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Is Our Vegetation On Siege? Wildfires The New Pandemic

2020 has solely experienced the deadliest wildfire disaster.

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Klamath National Wildfire

Wildfires can have devastating effects on the ecosystem. Did you know that 2020 has experienced the deadliest disaster to inhabitation in the wild due to wildfires? Unfortunately, while the world is struggling to put up with the health crisis, the world should be woke for wildfires- the new slayer in the wild. In 2020, wildfires have been seen to break out across different regions of the world. As a matter of fact, the Americas, Australia, Asia, and Africa have had to battle the raging wildfires this year.  Shockingly, some like the mystical Amazon rainforest, have barely cooled off.

What are wildfires?

In a nutshell, wildfires are fires that start in grasslands, bushes, or forests, and as they grow, they spread out to larger areas becoming highly uncontrollable. Geologists also refer to them as forest fires or wildland fires.

Whenever they occur, Wildfires put danger to the community as they change the ecosystem by killing flora and fauna. Bush fires are also responsible for the extinction of certain forest species, fill the air with smoke and debris from the fire making it hard to breathe an on reaching people’s settlement they destroy property and sometimes deaths. Most important, forests are a major impact on global climate; forest fires are a contributing factor to the ongoing global climate changes

The ability to control or contain a wildfire depends on what fire experts call elements of a fire triangle (fuel, oxygen, and heat). Forest fires thrive on these elements and supporting environmental conditions such as winds, dry atmosphere. Firefighters manage forest fires by disrupting and or eliminating one or all of the elements of a fire triangle; the heat can be eliminated by water, oxygen by dirt.

Types of wildfires

Crown wildfire or canopy wildfires

These fires burn the whole length of the forest trees from the trunk all the way up the canopy. These are dangerous since they are easily spread by wind and can change the direction of burning at any time. Canopy fires are often difficult to contain since they can jump from one tree or forest to another. They leave most damage in the forest as they burn everything on their way.

Surface wildfires

These are fires that only burn forests, short vegetation, and dead plant material. It is easy to extinguish and does not cause a lot of damage to the forest.

Ground wildfires

 Ground fires are also known as underground fires or subsurface fires. They are slow-moving wildfires since they burn below the duff and litter. During dry times they can be difficult to put out due to lots of dry matter that can lead to the fires blazing survival on a warm winter that can reemerge to fire during spring.

What causes forest fires?

While there are many suspect causes of wildfires, it has always proved cumbersome to isolate a single cause of wildfires. A wildfire could bloom from a simple cause just for the spread to be facilitated by other natural factors such as the winds. The cause of wildfires can however be classified into two”

  • Naturally bloomed wildfires
  • Wildfires as a result of human activities

Naturally occurring forest fire

Natural forest fires are mostly caused by hot lightning bolts that strike earth a little longer than usual, emitting sparks that ignite dry accumulated forest duff and litter. These are hard to detect since they may occur far from human settlements and parks. They are also difficult to manage since they may be ignited at many points in a forest or region.

Additionally, the natural heat from the sun in times of drought may equally spark dry matter or surface of the forest leading to a fire. On rare occasions, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes may also result to these life ending fires in the wildlands.

Wildfires resulting from Human activities

According to a study by national geographic, 90% of wildfires are caused by human activities. These activities include Prescribed forest fires mostly done when clearing lands that end up going out of control and become wild, and reckless disposal of smoldering cigarette remains and filters. In other cases, wildfires will start from garbage fires that are left unattended may spread on to nearby vegetation leading to huge fires.

Where we have Electricity surges, any damage to power lines that may cause sparks in the forest. Again Recreational activities such as campfires left unattended, fireworks sparks, and other combustion sparks. Lastly, military exercise and agricultural activities.

What to do in the event a wildfire occur near you

In the unfortunate event of a wildfire, here are some practical precautionary measures you can take to ensure you come out alive:

  1. If you are out and a forest fire catches up to you, try not to run because you may not be able to outrun the flames. Instead, try covering your mouth and nose with a wet fabric to avoid suffocating from the smoke.
  2. Make sure to call for help and let the authorities know your whereabouts.
  3. Follow the local news to know how close the fires are to your home, updates regarding evacuation routes, and other evacuation information.
  4. Wear protective clothing to protect you from excess heat and the smoky air.

Ways of preventing wildfires

The slow death of the rich natural vegetation will soon endanger the human life if concerted efforts are not take to control and prevent wildfires. Since the natural habitat for wild animals are destroyed, they may hit back and encroach our homes. Again, the dynamic climatic conditions will even worsen with the continued wearing off of the forest cover. That means the whole world years to come may turn into a desert. Before that happens, here are some ways in which wildfires can be prevented.

