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?