Stories about climate change

A year after the most important election: Donald Trump and a series of unfortunate events

Donald Trump shocked the world last November by defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US Presidential election, making him next in line to take the title of the President of the United States (POTUS).   He came into power after running an extremely negative campaign where he belittled all his competitors by calling them derogatory names, vilified the diversity America is known for, and was openly misogynistic. Nobody, not even the Republicans, expected Trump to actually win, since Clinton had been projected to win by a wide margin. The reasons for his victory, attributed largely to racism and misogyny present in ...

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Twitter is to Donald Trump what fidget spinners are to millennials

The priorities of a leader, particularly in times of crisis, tend to speak volumes about their leadership skills. In today’s political climate, where social media dictates public image, leaders like Justin Trudeau are appreciated for eating biryani with Muslim communities, while leaders like Vladimir Putin, who is regularly pictured hunting or exercising, are derided for trying to sell an image of machismo. In the past several weeks, the US has been severely impacted by two Category 5 hurricanes, with experts believing the devastation to have set Puerto Rico back nearly 20 to 30 years. At the same time, the US was also involved in a verbal war ...

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How many hurricanes will it take for Donald Trump to realise that climate change is a real threat?

Since the 45th elected president of the United States was announced, the world has been divided into two schools of thought. There are people who support Donald Trump’s ideologies and people who absolutely despise him for the same reason. When I woke up on election day and checked the news, I was confident that Hillary Clinton had won. Alas, the result was something no one had expected. I, along with the rest of the world, was horrified that the new president was probably the worst choice the US had ever made. Every time that man gave a speech, it would end up going viral because ...

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Harvey was the daddy of all hurricanes, but is climate change solely to blame?

Recently, I was asked, “Aren’t you glad that you left Houston when you did?” In the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, perhaps that was a valid question, not an insensitive one. However, on further introspection, I realised that I was neither glad that I had left Houston when I did, nor could I wish that I was still there. Au contraire, I was pensive about family, friends and former work colleagues having to deal with this newest water-related calamity of Houston. That Houston is flood prone is not news to me. During my 15-year-long ‘sojourn’ in Houston, I had to deal with several flash ...

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Pulling out of the Paris climate agreement may be Donald Trump’s only success story

In the cold and grey Washington, the news cycle has been eternally hot lately. The fire refuses to simmer down. The breathtaking pace at which events occur makes it tough to keep up with the war of words from the movers and shakers in a town where, post November 9, 2016, things have been constantly on the edge. While it is safe to say that all politicians are born actors and blatant liars, Donald Trump’s White House has legitimised the art of lying and given an official seal of approval to “alternative facts” – a term that essentially masks any untrue statement ...

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Monsieur Trudeau and Trump played their cards well

Monsieur Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada and Mr Donald Trump, president of the United States of America, met face-to-face in Washington on February 13, 2017. This meeting affirmed that their nations’ bilateral relationship would be unaffected by different policy positions. President Trump said: “America is deeply fortunate to have a neighbour like Canada.” Prime Minister Trudeau confidently stated: “No neighbours in the entire world are as fundamentally linked as we are.” Monsieur Trudeau publicly declared the steadiness of the Anglosphere applecart club which comprises of the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Club rules recognise complete domestic sovereignty with “fundamentally” interlinked, interdependent foreign policies led, though not dictated, by the United States. Common ...

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Russia will never sabotage its alliance with Iran for Donald Trump

As I write these lines, Washington is abuzz with the news of Donald Trump’s top security advisor, Michael Flynn’s resignation. The White House is trying to clean up the mess Flynn’s rather over-zealously erratic act created, ending up in critics looking at the election victory in a whole new light.  Ironically, Trump saw in Flynn the capability to penetrate the Russian iron curtain by virtue of his connections with Moscow. Ironically also, it was Flynn who had put Iran on an unexplained and unelaborated ‘notice’ early February – an ill-conceived, rhetoric ridden, flash in the pan type of a half-step that really just reiterated Washington’s unsavoury ...

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Mommy tips: How to raise a mini activist

When we hear the word “activist”, we immediately think of khadi clad, jhola carrying men and women braving water cannons and lathi charges. But an activist is one who campaigns for social change of any kind, someone who identifies the rot in society and speaks about it. There are various degrees of activism and similarly various ways of showing dissent. Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and any thriving society needs such voices. Such conscientious persons are not born but raised. One might feel that preteens are too young to grapple the socio-political dynamics of a complex society, ...

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I love the UN, but it is failing

I have worked for the United Nations for most of the last three decades. I was a human rights officer in Haiti in the 1990s and served in the former Yugoslavia during the Srebrenica genocide. I helped lead the response to the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Haitian earthquake, planned the mission to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons, and most recently led the Ebola mission in West Africa. I care deeply for the principles the United Nations is designed to uphold. And that’s why I have decided to leave. The world faces a range of terrifying crises, from the threat of climate change to terrorist breeding grounds in ...

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Is a discussion on climate change even relevant to a third world country like Pakistan?

Over the last century, the average temperature of the earth increased by 0.6 degrees and experts estimated that it will increase by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees centigrade by the end of the current century. What does it mean? How does that have any effect on a person’s daily life? For a third world country that is struggling with power outages and recurring political crises, is this even a relevant discussion? The answer is yes. It is relevant. It is important. And it impacts all of us. The geographical location of Pakistan places it in a heat surplus zone, which makes it extremely susceptible to the impact of climate change. The occurrence of ...

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