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Islamabad News
July 28,2015

Climate Change is here, but what’re we going to do about it?

Ali Moeen Nawazish
If we thought that the issues of environment and pollution were only for developed countries, we were wrong. If we thought that the issues of our changing weather and global climate change were issues that only developed countries needed to worry about, we were wrong. If we thought that there were bigger and more pressing issues to deal with for Pakistan over environmental and climate impact, let me assure you we were very wrong.
“From a journalist’s point of view, climate change is the story of not only our generation but this century,” my argumentative journalism professor, Todd Gitlin, told us in our first class at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. How true! The one thing that is going to impact not only one city, nation, country, continent, race, or species, but also the whole world and every living thing in it. That is truly the biggest story in the history of mankind.
We are seeing the effects of climate change already around the world and at home. The polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, floods and draughts are hitting in places where they were unheard of before. We are seeing violent swings in temperature all around the world.
Closer to home we are seeing flooding in greater frequency and magnitude year over year. Drought is hitting our dry areas in much worse ways than ever before.
This is to the point that people are dying in the hundreds. Cities like Karachi are seeing massive heatwaves which are leading to more and more deaths.
Whether we realize it or not we are all causing it. It is not just the failure of the government to take appropriate action in response to the changing environmental conditions, but it is the failure of the government to take preventative action.
The problem with climate change in Pakistan is that hardly a small proportion of our population is aware of what climate change is and how it will impact us. Secondly, corporate greed means that our corporations and big businesses will not let a problem with serious ramifications in the future stop them from turning out huge profits right now.
Surprisingly, unlike most other countries including the ones championing action to save the planet, we actually have an entire ministry dedicated to climate change.
The Ministry of Climate Change is one of the very few of its kind in the entire world. Who is our minister you ask? Senator Mushahidullah Khan, a lawyer by education and he fulfilled the role of Information Secretary of PML-N. The minister has yet to provide us an effective action plan against climate change in Pakistan.
In his past 50 talk shows he has mentioned climate change a total of 0 times. If only the issue of climate change was as important as that of Reham Khan’s fake degree.
However, jokes and jabs aside. This is now a serious problem. The fate of not just our people in their present format hangs in the balance, but also of our future children and generations.
We have some of the worst cities in the world in terms of air pollution. Heatwaves have been rampant in the past decade. Islamabad the cool and green city is getting hotter. No one seems to care or really worry about what that is going to cause.
Tree plantation drives are limited to schools and some events. But just planting trees isn’t enough anyway. We need to curb emissions, keep a check on corporate production, and look at car emissions on our roads. Define a green area to built up area ratio. We need to clean up our planet and it has to start from our home.
If the Prime Minister of Pakistan was to spearhead the issue of climate change, we would not only be seen around the world as a progressive country with a progressive leadership. We will also develop an inroad on all international forums elevating the status of Pakistan as a country which is doing its part for the world. But will we?

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