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June 9, 2015

Art engages youngsters on World Environment Day


June 9, 2015

As many as 80 oil-on-canvas paintings featured the marvellous landscapes of mountains, lush green forests, blue lagoons and lakes besides depicting the environmental degradation and the impact of climate change on natural resources and human life.
The exhibition of paintings by university and college students was unveiled the other day at the Pak-China Friendship Centre in connection with the World Environment Day celebrations.
The exhibits were the outcome of a painting competition organised by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) for the youth of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The contest was divided into two categories, postgraduate and undergraduate.
Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed, while talking to this scribe, said “The main objective of the painting competition was to sensitise the youth about the precious natural resources that we have, and the role of youth to support the conservation of natural environment. We need to engage youth in our every effort for the public advocacy and outreach to enhance the awareness of general masses about the need of green cover all around us, and why do we need conservation of natural resources”.
He said, “Art can play significant role in capturing the beauty of nature, invoking love for nature and inspiring people to protect it, and most importantly adding value to the aesthetics of general public. All the paintings are creative output of the female students except one. We need to engage male students in art and design as well, and educational institutions shall take measures in this regard too”.
Riffat Ara Baig, the chief of jury for the painting competition, said, “Every student has shown the best of her skills. The girls understood the subject very well and painted skilfully. We have inspiringly creative talent in our educational institutions. We shall be engaging youth to involve families in green initiatives and nature

The Indus Consortium with the support of Oxfam also organised an environmental painting competition for the junior school kids. About 20 children took part in the competition.
Saeed Anwar, a TV and stage artiste, along with his team also performed few skits to entertain and educate the children about their role in keeping the environment clean and green.
A seminar ‘Combating the Climate Change Impact’ was also arranged with Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmad in the chair. The speakers included Prof Dr Imran Hashmi from the NUST Institute of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (NUST-IESE), journalist Huma Khwar, Engineer Naseer Gillani, Water Chief in the Planning Commission of Pakistan, Ahmad Kamal, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Asif Shuja Khan, former Director General Pakistan environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), Syed Mustafain Kazmi, Member Environment CDA, and Munir Ahmed, Director Devcom-Pakistan.
Dr Iftikhar Ahmad said the major impact of climate change would be on the water and agriculture, resulting sliding decrease in the yields of different crops. We need to introduce water efficient crops and also need to teach the farmers about the new methodologies and patterns of crops.
Dr Imran Hashmi said, the green cover is fast depleting due to overgrowth of population and the Green House Gas emissions have caused immense increase in the global warming that has caused intense changes in the climate. These changes are affecting us badly but we still need larger implementation on-ground to save the people from the negative impact of climate change.
Huma Khawar suggested the capacity building of the media persons to report the climate change impact stories. In the ‘breaking news’ culture, she said, we need to groom a group journalists that could bring forth the actualities of climate change impact from the poor and far flung areas.
Naseer Gillani said we are briskly leading to a water scarce country. “Our glaciers are melting at very fast pace and we also face heavy rains but there was no capacity of reservoirs to store the accumulated water flow in short span of time. We lose huge water to sea. The case of new water reservoirs has been already been pollicised. The poor people of the country would suffer from the lack of water in the years to come if immediate steps are not taken to construct dams, and the water storage capacity is not enhanced.”
Ahmad Kamal said Pakistan is among the top three countries vulnerable to large and intense disasters as reported by the international think tank German Watch. “We have seen the brunt of climate change during the last five years. Still, disaster management is not the top priority of the decision makers in Pakistan. We need to well equip the disaster management authorities at all levels; national, provincial and district,” he added.
Asif Shuja Khan urged the government to restructure the ministry of climate change and recruit technical and professional staff to meet the needs of the day. He said without dynamic team at the ministry, no vigorous steps could be taken to save the people from the ultimate brunt of the climate change.

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