By the LOTP team
For many years now, we have heard the term ‘global warming’ all over our TV screens, news feeds, and social media pages. While we often fail to consider the impacts of our actions, an overhauling sense of responsibility continues to rise with the sun every morning. Despite the attention that media has shed on global warming, what often goes unreported is the concept of ‘climate equity’. Pakistan is one of those countries in the global south which contributes less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Regardless of that, Pakistan is still the fifth most negatively affected country from climate change - during the twenty years period of 1999-2018 according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2020.
Being a signatory of the Paris Climate Accord, Pakistan has often taken part in climate advocacy campaigns at national and international platforms. Under the premiership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan managed to launch a massive national campaign for the plantation of ten billion trees all across the country. The GoP has also initiated the Green Stimulus Project as a part of a Billion Tree Tsunami, which is widely responsible for employing individuals for establishing nurseries and natural forests particularly in urban areas that are direct victims of climate hazards. This package is not only encouraging afforestation but is also opening up avenues for the economically depressed labor force of the country. As a result of these environment-friendly endeavors, World Economic Forum (WEF) has lately added Pakistan into Champions for nature community.
Government-approved Green Growth Policy also stresses the use of electric automobiles for the mitigation of greenhouse gases at a larger level. It is resolved to convert 30% of all automobiles to environment friendly vehicles by 2030. Given that Pakistan is a developing country, it is practically impossible at this stage to make its energy sector environment friendly overnight. Nevertheless, considering the commitment and determination that Pakistan has displayed in the span of last few years, one can certainly hope for a sustainable future. As per the recent Sustainable Development Report of 2020 (which monitors the United Nations-led sustainable development goals) Pakistan has successfully accomplished its climate action goals ten years ahead of the due time.
Besides all this, here are a few non-government organizations that are actively taking part in climate advocacy inside Pakistan:
The Paani Project
Paani is a non-profit organization run by college student volunteers in Ann Arbor to create sustainable solutions to supply clean water and to solve the sanitation issues in Pakistan. They have successfully helped supply clean water in Sindh and KPK, by the installation of tube wells and Deepwater wells. Moreover, they have been working to educate and empower local communities to overcome the water crisis through Health and hygiene awareness sessions.
Another non-profit organization like Paani is Tayaba, which helps water-deprived communities like tharparkar in getting access to water by providing them with H2O wheels to carry water sufficiently from the nearby wells or rivers. Through their page, they also spread awareness and educate people on the water crisis in Pakistan. The H2O wheel project is truly phenomenal as it assisting women at rural areas in getting and carrying water back to their respective homes without any problems.
ENVO.pk is one of the initiatives against climate change and plastic pollution by producing biodegradable wheat-based straws. ENVO believes in the difference that we can make in our individual capacity. They believe that true belief inactions can make a huge difference. Alongside their particular focus on replacing plastic straws, they also create awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution. At ENVO they focus on getting one step closer to a better and plastic-free world. They make straws that are totally natural, reusable, and most importantly biodegradable. ENVO is a step in the right direction for Pakistan’s Environment.
Pakistan’s well known clothing brand Sapphire is also contributing to green environment efforts in the country. Sapphire Pakistan is an important example of how platforms like this can be used to bring about significant change in the environment. In 2018, the brand made a number of initiatives based on their conscious decisions aiming at playing their part towards a better environment. Sapphire introduced Seed Embedded Bags, an initiative to encourage their customers towards tree and seed plantation and create awareness about the importance of trees for a better environment. They replaced paper bags with fabric bags made from cotton waste and fabric leftover. For their unstitched collection, they replaced zipper bags with canvas bags. They also introduced environment friendly sustainable fabrics made of coffee and bamboo fiber. These initiatives are exemplary and make Pakistan a better place.
Pollution Patrol by Nashwa and Aeliya is another initiative in striving for Green Pakistan. Pollution Patrol aims at raising awareness, educate people, and getting the message of three R’s (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) out to people. During COVID-19 crisis, the Pollution Patrol encouraged people to use certified and reusable cloth face masks instead of unsustainable surgical masks. They are also creating awareness about the dangers of plastic to marine life in Pakistan and have started a petition on change.org to the Sindh government for a legal ban on single use plastic. Their Instagram handle has all the updated information and awareness on the issue of environmental pollution. By their message on social media, they intend to hit people’s consciousness with the idea of sustainability and a better environment.
Where we take our world is up to us, and it is extremely important that we take the time to educate ourselves on these issues. While they may not seem to impact us today, the effects they could have on not just Pakistan, but the entire world, are grave, and taking action today is the only way we can protect our futures. The above resources are great places to start! Let's do what we can to build a better Pakistan.
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