Daily Times Editorial 26 August 2019

Amazon rainforest inferno

 

The Amazon rainforest has been on fire for weeks, attracting only shallow ‘concern’ from all over the world. It is time for such concern to be made meaningful by the whole world. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is coming under huge pressure to control the worst blazes in years, which his country has simply been unable to do. Multiple fires burning the world’s largest oxygen factory in north-west Brazil pose a great challenge to Brazilian resources and firefighters. The fires should be taken as a matter crucial for the world’s environment and health, and not just a Brazilian domestic issue. The world’s largest rainforests have weathered 78,383 bush-fires in 2019 alone. The main culprit igniting fire after fire is the human settlement in these jungles. Where there is human, there is fire. It is said up to more than 20 million people, besides several million animals, plants and insects species, live in these jungles and their livelihood is linked with the forest in one way or another. Most of the fires erupt in the months-long dry season, when crop cultivation picks up.
The fire issue has surfaced at the ongoing G7 Summit in France where US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson have extended their assistance, which Brazil has readily accepted, saying “any help is welcome in respect to the fires”. The G7 Summit should discuss this issue at length and come up with an international framework to tackle such disasters. Environmental issues should be beyond borders. Amazon rainforests, which supply 20 percent of oxygen to the world, should be treated as an asset for all humanity. The rainforests of Brazil make up 60 percent of the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest.
Bush fires have also been reported frequently in Pakistan in recent years. This is an alarming situation. The incumbent government is the only one to make plantation a national issue and its Clean and Green Pakistan drive has earned laurels at international levels. The government should, however, make a dedicated body to put out jungle fires. Already a deforested land, Pakistan cannot afford to let bush fires devour its precious jungles. Learning lessons from the Amazon inferno, our government also should reach out the world community to make an international framework to tackle environmental disasters. *
The Amazon rainforest has been on fire for weeks, attracting only shallow ‘concern’ from all over the world. It is time for such concern to be made meaningful by the whole world. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is coming under huge pressure to control the worst blazes in years, which his country has simply been unable to do. Multiple fires burning the world’s largest oxygen factory in north-west Brazil pose a great challenge to Brazilian resources and firefighters. The fires should be taken as a matter crucial for the world’s environment and health, and not just a Brazilian domestic issue. The world’s largest rainforests have weathered 78,383 bush-fires in 2019 alone. The main culprit igniting fire after fire is the human settlement in these jungles. Where there is human, there is fire. It is said up to more than 20 million people, besides several million animals, plants and insects species, live in these jungles and their livelihood is linked with the forest in one way or another. Most of the fires erupt in the months-long dry season, when crop cultivation picks up.
The fire issue has surfaced at the ongoing G7 Summit in France where US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson have extended their assistance, which Brazil has readily accepted, saying “any help is welcome in respect to the fires”. The G7 Summit should discuss this issue at length and come up with an international framework to tackle such disasters. Environmental issues should be beyond borders. Amazon rainforests, which supply 20 percent of oxygen to the world, should be treated as an asset for all humanity. The rainforests of Brazil make up 60 percent of the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest.
Bush fires have also been reported frequently in Pakistan in recent years. This is an alarming situation. The incumbent government is the only one to make plantation a national issue and its Clean and Green Pakistan drive has earned laurels at international levels. The government should, however, make a dedicated body to put out jungle fires. Already a deforested land, Pakistan cannot afford to let bush fires devour its precious jungles. Learning lessons from the Amazon inferno, our government also should reach out the world community to make an international framework to tackle environmental disasters.

 
 

The Waris Mir battleground

 

Changing the name of Waris Mir Underpass to Allama Iqbal Underpass in Lahore has little bearing on public life, of course. But why, still, do we do such things? Lahore has long been subject to changing and re-changing of names of its places, putting its citizens in a quick race to reset their minds accordingly. And there is no mechanism to name or rename public places. If a ruler likes personality X, he will name a corner of the city after that personality, unable to grasp the idea that the city is meant for its citizens, who are under no obligation to call a place what the ruler likes them to. For long, a particular area has been known as New Campus of Punjab University. All Lahorites call it so until one day somebody names it Warish Mir Underpass.
Now that the rulers have decided to change it again, for whatever reasons, they should have renamed it New Campus Underpass, which it is actually. Waris Mir may have rendered services to journalism and literature and to pay tribute to him a facility that encourages literature or journalism should have been named after him. Similarly, down on the same Canal Road, there are other underpasses named after literary figures like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ishfaq Ahmed. These figures are towering ones because a major chunk of Pakistanis are influenced by them. That is quite natural but presuming that by bracketing Model Town or The Mall with their names we are doing them a great honour escapes logic.
Perhaps the best way to pay tribute to such people is to read their work, which we are rather short on. Such random steps as changing names actually inconveniences citizens who fail to locate places on roads, especially when someone returns home after spending some years outside. The rulers should keep their likes and dislikes to themselves and not try to force them on the masses the way they do. Roads and underpasses should be known by the names of the places they connect us with, which is the real service to the citizens of Lahore. At least the rulers should not settle their scores with their rivals on our roads and underpasses. They should do it where it is due and spare this city. *

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