Two Long-Term Problems

The Heritage of Words | Class 12 Notes

Two Long-Term Problems: Too Many People, Too Few Trees

Writer: Moti Nissani


The essay, “Two Long-Term Problems: Two Many People, Too Few Trees”, by a noted scholar Moti Nissani, is about two distinct yet inter-related, long-term problems. These two major problems, which are overpopulation and deforestation, are likely to destroy all the lives on our planet unless timely actions are taken.

The essay starts with the world’s scientists concern over the earth’s environment. It is becoming much polluted. The air, water, and soil, which are regarded to be the most important things for the existence of any living species, are becoming poisonous and many kinds of plants and animals have already disappeared.

Nissani opines the main reason for the degrading situation is overpopulation. It is constantly swinging up because people are living longer than in past and too many children are being born. He cites the example of Nepal, where the population has risen to 23 million from 9 million in less than 50 years. If the same trend continues unchecked, the population of Nepal will reach around 368 million after 140 years. Nepal is not the only case of this kind. The population is increasing everywhere except in some countries which can be counted on fingertips. More people, in turn, use more natural resources, cause pollution, and bring changes in world climate.

Meanwhile, the time for improvement is still within our reach. We can still control the situation though it is difficult to reverse it. We can minimise the problem by controlling our population. Education, especially to women, and information about how to avoid babies can help to reduce the population growth.

As the population grows, forests are cut down for new farmlands and houses. The demand of rich people in the west for beef is also provoking people to change the forest into pasture-land. Besides, the demand for wood and paper products in developed countries is also adding fuel to the fire.

When the trees are chopped down, the topsoil is destroyed. It leads to disastrous landslides and sudden flood. Deforestation also causes droughts, weather extremes, desertification, loss of wild species, and depletion of the ozone layer.

However, deforestation can also be controlled if the number of people will be controlled. Education, family planning and changes in the way we use wood are also important to control deforestation. For example, in Nepal, the use of smokeless stoves can reduce the amount of firewood. The essayists remind us that we know what changes we have to make but we are not clever or brave enough to make those changes. We need to apply what we know to control these two long-term problems.


The significant writer and processor Moti Nissani have raised the two long-term problems in his essay, they are overpopulation and deforestation. Because of industrialization, nutrition, sanitation and modern medicine, people are living longer and the world population is increasing rapidly. The writer is worried about the fact that overpopulating will have a bad impact on the natural world. To produce more food for more people, the trees will be cut down and forests will be cultivated. Moreover, the growing population will pollute rivers, lakes, air, drinking water, soil and the whole natural world. Such environmental pollution will cause different kinds of diseases such as cancer, asthma and respiratory diseases. Overpopulation causes deforestation. Deforestation will cause floods, landslides, soil erosion, droughts, greenhouse effects and the loss of various species of plants, birds and animals.

Nissani further says that every year there are 80 million more people in the world. He presents the realistic pictures of Nepal.  In 1951, there were nine million people in Nepal. After less than 50 years, the population grew to 23 million. As an average Nepalese woman gives birth to five ·children, Nepal’s population growth rate is high. If this high birth rate continues, Nissani says that Nepal’s population will reach 368 million after 140 years. If such overpopulation .is not checked, Nepal will have to face various devastating problems in the near future.

In the essay, Moti Nissani encourages us to protect trees for future generation. He has recommended a few steps from where we can prevent chopping down of the trees and restore the healthy atmosphere. We need wisdom, courage and compassion (concerns) to control the problems of overpopulation and deforestation. We can control deforestation by controlling the population and educating them about the bad impacts of deforestation. We can solve this problem by starting afforestation and using the smokeless stove. Effective family planning is the main remedy (treatment) of controlling overpopulation. People should be encouraged to plant trees and they should be discouraged to cut trees. Concluding the essay; Nissani stresses that we should have willingness and passion to reduce population and plant trees which will help us to live healthier and our future will also be bright and safe.

Important Questions and Answers:

1. Are most living Nobel Prize winner optimistic about the future of humanity? Why or Why not?
Ans:   Yes, most of the Nobel Prize winners are optimistic about the future of humanity. They have warned us about our ill-treatment of Nature and they say that we are destroying our planet ourselves. We are polluting and destroying our environment so if we go like this, the world will be spoilt soon. If we stop such wrongdoings, the world will become a good and healthier place to live in again. They suggest that if we change our fundamental attitude towards the earth, surely, it will be a safer place for human society and for all living beings.

