By Rina Saeed Khan | Thomson Reuters Foundation, 28 April 2020.
The effort shows how funds to help families during the pandemic could also help prepare for the next big threat: climate change
When construction worker Abdul Rahman lost his job to Pakistan’s coronavirus lockdown, his choices looked stark: resort to begging on the streets or let his family go hungry. But the government has now given him a better option: Join tens of thousands of other out-of-work labourers in planting billions of trees across the country to deal with climate change threats. Since Pakistan locked down starting March 23 to try to stem the spread of COVID-19, unemployed day labourers have been given new jobs as “jungle workers”, planting saplings as part of the country’s 10 Billion Tree Tsunami programme. Such “green stimulus” efforts are an example of how funds that aim to help families and keep the economy running during pandemic shutdowns could also help nations prepare for the next big threat: climate change.