Tag Archives: historian

Australia’s Black Summer bushfires herald a new ice age, say fire historians | Instant News

Players train at the Auckland ASB Tennis Center in January under an orange sky, due to smoke emanating from Australian bushfires. Photo / Jason Oxenham

The unusual nature of Australia’s Black Summer bushfires may have marked the beginning of a fire-fueled “ice age” and the world appears to have “crossed the threshold” into a more dangerous future, said a global fire historian.

Professor Emeritus Stephen Pyne at Arizona State University is a former firefighter in the US who has previously studied Australian fires for his 1991 book, Burning Bush: A Fire History of Australia.

Pyne said the 2019/2020 fires, which tore through 24 to 40 million hectares of scrub in several states and territories, marked the start of a global fire year.

“I think there will be a legacy because the fires are not limited to Australia, they continue to hit the western United States, they are in Europe and Siberia.”

Pyne said the scale of the Black Summer fires set it apart from fires in previous years.

“While there are no individual fires in Australia or elsewhere that are unprecedented, I think the scale is different because they come as a herd.”

Pyne previously thought the Black Saturday fires, which claimed the lives of 173 people in Victoria in 2009, had set a limit for what a single fire can do, but last year’s fire season swelled to months of continuous burning.

“What makes fires different in general is the large-scale swarm effect. It’s not two or three days apart outbreaks, they continued.

“I think of it as the ‘rolling thunder effect.’ When they come in a sequence like that, it just keeps expanding.”

A fire lights up in view of a Canberra suburb on January 31, 2020 in Canberra, Australia.  Photo / Getty Images
A fire lights up in view of a Canberra suburb on January 31, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. Photo / Getty Images

Pyne said California is also a spectacular example of this, with the state experiencing the fourth consecutive year of historic fires.

He said that not all fires have the same cause, the fires in the Amazon are also related to land clearing and those that occur in Indonesia are related to draining tropical peatlands.

“But everywhere, fire seems to be a manifestation of the broken relationship between humans and nature,” he said.

“I think we have the potential to cross the threshold this year.”


Pyne believes the way humans manage natural landscapes, combined with the treatment of fossil fuels, may have given birth to a new “ice age”.

“We take stuff from our geological past and burn it without understanding the effect, and this is released into our future.”

He said that the increasing severity of fire was a manifestation of this activity, which also changed sea levels and caused widespread extinctions of plants and animals.

“We are reshaping the planet directly and indirectly.”

In the same way that ice is seen as a physical manifestation of changes in Earth’s temperature during the Pleistocene era, fire can be a manifestation of a new era that Pyne calls the Pyrocene era.

“For the fires in Australia, it turns out to be what led to an extraordinary global fire year, and it can also be taken as an indisputable marker for what I think of as our new fire age.”

The fire line leaves a trail of destruction through the forests of Queensland.  Photo / NZ Herald
The fire line leaves a trail of destruction through the forests of Queensland. Photo / NZ Herald

Pyne believes that the smoke from fires, which obscure cities like Sydney and Canberra for days, could eventually get people to notice what’s going on around them, just as the dust storms of the 1930s sparked action in the dust bowl in America. .

He said action was being taken about agricultural practices when Washington DC began to feel the effects of massive dust storms spreading far from central US areas.

“This changed the discourse and suddenly it became a national issue. This gives extra urgency to many conservation programs and makes the issue visible to the public and Congress.

“My feeling is the smoke will do it for this last year’s fire.

“It makes visibility of impact clear to a larger audience and it can lead to change.”

Smoke from the Australian fires reached New Zealand and was reported to other areas around the world, while the smoke from the US fires was spreading to places people said were immune to fire, making it an unprecedented public health problem.

“I think people have a very high tolerance for fire images – they’re dramatic but limited to certain places, but smoke can spread widely,” said Pyne.

This way, the Black Summer fires can have a longer impact.

“I was tempted to think that it was a historical fire, but it might also be a fire depending on our response.”

Smoke and flames from wildfires run out of control over a 1500km edge across East Gippsland, in January.  Photo / Dale Appleton
Smoke and flames from wildfires run out of control over a 1500km edge across East Gippsland, in January. Photo / Dale Appleton

Pyne said that fire is in our future no matter what we do.

“We have to control the fossil fuel burning party but even after this stabilizes or reverses, there will still be a lot of fires and we have to do a lot more than we did before.

