Forces of change

November 20, 2022

Urging immediate action against the current trajectory of catastrophic climate change

Forces of change


OC Films, under its sustainability initiative SOCH Outreach Foundation, recently announced the launch of Pakistan’s Climate Change Heroes, a book and film series authored by Rumana Hussain and directed by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, respectively. Through this initiative, SOC Films urges Pakistan and the world to take immediate action against the current trajectory of catastrophic climate change, as it is time for the whole community, in general, to organise and join the global fight against climate change. Pakistan’s Climate Change Heroes applauds the work of 14 Pakistanis working to counteract one of the greatest crises humanity has ever encountered.

Husain, who has worked on more than 60 children’s books, profiles these movers and shakers of the climate action plan who are shouldering the responsibility to bring about a change in their fields and are determined to employ available resources and strategies to give back to the planet. Essentially catering to children, the book’s fundamental message is how these heroes play their part in restoring what is left to us. The bilingual book ensures that the sensibility around it has a wider audience and broader outreach. It also informs us about the various factors contributing to climate change and the resulting problems. For instance, we learn how melting glaciers and floods affect the growth of crops and other living beings and how we can prevent greenhouse gasses from wreaking havoc with the environment.

Theclimate heroes include Safdar Hussain from Balochistan, Gulab Shah from Sindh, Rehmat Ali Dost from Chitral, Asif Murad and Amanullah Khan from Gilgit-Baltistan, Khurram Bhatti from Karachi, Ahmad Shabbar, Salim Dablo a fisherman from Sindh, Saadbin Azam from the Punjab, Amjad Rashid from Quetta and Hasnain Lilani from Karachi. Each chapter is dedicated to one hero, with a self-explanatory title corresponding to the hero’s personal identity, their efforts in their domain and how those impact the world. Rooting for the Mangroves is about Gulab Shah’s struggle to save and plant more mangroves. The Garbage Magician talks about Ahmad Shabbar’s goal to keep the Earth clean and green.

The book invites all – including women, youth, elites, middle class, the state, and all others working in and with the law – to be(come) concomitant “climate actioners”.

“The fight towards conserving the planet cannot be fought without ensuring sustainability, empowerment of women and the youth and prompting action when it comes to equitable distribution of resources. I hope this book plays its part in initiating a dialogue around the climate emergency and inspires us to follow in the footsteps of these heroes,” says Obaid-Chinoy, who has directed and produced the Climate Change Heroes film series.

“Though in the late 1980s, I had formulated an Environment curriculum for the primary classes for a school I was heading, and have written numerous storybooks for children on the subject, and co-authored Save the Earth - a textbook series for Oxford University Press over 16 years ago, the experience of writing this particular book has been unique. When Sharmeen called me to ask if I would be willing to write this book, it didn’t take me a moment to decide, as the subject was very close to my heart. Also, getting to know about the work of these 14 persons across Pakistan, and learning so much from them in the process, has been especially elating. From a fisherman working to save the mangroves in rural Sindh to a scientist working on warning systems for GLOF, it is a diverse group of people, encompassing everything on and around climate action,” says Hussain, talking about the journey till the book reached the shelves.

Hussain has done a stellar job in her choice of words, keeping it simple and easy while offering inspiration to do something for our country. The book is a thoroughly-researched source to enlighten oneself about various sustainable alternatives and solutions for the problems arising from climate change. Although a children’s book, it is not addressed to children or academics only. Rather, it invites all – including women, youth, elites, middle class, the state, and others working in and with the law – to be(come) concomitant “climate actioners”. The pressing issue poses an ever-worsening existential danger to humanity (both living and future generations), mainly to communities in the Global South and vulnerable groups. It is the most severe threat to human rights, such as the right to life (and in particular, life with dignity), health, bodily integrity, adequate water and sanitation and other socio-economic and cultural rights.

SOC Films has also announced the book’s distribution free of cost to educational institutes.

The reviewer is a freelance writer based in Karachi

Forces of change