Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Wishing is not enough; we must do.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Deforestation and climate change

As the hot summer season has very much arrived, the time of experiencing heatwaves in Karachi has begun. But have we ever wondered why have we been experiencing intense heat waves since the past few years? The answer is climate change and a major factor of climate change is deforestation. Among the many gifts forests give us is one we desperately need: help with slowing climate change. Trees capture greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, preventing them from accumulating in the atmosphere and warming our planet. When we clear forests, we’re not only knocking out our best ally in capturing the staggering amount of greenhouse gases we humans create (which we do primarily by burning fossil fuels at energy facilities, and of course, in cars, planes, and trains), we’re also creating emissions by cutting down trees: when trees are felled, they release into the atmosphere all the carbon they’ve been storing. What the deforesters do with the felled trees – either leaving them to rot on the forest floor or burning them – creates further emissions. All told, deforestation on its own causes about 10 per cent of worldwide emissions. Knowing that deforestation robs us of a crucial weapon in the battle against climate change – and creates further emissions – why on Earth would anyone clear a forest? The main reason is agriculture and agriculture is responsible for almost 80 per cent of tropical deforestation. These impacts of deforestation only consider emissions and don’t even touch on how the lives and traditions of forest communities are ruined when forests are razed, or how many species of plants and animals are lost, upsetting the delicate balance of ecosystems. The uptick in mosquito-borne diseases, for example, are all indirect consequences of deforestation and global warming. There’s no doubt about it: the best thing we can do to fight climate change is keep forests standing.

Hassam Khan,

Life lessons to learn from the COVID-19 outbreak

Over the last few months, life has drastically changed around the world due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Corona has brought with it a wave of negative outcomes, terrible illness and death, but it also highlighted some important life lessons. First, you should wash your hands, whether there’s a virus or not. General hygiene is always important. Not just when there is a virus. It really is the most effective way to stay safe and to kill viruses. Second, learn how to be content alone. It’s so hard for some people to just be still and do nothing. Being alone, especially for extroverts can be exhausting and lonely. Social distancing can be very difficult, but it can also teach you a lot about yourself. You learn how to keep yourself busy. Eventually binge watching three seasons of a TV show won’t be enough anymore, and will have to try doing something else. Your body and mind is your home and you have to learn how to love it and live with it. Third, the internet should be a basic right. According to a study, the right to internet access, also known as the right to broadband, should be considered a human right. People unable to get online – particularly in developing countries – lack meaningful ways to influence the global players shaping their everyday lives. Additionally, during times like these, it is especially important to be able to contact family, friends and work from home if necessary. Internet is the only way to do so. Fourth, doctors and researchers need to be paid better. If this scary time has taught us anything, it’s that doctors and researchers will be the ones who get us out of this mess. We need to re-evaluate how much money celebrities, pro-athletes and politicians make and instead pay scientist and doctors the salary they deserve.

Komal Sohail,