“They are not leaving… we have a huge debt and we also have to put a lot of fire back into the environment.

“Even if we stop burning fossil fuels and step up our action on climate change, there will be a lot of fires in our future.

“It can be wild or devastating, or it can be controlled and actually produce good benefits.

“But it won’t go away.”

With the US still facing the repercussions of the presidential election, which Donald Trump still rejects, Pyne said Australia was in a better position to take action.

“You are really at the forefront, you are equipped with world-class fire science and forest fire fighting skills,” he said.

“I hope Australia can make the move and start responding in an engaged and informed way, in a way that the US and even Canada cannot.

“This is something that Australia can really lead, can engage with landscapes and fires, and cultural discussions are an interesting part of that too.”

Pyne said it’s not just about doing one big thing to solve climate change and fix the problem, there are lots of little things that can be done too, and these actions may differ in many areas.

“We need to decide what the problem is in each particular place and what kind of treatment suite makes sense there.”


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The famous writer Suhail Lari died in Karachi | Instant News



He died of the coronavirus

Web table – Posted: Dec 5, 2020 | Last Updated: 5 hours ago

Posted: Dec 5, 2020 | Last Updated: 5 hours ago

Famous historian and writer Suhail Zaheer Lari died of the coronavirus in Karachi on Saturday. He is the husband of renowned architect Yasmeen Lari, who is battling the virus.

Lari wrote more than 60 books on history, heritage and culture. He studied in Allahabad, Lahore, Karachi and Oxford.

Lari and his wife co-founded the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan in 1980. It is a heritage of Pakistan and a humanitarian aid organization.

He served in top positions in various public and private organizations.

Some of his literary works include An Illustrated History of Sindh, Neither Islamic Nor Persia, A History of Muslim Painting, Meri Mitti Kay Log, Makli under Samma, Makli under Mughal, Makli under Timurid, and Makli under Sufi.

His book History of Sindh is a one-volume account of the history of the province from its earliest times to the division of the subcontinent. This contributed to a more intelligent and meaningful discussion on Sindh political issues.


Suhail Lari, coronavirus, Sindh, historian, writer, author, Yasmeen Lari,


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Historians claim the test of British citizenship is more than truth | Instant News

General view of Harrods department store in London, after an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), London, England, May 26, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Tests that people born outside the UK must pass if they want to obtain British citizenship include inaccurate, misleading, and racist elements, according to a group of historians who urge the state to renew it.

The 181 experts have written an open letter asking the UK Central Office – the government department responsible for emergency services, immigration and national security – to correct “misleading and wrong” representations of slavery and the kingdom in the official history section of the government’s book. called Life in UK, which people use to prepare for the nation’s citizenship exam.

“The official handbooks published by the Home Office are basically misleading and in places proven to be false,” wrote the historians, who included faculty members from most British universities, 13 colleagues from the British Academy, and two previous presidents from the Royal Historical Society .

They say “people in the colony and people of color in England have no actors in this official history”, while white people born in the former colony, such as poet Rudyard Kipling, are included.

“The handbook promotes the misleading view that the empire ended simply because the British decided it was the right thing to do,” the letter said. “Likewise, the abolition of slavery is treated as a British achievement, where the enslaved people themselves do not play a role. This book is equally silent about the protests, uprisings, and colonial independence movements.”

They claim the book says slavery was illegal in England in the 1700s while it was actually unclear whether it was legal or not at the time.

And historians dispute the claim that “in the second part of the 20th century, there was, for the most part, an orderly transition from the empire to the commonwealth”. They say that the decolonization process was less a gift from Britain than the result of a violent uprising.

Historian and broadcaster David Olusoga told the Guardian newspaper: “This is another manifestation and version of our history that covers the difficult parts and if this is the history we tell fellow new citizens, then I am somewhat desperate.”

Olusoga said the Black Lives Matter protest movement has caused organizations and institutions to rethink the way they act themselves and the Home Office should do the same, so that new British citizens have “a fuller and more honest understanding of our past”.

“The purpose of the official handbook is to promote tolerance and justice and facilitate integration,” the letter said. “In the current version, the history page does the opposite.”

The Home Office told the BBC: “Given the breadth of British history, the Life in UK handbook provides a starting point for exploring our past and helps those who want to live permanently in the UK gain a basic understanding of society, culture, and historical references that occur in conversation daily. “

The spokesman said the government would continue to keep its contents “under review” and “consider the feedback we received”.


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