A Green Thought

by Amna Kausar

Amna Kausar is a candidate for the degree of BSc (Hons) majoring in Environmental Science and currently studying in her final semester. She works as a programme officer in a Lahore-based NGO.

My colleague and I were sitting together one day, obviously working, and the topic under discussion was my ‘so-called’ and ‘irrelevant’ passion for achieving ‘Environmental Sustainability’, not just in my own country, but around the globe i.e. a World of Intelligent Fools. It is sad when people like me, who are definitely few in number, come to terms with the fact that not many people possess the competence to envision our vision. They seem staggered and actually horrified at it. And what exactly is our vision? A Greener and Resourceful Planet! Ah, Thank-you, but No Thank-you!

Heading back to what this colleague was trying to say, in his highly ill-informed and juvenile manner, was that why the ignorant and unenlightened individuals of Pakistan (including himself) would not comprehend how important it was to cut off those trees situated at the Lahore Canal Road so that it could be widened for traffic control. For a minute I thought I could just punch him in his face, not because I was sensitive about this Road Widening Project, but because of the supremely ‘casual’ manner he employed in saying ‘Cut off those trees’. I did not visibly do it, so I stopped clicking my computer mouse, and thought of how to go about this important dialogue.

Only recently, I had got myself in a not-so-very hot debate on Face-book with an acquaintance about an article that I had posted on my profile relating to the notorious ‘Lahore Canal Road Widening Project’. Although, the man had solid points to put forth, I have to say how also extraneous they were.

So I got back to my colleague and asked him whether he knew what trees did for us and the Earth. He said: ‘Duh! They provide Oxygen!’ I had to come back with: ‘Oh! And do you breathe in Helium?’ He looked offended but managed to smile. All I could say to him was that it is humbly requested to him to look for the importance of trees on the internet.

This man and many others like him need to be informed that by chopping off those trees along the canal, they will only rob the city of its lungs! This project is worth Rs. 3.5 billion. Please think twice about Pakistan’s current situation. An amount as huge as this to be spent on a mere 8 percent population of Lahore that owns vehicles is certainly ‘not’ something that we can afford. What about the rest of the 92 percent? Should they move to Planet Mars?

A recent course lecture reminds me of a factual account that we, the intelligent fools of the world, are facing the situation of ‘Environment’ against ‘Development’. Sure, go ahead with Development. Just be a little concerned with its definition and proper implementation. It is amazing to know that the government has a good budget to spend on this Road Widening Project. Will it be a crime to think about the 92 percent I mentioned above and develop an efficient Public Transport System for them? I mean, we are a poor nation for sure and we need to do something about it.

Those trees are Lahore’s cultural possessions. We have not got much left in our pockets that we start stripping our country with its little left beauty. Grave environmental dangers are already forecasted including rise in temperatures and loss of biodiversity. There is utterly no water resource management and we are very close to wars on the issue.

Why are we so blind?

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12 responses to “A Green Thought

  1. dear
    all development projects are conceived by the powerful, executed by the powerful and are essentially for the betterment of the powerul though always done in the name of hoi polloi and on the surface may also seem so.if the powerful feel the need to cut tree they will cut and if they need to plant they will plant these.yes we can make noise.that certainly should be made.keep it on.people of lahore made a noise to preserve the site of execution of bhagat singh and his comrades.they did not succede.but it is important they made the noise.
    harish jain

  2. Shajar Dost Col Ejaz Nazim

    This looming disaster is not a bad dream. It is a reality which is already upon us!
    What I have gathered from this article is that Amna Kausar is a True Blue ‘Shajar Dost!
    Our country and Shajar Dost Tehreek need visionaries like her to wake up people of all stratas of our society , specially the descision makers.
    I formally invite her to join the Tehreek. God willing, we the Shajar Dost will defeat this monsterous ‘Jahalat’!

    • Thank-you very much for your comment Sir. Yes, being an environmentalist, I am a True Blue Shajar Dost! It is my great pleasure to join the Tehreek. Kindly, let me know how I can go about it.

  3. Shajar Dost Col (R) Ejaz Nazim

    Dear Shajar Dost Amna, welcome to the tehrik, my email address is dimension_four@hotmail.com You may also contact us at 0300 4446673

  4. Shajar Dost Shahid J. Kazi

    I must compliment Amna for her warm feelings towards the environment in general and trees in particular. We need to gather momentum by adding as many to the ranks and educating our selves as well as around us; myself and col sb along with other shajar dosts are working in this direction.

    • Thank-you for your generous compliment. Trees are a resource that we utterly need to preserve and conserve, the road to achieving environmental sustainability is a long one and much less traveled. Yes, we need a lot of support from the people around us.

  5. Shajar Dost Col Ejaz Nazim

    Please correct my Email address to read:
    dimension_four@hotmail.com
    Shajar Dost Lt Col (R) Ejaz Ahmad Nazim

  6. Dear Amna, you are not alone in this. I probably am the craziest guy about trees . I have bought trees from every where and planted them in my house. I have also planted them everywhere I get oppertuinity to plant them. It is true that most Pakistani s have no concept of how important trees are , but we can change that.We can tell them that a normal full grown tree provides more cooling than a 2 ton a/cThis might get their attention during this hot period.

    • Thank-you for appreciating Mr. Amer. I don’t think I match your love for trees for sure. Keep up this spirit. The problem with Pakistani’s is that they stand unaware, and when you try to paint a certain deteriorating scenario to them, they choose to ignore it, thinking that they have better things to do (which they don’t!). But yes, we can bring a change for sure by raising our voice of concern.

  7. hi, u r very right on ur part buut problem is not to cease development of infrastructure to protect environment but the issue should be how to go while keeping both things together.
    being a student of environmental sciences what i think we should be sustainable developmental oriented. and just favouring one aspect and completely ignoring the other aspect of life is not a sensible and holistic approach
    i hope we all understand what we require instead of thinking what we want.
    thankyou

  8. hey, read ur article buh i wanna add some sequences what would have happened if the road wasnt widened, being a student of environmental economics i studied the project thoroughly . did u ever see the blockage on that road , hours and hours of emission of smoke by vehicles due to that heavy traffic jam or at a little speed i-e like 20mph
    And now as the cars go smooth in lets say 4th gear (50mph) the pollution by them is reduced to minimal, instead of hours of stuck there.
    it reduces the emission around 70 pc. isnt that smoke will be robing your city’s oxygen plus you didnt mentioned the time value and just went on blamming .. And just consider for a second the uprise in number of cars per year, if that project wasnt accomplished then for today you would need get your meals packed with you if u wanna go through that road.
    considering just the so called lungs of city, your article is tooo good .
    thank you

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