The writer Tishani Doshi was part of a programme called ‘Students on Ice’ and was taken to Antarctica. She shares her experiences and impressions.
The aim of the expedition was to take high school children to Antarctica, thereby providing them with a unique educational opportunity to see first hand the effect of human activities on environment so that these youngsters, when the time comes to act, will take correct decisions regarding conservation of the environment.
Antarctica is the right place to study about the changes in the environment and its impact on humanity as a whole.
Antarctica holds the secrets of how earth came to be in its present form. It gives us an insight into how the present landforms came into existence, why certain animal species became extinct.
Complete absence of human beings has preserved the carbon records intact.
Lack of bio-diversity in Antarctica makes it possible to study the effect of small changes in the environment on the animal life and environment.
It was a humbling experience for the author and she feel that we need to address environmental issues immediately, if mankind is to survive.

1.What were Geoff Green’s reasons for including high school students in the ‘Students on Ice’ expedition?
Children are more receptive and ready to absorb, learn and most importantly act. Unlike the elderly people who are at the end of their productive life, children can giveback to society substantially and practice what they learn and experience. Most importantly, they can take correct decisions and act when the time comes and save the environment.

2.How does the writer realize that the threat of global warming is very real?
The writer visits Antarctica and sees for herself the glaciers retreating and ice shelves collapsing. She sees with naked eyes the effect on the food chain when a singled celled phytoplankton is removed from food chain. That’s when she realizes that threat of global warming is real.

3What revelation did the author have on her visit to Antarctica?
The writer on her visit to Antarctica noticed the beauty of balance in play on our planet and realizes that everything in the world is inter-connected.
4.What is phytoplankton? What is their importance?
Phytoplanktons, the grasses of the sea are single celled organisms living in the southern ocean. They nourish and sustain the entire ocean’s food chain, being e the first link in the food chain of the ocean. Using sun’s energy, they assimilate carbon and synthesize organic compounds. The diminishing number of this organism due to the depletion of ozone layer affects other organisms of the ocean, finally leading to the extinction of life on earth..


  1. How is Antarctica a crucial element in the debate on climate change?
  2. How is global temperature increasing? What are the immediate repercussions of this increase on the environment?
  3. How does Antarctica differ from the rest of the earth?
  4. What were the feelings of the author when she set foot on the Antarctic continent?
  5. What was Gondwana? What happened to it?
  6. Why did the writer loose all earthly perspective when she set foot on the continent?
  7. Why is Phytoplankton a metaphor for existence?
  8. “It can get pretty mind-boggling”. What is ‘it’ referred to? Why does the writer say so?


  1. How was the journey to Antarctica an incredible experience for the author?
  2. “And for humans, the prognosis is not good”. Explain.
  3. Why does the author says that ‘a lot can happen in million years, but what a difference a day makes’.
  4. The history of Antarctica reveals the history of humankind. Explain.