1.      Handle fire with care else you may bloom a wildfire

Here, avoid spilling flammables haphazardly and store them away from any ignition or appliances that may emit sparks. You can use prescribed fires to clear out the forest floor from time to time to prevent too much accumulation of dead dry plant material easily sparked by lightning and other ignition sources. This will also reduce fuels that may cause a fire to be unmanageable.

2.      Dispose fire and flammable material appropriately to avoid wildfires

Always be carefully dispose of smoking materials e.g. matches and cigarettes. Never leave any fire unattended campfire to garbage fires. When you are done using fire or burning charcoal and other fuels carefully dispose of them when they are completely safe or as instructed by authorities. Again, contact the local authority immediately you notice an attended fire.

3.      If your property is near areas with wildfire-prone areas, safeguard your property.

Sometimes forest fires can reach people’s property and home areas nearing forests. Ensure you have safeguarded your home area to prevent forest fires from reaching your property. This can be done by:

  • Prune any vegetation hanging around; flammable vegetation and clean debris that may fuel a fire around your house and other buildings in your compound to make a fireproof zone in your homestead.
  • Do not store firewood any other material that may fuel a fire in your fireproof compound.
  • Use fire-resistant building material for the roofing.
  • Make sure that the local fire authority can access your house by clearing your driveway for easy accessibility. Additionally, make sure that your house is well marked so that authorities can know where to find you.
  • Ensure that you have an escape plan and practice drills in case a fire occurs.
  • Follow burning laws by authorities.
  • Monitor outdoor fires until they have completely died out or until they are safe.

Climate Change

COP27 Climate Change Summit: Greenwashing Scam Imperilling Human Rights

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COP27 Climate Change Summit - A Greenwashing Scam Ignoring Human Rights

COP27 Faced Major Criticism

Morally, politically and economically COP27 climate change summit has been coined as a greenwashing scam imperilling human rights.

The world watched Egypt closely as it hosted the 27th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh from the 8th-16th of November. More than 190 governments attended COP27 to attempt to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Furthermore, Egypt hosting of COP27 sparked much controversy due to its abysmal human rights record. Additionally, COP27 faced heavy criticism due to some of the world’s top polluters, such as Coca-Cola sponsoring the event. Furthermore, attendees arrived in private jets; meat and dairy products remained on menus; dozens of domestic civil society organizations were excluded. Additionally, the summit was overshadowed by persistent calls to release up to 65,000 political prisoners in Egyptian prisons.

Worlds Top Polluter, Coca-Cola, Sponsored COP27

The UN climate conference announced a sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola, one of the “world’s top polluters”. Coca-Cola recently retained its title for the fourth year as the world’s top plastic polluter. The sponsorship deal is a greenwashing scam by campaigners, drawing intense criticism.

Coca-Cola produces 120 billion throwaway plastic bottles a year. 99% of plastics are made from fossil fuels, exacerbating the plastic and climate change crises.

Private Jets, Bottomless Cocktails and Beef Medallion Dishes

Surprisingly, attendees indulged in the very activities which got us into this mess in the first place. Moreover, world leaders flew to Egypt in private jets. Attendees enjoyed bottomless cocktails, one-hour unlimited wine and beer packages, $100 beef medallion dishes, and $50 seafood platters.

This begs the question: do these foods belong at a climate conference? We have missed the true purpose of the climate summit: to help save the planet.

Caption: Residents push a boat through a flooded street in Havana. Industrial nations are being asked to compensate those countries most affected by the climate crisis. Photograph: Ramón Espinosa/AP. Image obtained from the Guardian.

Meat and Dairy On the Menu – Not on the Agenda

In the three-decade history of the UN Climate Summit, COP27 was the first UN summit to discuss the meat and dairy industry’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions.

COP27 faced massive criticism this year from climate activists due to the unsustainable meat and dairy items on its menus. It seems unimaginable that globally we are trying to reduce our meat and dairy consumption to save our planet. However, our governments cannot stop eating these foods at the world’s largest climate summit.

Cutting meat and dairy output are not yet on the agenda for governments at COP27. Many governments attending the summit give billions to livestock farmers in subsidies. Instead of focusing on plant-based diets, they are advancing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using feed additives that make animals less gassy and technology that sucks up the methane wafting off manure heaps. Andy Reisinger, a farm emissions specialist and vice-chair of the UN’s IPCC climate panel, said feed additives could worsen emissions by promoting intensive farming.

Read more: Is Veganism the Solution to Eradicating Food Carbon Foot Print?

Dozens of Domestic Civil Society Groups Excluded

Hundreds of prominent human rights defenders, researchers and environmentalists were exiled from Egypt. They were unable to attend Cop27 due to the nature of their work. Many voices from Egypt were absent at the conference due to the government’s corrupt attempts to exclude dozens of domestic civil society groups.

