Climate change is everyone’s problem

November 21, 2021

The more human activity there is, the higher its harmful effect on Earth

Climate change is everyone’s problem

Have you noticed that summers are hotter than ever before? Have you noticed that the winters are colder? Have you noticed that weather extremes in almost all parts of Pakistan are happening more frequently?

We have seen this in Karachi, in interior Sindh, and in the Punjab. Now we have also seen it in the federal.

Similar events are likely happening across the country in rural areas but not getting reported as regularly as most people living in far-flung rural areas don’t have access to the internet and mobile devices.

The media networks of all large TV channels are also concentrated in major cities. In some regions a single journalist reports on several districts.

The effects of climate change are not limited to Pakistan. These have been reported around the globe. If you have been following international news you know that the onset of fire in natural forests around the world is a very recent phenomenon. It has affected Turkey, Russia, USA, Morocco, Algeria and Greece.

Extreme weather events cause floods, fires and droughts. They affect all species: human, plants and animals alike. Those who have studied biology are aware of what I am trying to say here.

According to the National Geographic Society, an ecosystem is a geographic area where plants, animals and other organisms, as well as weather and landscape, work together to form a bubble of life. These include biotic factors as well as abiotic factors. The biotic factors include plants, animals and other organisms. The abiotic factors include rocks, temperature and humidity. An environmental change, even when it is apparently localised, disturbs the whole eco-system through droughts, floods, wild fires and outbreak of diseases.

These disturbances affect all the Earth’s inhabitant species alike. Most of these are negative disturbances. Humans, as the most advanced species, are always more concerned about their survival and safety. Not only this, their brains are also wired to be curious about future and make the world a better place for their future generations to come.

So how can this not worry us all and why should we not do anything about it?

The volume and effect of environmental extremes are huge. According to the 6th (most recent) assessment report of the UN Intergovernmental Penal on Climate Change (IPCC), the impact is not uniform across the globe. It is much high on higher latitudes than on lower latitudes of the earth.

The regions in high latitudes, such as mid-North America, have warmed by a larger degree than regions at lower latitudes, such as tropical South America. Likewise, the natural variations are also more prevalent in higher latitudes than lower ones.

There have been decreases in the Arctic sea ice area, and thickness and rapid changes in the Antarctic sea ice extent since the mid-1970s. Also, the warming and weather casualties are happening around the world more rapidly and persistently. Air quality, greenhouse gas emission and prevalent allergies and respiratory diseases are also negative impacts of global warming.

Climate change is everyone’s problem

Are we responsible for this? Yes, we are.

Rapid urbanisation (cutting of trees and development of housing societies), increased use of cars (release of CO2 emissions in air resulting in pollution and reducing fresh O2 content), rapid industrialisation (waste and gas emissions of methane and nitrous oxide, etc., into the eco-system polluting air (deteriorating air quality), polluting water and land, frequent use of harmful and non-biodegradable material (plastic, glass, and batteries, etc.) have increased.

In short, the more human activity there is on earth, the higher its harmful effects. Evidence shows that the rate of increase of global surface temperature observed over the past 50 years has exceeded that which occurred in any previous 50-year period over the past 2,000 years. Isn’t that enough for all of us to think seriously about it?

The recent cloud burst in the E sector of Islamabad showed that climate change is not only coming, it’s coming close to you.

What are the key environmental issues for Pakistan? Wild weather patterns, sea intrusion, unusual rain patterns, glacial melting, rising temperatures and drought. Air pollution is one of the issues, too.

Well, there are many forms of climate issues, and I guess air pollution is probably the worst as we breathe air 24/7. Air pollution is usually measured in terms of Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is generally used to communicate to the public how polluted the air currently is or how polluted it is forecast to become.

The public health risks increase as the AQI value rises. AQI ranges from 0 to 500 with 0 being the best and 500 being the worst. Graphically, it is represented in yellow to red colours – the more red an area in the AQI map, the more dangerous is the situation.

What can we do to help reduce global warming? We can reduce our use of ACs, cars and other devices that emit heat and gases. We can try using recycled products and switch to renewable energy products. We can also plant more trees.

What do I plan to do? My next car will be a fully electric one. This will help reduce carbon emissions. I hope that everybody can play their role. These little drops will build up into an ocean.

I would like to end with a short story. Last weekend, I was at a neighbourhood shop. When the shopkeeper was about to put all my grocery purchases in plastic bags, I asked him not to do so as I could carry those without them. I asked him, “aap ko pata hai yeh shopper mahaul kay liyay kitnay khatarnaak hain?” (Do you know how harmful these bags are for the environment?) He laughed and said I was the first customer who had said this. I want my readers to be the second, the third and the fourth ones to say this to a shopkeeper.

The writer is a development sector professional and can be reached at

Climate change is everyone’s problem