While the festivities of Pakistan’s 74th Independence Day are underway, let’s shed some light on climate change and how it’s currently impacting our country – because if we don’t pay heed now and take precautionary measures, we might not have a country to celebrate in the upcoming years.
Code Red For Humanity
“The Earth is getting so hot that temperatures in a decade’s time will probably blow past a level of warming that the world leaders have sought to prevent”, this is the alarming reality stated to us in the UN’s recent report called ‘Code Red for Humanity’.
In the Paris Agreement (2015) world government’s had agreed to limit global warming to preferably 1.5 degrees Celcius. The pact was signed by 197 countries and ratified by 191. However, according to Climate Action Tracker, only two countries in the world are on track to meet the 1.5-degree upper limit, Morocco and The Gambia. Most countries, including all EU members, are currently on track for a 3-degree increase or more.
According to IPCC data, in a climate that’s 1.5 degrees warmer, extreme heatwaves will become widespread, with consequences we still can’t fully predict. Conversely, some regions of the world will experience much heavier rainfall and the ensuing risk of serious flooding. Others will have more frequent and more severe droughts. The IPCC also note that a 1.5C increase could kill off as much as 8 percent of plant species, 6 percent of insect species and 4 percent of plant species – but that impact will vary greatly across different ecosystems.IPCC SPECIAL REPORT “Global Warming of 1.5 ºC”
How Is Pakistan Currently Battling Climate Change
Over the years. Pakistan has been consistently ranked in the Top 10 most vulnerable countries impacted by climate change. Currently, the country faces extreme challenges such as melting glaciers limiting freshwater availability, more floods and drought, decreases in crop yield and greater air pollution. However, recently the Pakistani Government has doubled down on its efforts to save the country from the debilitating effects of climate change and has set the ball rolling in the right direction.
Initiatives such as introducing a green economic stimulus, Eco-system Protection, Wildlife management, the Protected Areas initiative, the Pakistan Clean Air Programme and the landmark 10-Billion Tree Tsunami has made it evident that the current government cares about the environment and the future of upcoming generations threatened by food insecurity. Recently, the Prime Miniter has also inaugurated the world’s biggest Miyawaki urban forest near Lahore under the 10-billion Tree Tsunami Project and announced the Recharge Pakistan project designed to divert flood water to wetland to recharge water table and mangroves forestation, which absorb carbon besides green-house gases. Moreover, the Government has also announced that it plans on producing 60 per cent of all energy in the country through renewable resources by the year 2030 and has already scrapped two coal power projects, which were supposed to generate 2,600MW of electricity and replaced them with hydro-power units.
However, Government initiatives aren’t enough to see the fight against climate change through. Unless every single Pakistani plays their part towards a more sustainable ecosystem, our future is in jeopardy!
Survey Highlights That Young Pakistanis With Digital Access Are Very Aware Of Climate Change
The Ministry of Climate Change, Viamo and UNDP recently completed a survey and analysis to better understand the perception and opinions of Pakistan’s youth regarding climate change. About 8,800 people aged 19 to 34 completed the survey and these were the primary findings:
Young people with digital access are very aware of climate change. Forty three percent had a high degree of understanding while only 10 percent were uninformed. In non-smart phone surveys these trends were reversed—30 percent had no knowledge and 10 percent had a high understanding. Almost one in every five respondents have had to migrate because of temperature extremes and drastic changes in weather patterns. Feedback varied by location. Urban respondents cited financial, logistical and technological resource constraints as the primary adaptation challenges, while those in rural areas underscored a lack of knowledge on how to proceed. The survey also sought feedback on the success of existing government initiatives. The Clean Green Pakistan Index was the most recognized, with 31 percent of the respondents having knowledge of it, followed by Ten Billion Tree Tsunami at 24 percent. Eighty four percent of respondents agreed that these initiatives had increased their climate change knowledge, and provided a blueprint for further policy initiatives. Green job creation was identified as a core issue. Investment schemes to support entrepreneurs such as the Kamyab Jawan Programme was singled out as an effective means to accelerate the country’s trajectory to sustainability.Youth and Climate Change Perception Report
How Can You Play Your Part?!
Some of the ways we can make a positive change right now is if we modify our lifestyle and start implementing the following:
- Forgo fast-fashion for more sustainable and ethically produced clothing.
- Opt for public transportation when you travel.
- Avoid single use plastic – this includes plastic bags, containers, etc.
- Make “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” your motto and find out ways you can upscale an item and get more use out of it before you get rid of it.
- Make the move from drugstore sanitary napkins to reusable pads and menstrual cups, same goes for all of your other toiletries – there’s always a more eco-freindly option available.
- Go thrifting and buy second-hand – this includes furniture, books, clothes, etc.
- Shop more conciously and consider the envioremnetal practices of the company/brand you’re buying from.
- Spread awareness about climate change in your social circles.
- Write to your lawmakers and ask them to take strict action against those who vioalte envoronmental laws and ensure their implementation.
- Volunteer and Donate!
While the steps mentioned above won’t get rid of climate change immediately, in the long run, the snowball effect will inculcate a habit of making better and more conscious lifestyle choices and will influence the others around you to make positive changes as well. On this Independence Day, let’s vow to ensure better and environmentally conscious practices in our communities so that Pakistan’s future is brighter and more secure than our present!