“Arrests and detention, NGO asset freezes and dissolutions and travel restrictions against human rights defenders have created a climate of fear for Egyptian civil society organisations to engage visibly at the COP27” 

Additionally, COP27’s wifi blocked access to international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other news websites needed during information talks. These prominent human rights organizations hosted talks at COP27 but could not access their sites due to previous work criticizing the Egyptian government. Egypt used this strategy to hide the nation’s decades-long record of cracking down on human rights.

Read more: Pakistan’s Climate Crisis: A Peek Into The Apocalyptic Future That Awaits.

65,000 Political Prisoners in Egyptian Prisons

Currently, there are an estimated 65,000 political prisoners inside Egyptian prisons. COP27 was overshadowed by persistent calls to release political prisoners.

A British-Egyptian detainee, Alaa Abd el-Fattah, was a significant focus in the media. As a leader of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, he has been in prison for the past decade. He started a partial hunger strike in April 2022 to protest his detention conditions. He spent the last six months consuming just 100 calories a day. A week before COP27 started, he stopped eating altogether. Then, on the day the summit began, he stopped drinking water. He has since resumed drinking water but remains critically ill.

Greta Thunberg, who refused to attend COP27, signed a petition by a human rights coalition calling on Egyptian authorities to open up civic space and release political prisoners.

Read more: Accelerating Deforestation in the Amazon Severely Threatens Climate Change Crisis.

COP27 Cracks Down On “Greenwashing”

Companies, banks, cities and states worldwide have continuously made broken promises to achieve net-zero emissions. These corporate climate pledges amount to little more than a greenwashing scam. Evading net zero claims is a common greenwashing strategy. Companies claim to be carbon-free due to strategies such as buying carbon credits while simultaneously pursuing new fossil fuel projects emitting greenhouse gases.

Greenwashing is when an organization spends more time and money marketing itself as environmentally friendly than minimizing its environmental impact. It’s a shady marketing gimmick that misleads consumers who prefer to buy environmentally friendly goods and services.

At COP27, the UN cracked down on greenwashing, laying down recommendations for how companies, financial institutions and cities must calculate their net zero emissions status. The new UN report aims to eliminate loopholes by laying out ten steps to bring integrity, transparency and accountability to net zero claims.

“I have a message to fossil fuel companies and their financial enablers. So-called ‘net-zero pledges’ that exclude core products and activities are poisoning our planet. They must thoroughly review their pledges and align them with this new guidance”.

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres.

Read more: Doomsday Glacier on the Brink of Collapse: Catastrophes of Climate Change.

The UN cracked down on companies stating that they can’t claim to be net zero if they are not in line with targets set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These targets include cutting global carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. The UN limited short-term carbon offsets and held that they could only be used sparingly in the long term.

Historic Deal: Governments Must Pay Poor Nations for Climate Damage

Governments at COP27 approved a historic deal to create a fund for compensating developing nations that are victims of extreme weather events worsened by rich countries’ greenhouse gas emissions. However, many remained uncertain as countries argued over emission reduction efforts.

COP27 Climate Change Summit -Greenwashing Scam Imperilling Human Rights.
Caption: A Fridays for Future protester at the Cop27 UN Climate Summit holds a sign calling for the “loss and damage” deal. Photograph: Peter Dejong/AP. Image obtained from the Guardian.

Moreover, this is a massive step for poorer countries bearing the brunt of climate change. These nations face extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, heat waves, and famines despite releasing the lowest greenhouse gas emissions. This historical “loss and damage” deal will provide financial assistance to developing nations stricken by climate disasters.

However, this loss and damage deal has several flaws. Some nations held that the pledges to limit global temperatures to below 1.5 degrees showed little progress compared to the COP26 conference in Glasgow in 2021. Furthermore, others criticized how the language and guidelines on phasing out fossil fuels were weak. Despite many different opinions between nations regarding the guidelines of this historic deal, it is still a vital step towards achieving climate justice.

Read more: Climate Refugees: Pain of Unseen Victims.

Concluding Thoughts

COP27 has faced significant criticism this year for many justifiable reasons. Many believe COP27 is a greenwashing scam failing humanity and the planet by not leading to significant changes. The UN climate summit is losing its credibility in being able to create meaningful change to save our planet.

World leaders and people in power continuously use high-profile gatherings like COP for attention and are greenwashing, lying and cheating their way through pledges and commitments. The UN Environment Programme released the Emissions Gap report stating that only an urgent system-wide transformation can deliver the enormous emissions cuts needed to stabilize global temperatures below 1.5 degrees by 2030.

World leaders consistently fail to fulfil their commitments and act on time. We cannot place trust in greenwashing scams like COP summits anymore. Instead, we need rapid, far-reaching, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society if we want to build a sustainable world for future generations.

