic matter and greenhouse gases like
    • When it thaws, it releases these gases into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming and climate change.
  • Freshwater availability: Glaciers and ice caps serve as natural reservoirs, storing freshwater in the form of ice. As they melt, they contribute to the freshwater supply.
    • However, as these sources diminish, it can lead to water scarcity in regions that rely on glacier-fed rivers for drinking water, agriculture, and hydroelectric power generation. E.g. In Himalayan region.
  • Loss of habitat and biodiversity: Glaciers and ice caps support unique ecosystems that are adapted to cold and icy conditions. As they shrink, these habitats are lost, leading to the loss of specialized species, such as polar bears, penguins, seals, and many others.
  • Loss of cultural heritage: Glaciers and ice caps often hold cultural and historical significance for indigenous communities and societies.
    • As they disappear, valuable cultural heritage, including traditional knowledge, artifacts, and archaeological sites, can be lost forever.

 

Their impact on global sea level and climate patterns:

  • Global sea level: The increased volume of water from melting ice flows into the oceans, leading to coastal inundation, erosion, and the loss of valuable coastal ecosystems. For example, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a major contributor to rising sea levels.
    • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that global sea levels could rise by 0.26 to 0.77 meters (0.85 to 2.53 feet) by the end of the century.
  • Impact on weather patterns: The loss of ice caps and glaciers can influence regional and global weather patterns. These frozen bodies help regulate temperatures by reflecting sunlight back into space.
    • With their decline, more sunlight is absorbed by the Earth’s surface, leading to increased temperatures. This can contribute to altered rainfall patterns, heatwaves, and more frequent extreme weather events.
  • Feedback loops and climate change acceleration: As ice melts, it reduces the Earth’s albedo (reflectivity), causing more heat to be absorbed and further melting.
    • Additionally, the melting releases stored greenhouse gases, such as methane, trapped in the ice, further contributing to global warming.
  • Alteration of ocean currents: The melting ice caps and glaciers release large amounts of fresh water into the oceans. This influx of freshwater can disrupt ocean currents and the thermohaline circulation (the global conveyor belt of ocean currents), which plays a vital role in distributing heat around the planet.

Measure needed to mitigate:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions: The primary cause of climate change and the subsequent melting of ice caps and glaciers is the release of greenhouse gases.
    • Implementing policies and strategies to reduce these emissions is crucial. This includes transitioning to cleaner and renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency etc.
  • Conservation and Restoration: Protecting and conserving the remaining ice caps, glaciers, and associated ecosystems is crucial. This includes establishing protected areas, implementing sustainable tourism practices, and reducing human activities that directly harm these fragile environments.
  • Adaptation Measures: can include building resilient infrastructure in coastal areas, developing sustainable water management strategies, and implementing disaster preparedness plans.
  • Education and public awareness: Increasing public awareness about the impacts of shrinking ice caps and glaciers is important for fostering a sense of urgency and promoting individual and collective action.
  • International cooperation: International cooperation is essential for implementing effective mitigation measures, sharing scientific knowledge, and supporting vulnerable regions affected by melting ice.
    • Agreements like the Paris Agreement provide a framework for countries to work together to combat climate change.

 

Conclusion

Addressing the impacts of shrinking ice caps and glaciers requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach at global, regional, and local levels. It demands long-term commitment, collaboration, and innovation. Protecting and preserving these frozen landscapes is crucial not only for the preservation of unique ecosystems but also for the well-being and sustainability of human societies worldwide.

 


Ethics


 

Q3. An optimistic attitude though feasible in raising hopes in an individual might seem unrealistic given some of the moral dilemmas faced by individuals in their personal and private spheres. Do you agree with this statement? Justify you opinion (10M)

Introduction:

An optimistic attitude is a mindset characterized by a hopeful and positive outlook on life, believing in the potential for favourable outcomes, even in the face of challenges.

Body:

Optimism involves perceiving setbacks as temporary and actively seeking opportunities for growth and improvement. I agree with the statement and believe that optimism isn’t feasible in every situation. For Instance,

  • Lack of acceptance for ground realities: Winning more medals in Olympics is not possible with one massive thrust of support every once in a while, it needs a systematic momentum .
  • Can promote unrealistic tolerance: NFHS-5 (2019-21) highlights that even as domestic violence and sexual abuse, remains a serious concern, women continue to suffer in silence hoping for a change in attitude of their husband.
  • Can hamper informed decision making: Even through losses kingfisher airlines remained optimistic of attracting fresh investments, but only when debt reached 7000 crores they realized that situation is out of hand and they are bankrupt.
  • Can lead to false expectations: Studies have found that less experienced drivers overestimate their driving abilities and drive cars believing nothing can go wrong.
  • Ethical Relativism: Optimism is relative. For instance, in a divorce settlement what might be considered an optimistic solution for one person might not be viewed the same way by another.
  • You can’t always win: Mahatma Gandhi said that India could be partitioned only over his dead body. At the end partition was the only solution.
  • Ignoring Moral Dilemmas: America was being optimistic about ending the war by dropping nuclear bombs on Japan despite knowing that it would kill millions.
  • Moral Justification leading to terrorism and fundamentalism: Newer Naxal and terrorist recruits justify their violent actions by projecting an optimistic outlook of the future.

