- Why there had to a climate strike
By Syed Shahid Kazmi
Climate strike is a global movement, with the purpose to strive in the eyes of policy makers and government to be decisive about this critical issue. As far as Pakistan is concerned, the escalating temperatures, floods, and irregular rain patterns are all vital signs that we are victims of climate change. Just imagine the heavy loss we bear almost every year not only financially but also in the form of human resources. Along with the poverty bomb, what we are giving to this nation is climate catastrophe.
If we act as a critical observer, the budget allocation for the Ministry of Climate Change in 2019 was approximately Rs 7579 million. While visual aspects show that this money is merely being used for plantation with an eye ignoring other issues.
To tackle the issue of climate change, only plantation is not the solution. We need to be strict about carbon emissions, and firstly we are supposed to set standards based on our own country’s scenario and then educate the common man about the importance of fewer carbon emissions. Policymakers need to pay attention to the importance of renewable energy, while the public has potential to understand and imply this solution to environment and energy economy.
On the side of the government, the subsidy and training must be provided to our local assemblers for production of renewable resources, as this would make this energy much cheaper and affordable. It is needed that the government is needed to understand that we need to solve our climate issues by ourselves, and not because of the pressure of international systems. The mechanism of budget allocation should be clear as far as waste management, biodiversity, industrial ecology, and sustainable transport is concerned, and all these factors should be coupled with tree plantation to get rid of such environmental problems.
This is an emergency, right before the climate change hits us badly. We still have time to repair the environmental loss. For this purpose, the in-depth policy review and budget allocation is recommended. We do not want to be victims of climate change because of poor policy infrastructure
We must take decisions based on environmental priority and we are supposed to clean our beaches without any fear of international law. Pakistan is our homeland, we are in need to grow out of this theoretical concept to its practical implementation.
A very slight focus is needed to comprehend the situation. And this climate strike is drawing the attention of government policy and decision makers as an alarm to wake up and do the needed reforms, before it gets too late.
As far as fossil fuel consumption is concerned, after some time it would be consider as a crime to burn fossil fuel, and if same situation escalates, it will threaten right away the whole human species. Why are we waiting for such time? Why has the government failed in bringing up sustainable policies? I read somewhere, developed countries are not those in which every individual owns a car, but developed countries are those in which every financial stratum, whether rich or poor; travels on public transport. We have developed a suffocated environment that people are even unable to use bicycles, because of improper road design, associated social stigma and of course with no awareness about carbon footprinting. There are thousands of environmental scientists and climate activists in the form of youth in Pakistan with negligible job opportunities, though there is a lot of margin to work on environment of Pakistan. Our researches in educational institutions have no power to be practically implemented because there is no integration between practical fields and educational research.
What I am unable to understand is where Pakistan is going in terms of progression? If it is economically growing, then where is the revenue and why can’t we spend that revenue on environmental reforms? Another question is, why is it fine to make progress in the economic perspective while neglecting environment and society? In short, where is sustainability? Where is the practical implementation of the international treaties Pakistan has signed? Why are we supposed to wait for an international grant to work on environment?
May be climate change and environmental degradation is the least concern for now. But think of the future, think of the youth, the young children inhaling particulate matters and facing smog; their asthmatic lungs and their poor cognitive abilities. Then the question will come, where is the progress of our beloved country? Will we become economic tycoons by neglecting the catastrophe of climate change? Where our agrarian economy will lie when there would be long paused rain leading to droughts, or heavy rain that devastates the ripe crops?
This is an emergency, right before the climate change hits us badly. We still have time to repair the environmental loss. For this purpose, the in-depth policy review and budget allocation is recommended. We do not want to be victims of climate change because of poor policy infrastructure. Pakistan, my beloved country, will remain on earth till the end of the world, but let’s hope it would not be as impoverished as it seems. I wish my country to be sustainable at every level. Climate strike is an alarm now the decision is in government’s hand.
The writer is a leading climate change expert and Country Director of Pakistan Humanitarian Forum.