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Qatar FIFA 2022, A Civilized Model Of Islam

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Qatar FIFA 2022

Qatar is the first country in the Middle East to host the FIFA World Cup 2022. This was after Qatar’s award hosting in December 2010. This is a tremendous opportunity for Qatar to represent Qatar FIFA 2022 as a civilized model of Islam. The country converted to Islam in the 7th century. Since winning the hosting, it has been constructing some of the most eco-friendly and architectural advanced sporting facilities ever seen. It is the kind of country that has the power to host the greatest show of FIFA ever on Earth.

First, Qatar has always drawn its strength from discovering oil, fishing, and pearl hunting. In addition, it is the world’s second-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. Hosting the tournament presents tremendous opportunities for Qatar to prove itself as a powerful country. Significantly, Qatar has always been taking advantage of the tournament hosting to develop local Industries, expertise, and infrastructure. This was for Innovation and application of excellent standards and support of Qatar’s transition to a knowledge-based economy. This edition of the FIFA World Cup 2022 is being themed by Qatar on its culture, history, identity, and hospitability. As a result, efforts have made the event an unforgettable historical experience.

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The Lebanese file: neither a president nor a government

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election of lebanese presidency

Despite six presidential sessions, Lebanon still does not have a president.

The funny thing is, the government is also idle and the whole country is waiting for a miracle to get up again.

France is on the president line!

The head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Representative Gebran Bassil, is expected to visit Paris, which is expected to mark a remarkable development in the presidential file in Lebanon.

The meetings will aim to discuss the imminent presidential, governmental, and economic entitlements of all Lebanese stakeholders.

French president macron right) and free Patriotic movement leader gebran bassil (left)
French president macron and free Patriotic movement leader gebran bassil

Based on Basil’s excellent relationship with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi and Hezbollah, the French hope to agree on a roadmap for the presidential elections.

Although the French side does not carry an integrated initiative, it sought to know the position of all parties regarding a list of candidates that includes about seven names.

Those connected to the French ambassador understand that her country still has the American mandate to manage the initiative about the presidential file and that Paris wants to reach an agreement with Saudi Arabia that facilitates the task because insisting on fighting harsh battles would prevent the election of a president soon.

President issue: Who does Hezbollah wants?

 Hezbollah is reconsidering the local reality from a different angle than the one that preceded the election of President Aoun, as evidenced by Aoun’s recent paradox of reopening half-closed doors.

In contrast to Aoun, the party does not find any justification for repeating the vacuum for more than two years and tightening its internal domestic rams to deliver its candidate.

They are fully aware that choosing to unilaterally elect a president of the republic, and consequently, a government of one color and the presidency of the House of Representatives, means putting the country in direct conflict with the outside world. Everything that surrounds the internal reality is different from the previous stage, as is the position of the concerned countries.

 While Hezbollah’s opponents are only mentioning Franjieh as president—or, at the very least, any candidate from the party’s second row—this does not imply that Hezbollah has abandoned its candidate or candidates.

The party assumes entering into early settlements, which means that the party receives its price both internally and externally.

This is because the party cannot bear the idea of losing its candidate and will not bear the idea of any settlement following a vacuum that results in challenges, conditions, and counter conditions.

An alternative situation is possible in addition to that. Except for the March 8 team, there is no president of the country.

Is the former minister Franjieh a serious candidate?

Former Minister Suleiman Franjieh was Hezbollah’s candidate.

Nasrallah’s remarks coincided with a fresh French attempt that started a few days ago to forge an agreement on choosing a new president before the year is up and included pledges to start aid programs for Lebanon, including the “Cedre” program.

Former minister Sleiman Franjieh
Former minister Sleiman Franjieh

The debate that the French began with the major parties in Lebanon is anticipated to be finished with Washington and Riyadh and is predicated on the premise that no one can impose a prime minister or president of the republic without a genuine agreement between the major forces.

Hezbollah claimed in 2016 that there was no Plan B for the nomination of General Michel Aoun, and it repeated that claim this time as well: the candidate is Franjieh, and there is a point on the line.

 If the two allies cannot agree on a second candidate, there are dangers that no one has the luxury of incurring.

What does The Free Patriotic Movement says?

 The Free Patriotic Movement was informed by Hezbollah that the results of naming places below the presidency of the Republic under the General Michel Aoun administration were not encouraging, as the residents of these sites turned against the people who named them to them.

There is a “term” that Hezbollah agreed to, though, which is that it will not attend the election session for the Marada Movement’s leader until he has Basil’s endorsement in his pocket.

The party’s desire to maintain and strengthen the agreement with the Free Patriotic Movement is the most crucial factor, and as a result, “the election of Suleiman will be with Gibran’s consent and not at his expense,” among other factors, including giving Franjieh Christian support that makes him a strong president.

So far, there has not been any serious president, and we are facing many sessions without a result.

Is Lebanon on a date with a long presidential debate, as happened before the election of former President Michel Aoun, or will we witness the election of a president before the New Year?

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