As Helen Keller said “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” -. But at the same time I believe that its not for every situation as it is also true that “Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable” as stated by Voltaire.

 


Case Study


Q4. Karma is a block level school inspector. On one of his rounds to a school he notices that three primary teachers have remained absent for many days. One of them has taken sick leave while the two others are absent without intimation. The children in the primary classes spend most of their time in the school playing or wandering about. Some other teachers take their classes occasionally when they get time. But their lessons have become very irregular Karma interrogates the non-teaching staff and the headmistress about this state of affairs. The headmistress expresses helplessness. She has tried contacting the absentee teachers but been denied talking to them on some or the other pretext or her calls have gone unanswered.

(i) Consider the following suggestions that Karma can give to the headmistress in this scenario. Choose one or any other that would be most apt giving reasons to justify your choice.

a) The service of the absentee teachers who have gone without applying for leave and are not available on the phone be terminated with immediate effect.

b) Send a non-teaching staff to their homes and find out the reason behind their absence.

c) Hire contractual teachers for the time being.

d) Wait for the absent teachers to come back.

(ii) Highlight the importance of and ways to cultivate good attitude amongst educators in the education system in India.

Synopsis:

Teacher absenteeism is a major concern in the education system as it negatively impacts students’ learning, moral and academic progress. The stakeholders in this situation include,

  1. In the above situation I would hire contractual teachers for time being and send a non-teaching staff to their homes and find out the reason behind their absence.

I would not wait for the teachers to come as

  • Immediate need: is to mitigate the negative impact on the students and create a conducive learning environment.
  • Professional Accountability: fulfill the schools obligation to provide quality education. The primary concern is to provide uninterrupted education to the students.
  • Addresses the Headmistress’s and other teachers Helplessness : of staff shortage and reducing burden of managing irregular classes.

It is important to note that the decision to hire contractual teachers should be accompanied by efforts to resolve the issue.

  • Immediate termination against the principle of due process: they should be treated fairly and should be given an opportunity to explain their reasons for prolonged absence. This ensures transparency and justice.
  • Being empathetic: I would try contacting them from my end and send a notice from my end asking for report reasons for the long absence.
  • Sending non-teaching staff as an last effort: If my notice goes unanswered. This demonstrates a proactive approach to addressing the issue, gathering information, and fostering communication. It promotes transparency, empathy, and understanding while striving to find a resolution.

There are many other aspects which I have to consider, for instance a World Bank study suggests teachers are less likely to be absent at schools that have been inspected recently, that have better infrastructure, and that are closer to a paved road.

  1.  An William Arthur Ward “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”  Therefor a good attitude amongst teachers are always important. As they,
  • Serve as role models: Abdul kalam’s teacher Subramania Iyer took the entire class to the beach to give a practical example on flying. That shaped Kalam’s practical approach in his career.
  • Cultivate honesty and integrity: As Sanskrit saying ‘Yatha Raja Thatha Praja’ goes, when teachers are irregular its hard to cultivate good habits among students.
  • Recognition and Appreciation: Chanakya was instrumental in guiding Chandragupta overthrow the powerful Nanda dynasty.
  • Knowledge and awareness: “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.” They help students to gain knowledge and also develops strengths and finds their weaknesses to come out from.

Ways to cultivate good attitudes,

  • Ensuring Accountability: MIT study shows that teacher absence fells when attendance of teachers was monitored daily by cameras and were paid according to the actual number of days they were present.
  • Work-Life Balance: teachers are stressed due to lack of support, poor training and mentoring, poor working conditions and a hostile school culture and are always pulled into election duty, census etc., which promotes laxity among students.
  • Positive school culture: Creating a supportive environment such as ‘Nali-kali’( joyful learning) programme of karnataka which has a component that provides weekly onsite support to individual teachers at the classroom level.
  • Communication and Engagement: Melas and school fairs where children with help of teachers can prepare material on different concepts and make public presentations and interact with other children, parents and the community.

These aspects can create a conducive environment that promotes a good attitude amongst educators, resulting in enhanced learning outcomes and holistic development for students.


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