A few ways to combat climate change in Pakistan

It is time to shun passivity and take an active part in climate advocacy.
Updated 26 Nov, 2019 09:50am
Students at the climate march in Karachi. — Photo by Kamran Nafees
Students at the climate march in Karachi. — Photo by Kamran Nafees

Dealing with climate change news can be exhausting, especially when each subsequent news story seems to be worse than the last.

We may choose to block out the apocalyptic news but let’s not forget that scientists have given us a tight deadline of around 11 years to quite literally save the planet, and ourselves.

Pakistan has been continuously ranked among the most affected countries by climate change. Our people in different parts of the country are already getting adversely affected by climate impacts, which include flash floods due to glacial melt, increased heatwaves, water scarcity, rising sea levels, food shortages and displacement. The worst part is that these impacts are only going to get worse.

In such a scenario, we may want to help but may not know where to start. Here, I suggest some tips for the government as well as for individuals, based on my travels across Pakistan in search of climate stories.

What the government should do

These efforts are urgently required, but it is also important to recognise that the onus for change is not completely on the government. We, as aware citizens, need to demand action on these issues and work closely with governmental and non-governmental institutions to ensure that these measures get implemented. It is time to shun passivity and take an active part in climate advocacy.

What can you do?

We, each in our own capacity and community, have the power to take climate action. Here are some starting ideas:

The list of recommendations shared here is in no way complete; it only serves as a reminder that climate action can be initiated at different scales. Taking action can also help with eco-anxiety (a new type of psychological condition where you feel extremely worried about the worsening state of our planet and climate).

Feeling anxious about the environmental crisis may not be a bad thing in small doses, if it motivates you to avoid the catastrophic future. Remember that a series of small steps implemented by many leads to a large impact and change. At this point, we need everyone doing their part to deal with a problem as complex and imminent as climate change.


Are you working on climate change? Share stories with us at prism@dawn.com

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Amber Ajani was the Project Lead for Climate Stories Pakistan and holds a Master's in environmental science from the American University. She is a UN Fellow, National Geographic Explorer and a Fulbright alumna.


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (8) Closed

M. Saeed
Oct 18, 2019 04:58pm
We must make use of the glacial melts as a blessing in disguise. Flash floods caused by the global warming through triggering of glaciers' melting can be stored in a big dam somewhere in Southern Punjab and its water can be used to plant forests in Cholistan, Thal and Rann of Kutch, after making the marshland leached and washed by the fresh water. The whole area can be reclaimed by building poulders along the sea, like in Holland and stopping the sea encroachment. Windmills can be installed to pump leached water out into sea.
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Gordon D. Walker
Oct 18, 2019 06:35pm
Climate change is a natural phenomenon... Accept it. Adapt. Move forward... Gordon D. Walker Canada
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Farrukh
Oct 18, 2019 06:47pm
One suggestion is that in cities it should be made mandatory for every owner of a house to plant one or two trees in front or backyard. In future house completion certificates be issued after verifying plantation of tree (s). Awareness programmes on electronic and print media may be shown to encourage people especially children to grow plants at home.
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Gordon D. Walker
Oct 18, 2019 08:27pm
Stop scaring people about climate change... Gordon D. Walker Canada
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Zack Abdi
Oct 18, 2019 09:18pm
Cĺimate change impacts is happening contrary to some climate change deniers. Religious and education intervention can help. Ozone layers issue is relatively solved due banning CFC gas. HFC gas emission from aerosol cans is another reason for GHGs as food waste emitting Methane gas. Bringing awareness to general public and also to climate change deniers will help.
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M. Saeed
Oct 19, 2019 12:49am
@Gordon D. Walker, you also?
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Adil Malik
Oct 19, 2019 09:37am
Why Pakistan ends up following the trends that the West is stuck with. What climate change Pakistan is concerned with? If so, aren't there far more important and urgently needed solutions to Pakistan' dire needs of reliable electricity supply, clean water supplies, better roads and hiways, and rest of the basic infrastructure needs instead of jumping on a fake western bandwagon where Pakistan could hardly put a minor dent in this fashionable western ploy! Pakistan's elites always try to emulate the new trends of the West ! Why? What does Pakistan gets out of it besides talking point among the pompously bloated talking heads? Wanna keep up with the West? Try keeping your front and the backyard clean. It's a good start!
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Irfan roy
Oct 19, 2019 02:41pm
One of the thing all can do is not to litter our streets. We throw throwing cigarette butts without thinking. We burn garbage to get rid of it. Once upon a time in pakistan the government encouraged people to build reactirs for biofuels. This policy should be encoraged again. We should build power plants that use garbage as fuel. This will make our cities clean and save foreign exchange which we use to import fuel
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