Several districts in Sindh are currently grappling with the severe repercussions of climate change
n the context of the sustainable development goals, Sindh has aligned its climate change and development efforts with the global agenda. Several SDGs directly relate to climate change and environmental sustainability, including Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), Goal 13 (Climate Action), and Goal 15 (Life on Land). The state initiatives aim to contribute to achieving these goals by promoting renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving biodiversity.
Umerkot and some other districts in Sindh are currently grappling with the severe repercussions of climate change. The rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall patterns, absence of a reliable rain cycle in the desert region, prolonged droughts and the heightened occurrence of extreme weather events have taken a toll on the livelihoods and overall welfare of the local communities. These adverse effects are particularly devastating for the agriculture sector, which is the primary source of income for many. Consequently, the region is facing significant challenges in terms of food security and economic stability.
The people of Sindh are not only facing the detrimental impacts of climate change but also dealing with the consequences of runaway inflation. The combination of these two factors has worsened the difficulties experienced by the people. Consequently, the community faces numerous hardships, psychological issues.
Sindh has consistently been underreporting problems to serve certain agendas. India and Bangladesh have, meanwhile, prioritized sustainability. There are several factors contributing to the alarming decline in Sindh. One of the primary reasons is the collective behaviour. It is crucial to make a paradigm shift in our approach to climate change, acknowledging that our combined efforts have the potential to create a significant impact. Failure to adapt will make our existence unsustainable on a planet plagued by rising temperatures.
Despite numerous efforts, significant challenges persist in addressing climate change in Sindh, particularly in desert areas. Limited access to resources, a lack of awareness and inadequate infrastructure create obstacles to effective climate action. The state must enhance its capacity to implement and monitor climate change initiatives and prioritise the inclusion of marginalised communities, such as youth and individuals with extensive knowledge of local wisdom, in decision-making processes.
Sindh Climate Action Network actively engages in combating climate change. The SCAN diligently focuses on addressing critical aspects such as policy-level concerns, effective implementation of approved policies and disseminating awareness about these policies at the grassroots level.
The SCAN, as an autonomous structure, plays a key role in Sindh. It undertakes various measures to tackle climate change, bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds, including different faiths and religions, the youth, environmentalists, researchers, writers and the focal person for the Early Warning System. Each person contributes in their unique role on a voluntary basis. They have translated the Sindh climate change policy into Sindhi and are actively raising awareness at the local level to sensitise the community about the significance of a healthier environment.
India has launched a National Solar Mission, with the goal of achieving 100 GW of solar power capacity by 2022. Additionally, India has played a crucial role in establishing the International Solar Alliance, which aims to promote solar energy globally. The country is developing green energy corridors and promoting the adoption of electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions.
In order to prioritise conservation and increase forest cover, India is implementing the National Afforestation Programme and initiatives like the Green India Mission. It has also made commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 33-35 percent by 2030, while also aiming for 40 percent electricity generation from non-fossil fuel sources. Energy efficiency programmes including labelling and certification, energy audits and awareness campaigns are under
The situation in Pakistan is significantly different. It will require substantial time and effort to achieve a similar level of progress. Given our current capacities, it is imperative that we adopt a realistic approach to create a more conducive environment for addressing the challenges posed by climate change. In the Thar area, specifically within the Thakur community, a wealth of local wisdom exists that places a strong emphasis on the protection of tree species, discourages tree cutting and promotes the planting of indigenous trees. The Thakur community holds a deep reverence for all trees, including basil trees, considering them sacred and essential for the overall well-being of their environment. Trees are regarded as living beings that provide sustenance and shade and contribute to the balance of the ecosystem. The community takes great pride in assuming the role of guardians for the diverse tree species flourishing in the Thar region. Through their enduring efforts, these individuals have consistently preserved and protected these precious species across generations. Their recognition of the ecological significance and the vital role that these trees play in upholding the resilience of the local ecosystem has resulted in their unwavering commitment.
Certain areas near Heerar of Chelhar in Tharparkar serve as tangible examples of this dedication. These particular regions receive a significant amount of rainfall each year, leading to a remarkable transformation. The emergence of lush greenery in this area becomes a spectacle admired and appreciated by people from all corners of the Thar region.
In these challenging times, it is crucial that we explore innovative approaches to uphold the cultural significance of both the desert and the barrage part of Sindh. To achieve this, we must actively engage and inspire the youth, while also raising awareness among other community members about the importance of adopting sustainable practices in tree management, tree plantation and other environmentally beneficial activities.
By thinking outside the box and implementing adaptive strategies, such as selective harvesting, promoting natural regeneration and avoiding excessive exploitation of tree resources, we can establish a foundation for long-term environmental sustainability. These practices will play a pivotal role in mitigating the effects of climate change and ensuring the preservation of our natural surroundings.
Platforms like SCAN are making significant contributions to promote positive environmental activities in Sindh. These networks serve as essential platforms that bring together various stakeholders, including government agencies, NGOs, community groups and individuals with a shared goal of creating a better and unpolluted planet. By providing a common ground for collaboration, knowledge-sharing and coordinated action, these platforms enable collective efforts towards addressing climate change and environmental challenges. They play a crucial role in raising awareness, advocacy for policy changes, implementing sustainable practices and fostering community engagement.
For a sustainable future, it is essential to establish and strengthen similar platforms at various levels, not only in Sindh but also in other regions. These platforms should facilitate dialogue, cooperation and partnerships, encouraging diverse stakeholders to come together and work together towards common environmental goals.
The writer is based in Umerkot. He has more than 13 years of experience in the development sector. He can be reached at shewaramlive.com