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In the scheme of creation, animals and plants have complementary roles. Plants are able to draw nourishment from the earth and its minerals. Animals, in turn, draw nourishment from plants and from each other. In return the animals enrich the environment with what the plants need, in the form of carbon dioxide and wastes. Occasionally one of the animals, man, found it necessary to destroy plants; but this was mostly for farming. What happened was that one type of plant was replaced with another. So the harm done was little. On the whole the arrangement remained neat. Then came industries.

Firstly industries need large areas of land just like farming. Secondly, unlike in farms where one type of plant is replaced with another, industries destroy plants and replaced them with buildings. Thirdly, industries pollute the environment. Waste chemicals from the factories destroy plants and the carbon dioxide emitted is too much for the trees to cope with. The harm continues as more and more plants are destroyed to make way for buildings. As a result the plants are fighting a losing battle.

Of special concern are the rainforests. The area of thousands of acres along the equator, throughout the world is the home of the rainforest. It is impenetrable jungle throughout and has been the fortress, since the beginning of time, where a myriad of plants and animals have thrived undisturbed. The rainforests are a sort of lung for the world. There are so many plants in the belt that they actually have a great role in the control of world weather. Needless to say, any destruction of the rainforest will play havoc with world weather.

In earlier times, the rainforests used to be cleared for farming and a little for timber. But how with the rest of the world's forest almost depleted, the rainforest is being systematically destroyed. What is being used is heavy machinery to destroy vast stretches of the forest at incredible speed. The destruction is so fast that the jungle cannot recover at all. The world is aghast as everyone sees that the harm is to everyone.

To the countries which contain the rainforests, there seem to be little alternative. The need the land for farming to support ever increasing populations and the timber from the forest fetches prices in the world market. The other countries that are crying out to save the forests are, ironically enough, those who have already destroyed all their forests for the very reason that the rainforest countries are now destroying theirs. The reply of the rainforest countries is a simple one: We are only doing what you have done and for the same reason as you, to feed ourselves. No one can argue with this.

Can anything be done? One possible answer seems to be that it is possible if the whole world can be seem as a single community. If this becomes a reality, then the problem will be resolved immediately. Everyone will be fed from the farms and the industries in places where there is an abundance of land for such purposes. At the same time, the rainforests will belong to everyone and no one will be able to destroy them. Is this a farfetched idea?

History is full of countries which have combined, often willingly and peacefully, so that they will be stronger. India is a combination of countries, so is the US, so is Britain and even Indonesia. The European Economic Market is headed out to be a loose federation. In our own area, ASEAN holds a lot of promise. From the combination of small countries to form a larger one, the combination of the larger countries unto one single borderless world is only s small step. If survival is at stake, even such a  miracle can take place.

  1. (a) How are plants and animals complementary ?
    (b) Why did a little farming not cause any harm ?
    (c) Give three reasons why industries caused such extensive harm. Number your answer as 1, 2, and 3.
  2. (a) Why does the writer describe the rainforest as a lung ?
    (b) Why is the rainforest not ale to recover from being cleared ?
    (c) Why don't the rainforest countries heed the cries of alarm ?
  3. (a) What alternative does the writer suggest ?
    (b) Is the writer hopeful that the problem will be solved ? what gives him the hope ?
  4.   For each of the following words give one word or short phrase ( not more than seven words ) which has the same meaning as it has in the passage.
      i.   complementary   v.   thrived
      ii.   nourishment   vi.   depleted
      iii.   enrich   vii.   abundance
      iv.   throughout   viii.   farfetched
  5. Describe, briefly, why the rainforest countries do not heed the warnings of scientists. What alternative is possible and can it work ? Your summary should be in about 160 words.
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  1. (a) Plants convert the earth minerals into food and animals depend on plants. Animals return the mineral by way of the droppings.
    (b) Farming, on a small scale, did not harm the environment because the farmers cleared only small plots and planted crops, which were plants.
    (c) The reason are 1. They cleared too much land. 2. They destroyed plants. 3. They polluted the air.
  2. (a) The rainforest are a lung because they are a massive clump of plants which breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen.
    (b) The destruction is too fast so the rain forest is unable to recover.
    (c) They have their own problems of economy and the need to feed their people, so they are unable to heed everyone's cry.
  3. (a) The writer suggests that the whole world should unite as one country.
    (b) He is hopeful and quotes examples of countries amalgamating for mutual benefit.
  4. i mutually supporting
    ii food
    iii support
    iv all over
    v flourished
    vi reduced
    vii more than enough
    viii very unlikely to be true
  5. The rainforest and the countries that own them have in recent years come to prominence. The forests are being destroyed methodically to make way for farms and factories. The world is alarmed because the rainforests are vital to the control of weather for the whole world. Wanton destruction of them will cause havoc to the world and bring disaster.

While the rest of the world is concerned, the rainforest countries themselves seem helpless to stop destroying the forests. They need the forest space for farming in order to support their growing populations. In fact all they are doing is what the rest of the world  has already done -- destroying the forest for the land.

The writer suggest that the problem can be solved if the world takes the stand that it is just one big country. if that happened, then the rainforests can be left alone while the other countries can support the rainforests countries with their needs. ( 158 words )


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Comprehension 1


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