2. What leads Nissani to the belief that the world is facing an overpopulation crisis?
Industrialization helped the population to be increased because people used to live longer and the death rate of children was also lower. 10,000 people are being added per hour by us. Nissani is worried by this fact because overpopulation forces us for deforestation, greenhouse effect, acid rain, desertification, soil erosion, landslide etc. So, he thinks, the world is facing really great problems.

3. What prime (main) problems does the writer discuss in his essay?
What remedial measures does the writer suggest to overcome (solve) them?
The writer discusses overpopulation and deforestation with their severe consequences in the essay “Two long term problems”. The writer suggested overcoming them. However the situation could be improved by controlling population and pollution, many factors such as modernization, effective family planning measures equal economic, educational and legal opportunities to the woman will help to control the rapid population growth. In order to set this world for our future generation, we must save the forest by reducing population pressure on it through effective family planning measures and educating people. We may also save the forest by making effective and strict laws with a provision to impose a high tax on wood product and provision of incentive for pressuring forest. There should be a provision in the law to punish severely for destroying the forest. Massive reforestation, another effective step will benefit the world in conserving biodiversity, pristine wildness and to minimize desertification, flood and weather extremes. By controlling the population and saving the forest, we may solve this planet for our future generation utilizing our knowledge to convert our wisdom, courage and passion into practice to turn this world into heaven.

4. What is wrong in Nissani’s view with treeless in Nepal?
According to the writer, what’s wrong with treeless in Nepal?
The writer expresses his concerned about the deforestation crisis in Nepal. Showing devastating effecting of deforestation in Nepal, the writer makes us conscious about the importance of preservation of the forest. According to him, destruction of forest in Nepal will cause soil erosion in every rainfall. The eroded soil will be deposited in the rivers making them shallow and gradually causing siltation of rivers and dams. After the deforestation, every heavy rainfall is likely to cause a devastating flood in plains of Nepal, India and Bangladesh. The destruction of the forest, in turn, contributes to the greenhouse effect irresponsible (that can’t be repaired) loss of many thousands of species of animals and plants, landslides, drought and weather extremes. Therefore, besides causing serious flood in Nepal, India and Bangladesh deforestation in Nepal, in the long run, will also damage the quality of life and the ability of Biosphere to sustain life.

5. Is there anything you can do to help save Nepal’s remaining forests? ( नेपालका बाँकी रहेका जङ्गललाई जोगाउनका लागि तपाइँले गर्न सक्ने सहयोग केही छ ? )
Ans: After having read Nissani’s essay, now I can teach my village people the value of trees and forests. I can now make them aware of the immediate and long-term and consequences of deforestation. I can also persuade my friends, and relations and villagers not to cut down a tree unless he/she has instead planted and nurtured another one of the former’s size. In addition, I would also persuade them to use the more efficient and smokeless cooking stoves instead of the firewood. It will save trees. I would also need to convince them that most of the natural calamities such as floods, landslides and droughts are singly caused by deforestation. This awareness will make them use forest products sustainably ( लामो समय सम्म धान्न सकिने गरी ).

6. Discuss the problem of overpopulation and deforestation Nissani deals with.
Ans: Nissani deals with twin problems: overpopulation and deforestation. The latter is the consequence of the former. After the industrial revolution, due to advances in nutrition (पोषण ), sanitation (सरसफाई ) and health, people live longer, and thus population has started growing rapidly. Every year eighty million people are added. In Nepal, in 1951, the population was nine million. After less than fifty years, the number reached twenty-three million.   Population growth causes environmental problems. Air, water and food get polluted which will lead to the extinction of the lives of many species of birds, animals and plants. Moreover, in order to feed a huge population, forests have to be cleared. Due to uncontrolled population growth crime, and conflicts increase. It causes pollution as well. The problems can be solved if the population is controlled. The population can be controlled through modernization, literacy, media campaigns (संचार अभियान ) easily available contraceptives (गर्भनिरोधको साधन ) and equal opportunities for women.   Deforestation is pressing a problem. The destruction (विनाश ) of forests results in floods, landslides, and soil erosion. As the pollution increases, we face the problem of ozone depletion (ओजोनतहको क्षयीकरण ), greenhouse effect (हरितग्रह प्रभाव ) and acid rain (अम्ल वर्षा ). This problem can be solved by controlling the population through effective family planning, education and equality in opportunity. Reforestation will have bio-diversity, pure wilderness, and it will minimize desertification, flooding and declines in rainfall. Greater efficiency in the use of wood products and massive tree planting can be other possible remedies. The search for alternative fuel is also essential to solve the problem. Lastly, we need strong determination to put this knowledge into practices.

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