Environment & Climate Change

Pakistan is the 6th largest nation in the world, in terms of size of the population. The country has abundant natural resources and a wide variety of ecological regions; from Hindu Kush and Himalayas in the west, Indus plains in the east to coastal zones in the south – which all come with a bulk of natural capital including flourishing livestock and fishing industry, forest products and most importantly, agriculture.

These natural resources are facing numerous challenges now, the most critical one being aridity since the country predominantly relies on its agrarian economy. One of the most pressing issues is the increasing population, from 32.5 million in 1947 to 180 million in 2012, which means more strain on resources including housing, food and employment. At the same time, the increased human power is not being fully utilised for sustainable production.

Pakistan, at this stage, cannot simply “grow out” of its environmental problems and a lot of work is needed to reverse the negative externalities that are eroding the natural resources. Changing climate is expected to hurt the poor most, who are already struggling to break free from poverty.

There is a scientific consensus through extensive research done by scientists that the Climate is changing. Many would agree that Climate Change could be the greatest threat to human beings, because it is affecting the ecosystem, and challenging the survival of several species on Earth, including human beings. With the advent of Industrial Revolution in 1950, Carbon emission increased by a great percentage, and it soon became out of control when the correlation was discovered between the Carbon levels and increased temperature. Consumerism adds up to the problem, because more material is being produced to meet the demands, or the demand is created.

Agriculture is the largest sector in the Pakistan economy and accounts for 24% of gross domestic product (GDP). Our country could be an emerging industrial nations, but our manufacturing and carbon emission is still very less compared to the other countries in the world. Unfortunately, Pakistan ranks amongst top 5 countries that are getting drastically affected by the changing climate. One of the reason being that the population of the country is ever increasing, and to meet the needs of the people, more land is utilised to provide accommodation for people. Another reason is that, as a nation, we have far threatening issues like terrorism and political instability, and due to lack of awareness, no strategies are designed to reduce the effect of the changing climate. In the past few years, Pakistan has experienced extreme weather conditions, namely droughts, floods, shifting monsoon rains etc. The glaciers in northern areas of Pakistan are melting at a drastic speed, and since we have not planned properly, and there are not enough dams to store water, it leads to flooding. The unseasonal rains have an adverse affect on our agriculture as well.

Working on the theme of Climate change, our strategy includes:
  • Build narrative and create awareness regarding the issue of Climate Change, and for the youth to understand its impact globally and locally.
  • Provide reading material on Climate change and to encourage the youth to develop an understanding on Climate Change by doing their research.
  • Create awareness regarding the renewable sources of energy, and effective changes in behaviour that can contribute to climate change.

Due to these efforts, we have achieved:
  1. Conducted 2 trainings of Climate Change, and trained a batch of 50 facilitators. During these trainings, the facilitators were provided an understanding of Climate change and skills to mobilise communities and advocate effectively.
  2. Conducted rollout trainings in 14 schools across 11 districts in Pakistan. Each rollout session had minimum 100 students present.
  3. Continuing rollout sessions in 18 schools across the same districts, with 100 students per session.