“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” – Rumi

E-books: The pros of digital text

In the digital age, it seems like anything that can be put on a computer screen will be put into a computer screen, from food delivery and hotels, to taxis and furniture delivery. Over the years, I’ve tried to embrace as much of this technology as I could, but there was one thing that I only recently started embracing: e-books. Now, don’t get me wrong: I still love my hardbound collection, but e-books have really opened my eyes to the possibilities of technology. But more importantly, it’s also shown me how this technology can inspire the younger generation to read more. Reading is a fundamental skill most people should know. And in this age where physical books may still be inaccessible to kids learning to read at a young age and even older adults, e-books may be the solution. I can hear the purists now though, “e-books aren’t real books! Nothing beats paper!” And believe me, I would have agreed with you a few years ago, but trust me, there’s a lot of benefits to e-books. Which isn’t to say that traditional books aren’t great too, they are; it’s just that e-books are not the hardcover killers that people make them out to be. In fact, if done right, e-books can help students appreciate traditional books more. For starters, e-books are more convenient. For a bibliophile like myself, there’s nothing more impressive than seeing a room with floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall bookshelves filled with all manner of books. But the problem with that setup? I can’t bring all of those books in my backpack! With e-books, you can fit entire libraries into a single electronic reader. E-books are also more sustainable as there’s no environmental impact in their creation. Also, people who are visually impaired or don’t like to read much can easily access them as some e-books come with audio files to help improve your reading experience.

Shahrukh Shah,

Disintegration of forests induces 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.

Tooba Tariq,