Saturday, July 25, 2009

My first presentation in Pakistan on "Climate Change" after the Asia-Pacific summit in Melbourne

“We working together will strengthen our voice to the extent where we are able to strongly pressurize our government to take affirmative action on climate crises and ensure protection to citizen’s lives and livelihoods”. These words from my first group of connectors will always give me energy to continue my campaign in Pakistan on climate change issue.

I was so excited when I finally started my campaign in Pakistan on global climate crises by having my first presentation on July 24, 2009 on climate change after my participation in Asia-Pacific summit in Melbourne. I started my presentation with one of my audiences as per my commitment during the AP summit i.e. my own colleagues working with me in World Vision Pakistan (Siran Valley). While working on the presentation, I recalled the message of Al Gore who said during the AP summit we can do it together and we have to do it now”. And after the wonderful inspiration from Melbourne summit, I took it as a personal and moral obligation to start my campaign on the issue of climate change and advocate with number of stakeholders for the need of action to be taken on this crises which has put the lives and livelihoods of present and future generation and our only planet at greater risk.

My first group of audience was colleagues from different sections of our field office based in Siran valley of District Mansehra, Northern Pakistan. They were males and females from programme staff, Monitoring & Evaluation, field staff/community mobilizers, engineer, staff from Information Technology (IT) and finance section as well as other support staff i.e. a driver and an office boy. While sitting together and sharing knowledge and issues, we simply forgot who is a project coordinator and who is an office boy but we all had one thing in mind that we all are having equal responsibility to take this issue as serious as it is and we by working together strengthen our power to take ranges of actions starting from self and family up to our own linkages with different government authorities.

During the presentation, we discussed about the climate change theme, its causes and effects in Pakistan and all around the world, while using the Al Gore presentation material on global climate crises. The presentation covered the science of climate change, global warming and concentration of greenhouse gases in atmosphere. Using the slideshow and multi media facility, a thorough discussion was made on causes of environmental pollution by industrialization, use of fossil fuel, agriculture/land use, deforestation/use of forest word in construction, as fuel and illegal wood cutting, increasing transportation, urbanization, and number of other human activities. Presentation also covered contribution of different countries in emission of greenhouse gases and consequences of these emission in terms of increasing temperature/global warming, increasing number of natural disasters, increasing sea level, human and livelihoods loses and increasing poverty, vanishing bio-diversity, changing weather pattern like changing in monsoon season, decreasing water level and dry seasons in Pakistan and other countries.

Global Climate Change effects were also presented to sensitize participants and this global issue that need a strong action by developed countries to support poor one to strengthen their resilience as well as working together with poor countries to control emission and keeping the average global temperature below 2 degree Celsius to prevent the planet from devastations. Finally emphasize was made on importance of Copenhagen conference in December 2009 where the world nations would meet to take serious measures on global climate crises. However, it was also emphasized that it is important that every developed and poor country play its due road before the Copenhagen for just decision and we as a nation should take it a personal obligation to create awareness on climate change issue and advocate for strong government actions without further delay.

My first presentation to office colleague was quite encouraging for me as the staff members after the presentation showed their personal commitment to play a due role in creating awareness by sharing knowledge and information among families, friends and other stakeholders and emphasizing on the importance of this issue. They also emphasized that government authorities should also be approached in this campaign. Following staff members participated in the presentation along with their personal commitments regarding climate change issue;

· Aziz Ahmad, Project Accountant- will share the knowledge and scientific information about climate change with his community members living in Northern Areas where precious glaciers are rapidly melting

· Sardar Ahmad, Office boy- will share with his villagers and friends about the consequences of deforestation and its effects in terms of landslides, flashflood and environmental degradation

· Azhar Ali, driver- will share with his all driver friends about the environmental pollution, particularly through increasing number of vehicles and use of fuel

· Waqar Ahmad, Community Project Officer- will arrange a walk in his village in Swat valley regarding climate change and global warming

· Ms. Ruby Jehanzeb, Monitoring & Evaluation Assistant- will mobilize her friends in careful use of electricity and less use of plastic bags and papers for health environment

· Sabirullah, Engineer- will disseminate information with his friends about what he learnt from presentation on climate change

· Zameer Ahmad, Community Grants Coordinator- will encourage his target communities in use of alternate energy production like small hydro power projects in villages near to Siran river for meeting energy needs in rural areas in environment friendly manner

· Abdul Mateen, IT Officer- will start his plantation campaign and will plant first tree at home

· Ms. Erum Waheed, Community Project Officer- will start plantation campaign and mobilize her family, friends and relatives in appropriate use of electricity and water and less use of plastic bags to promote environmental protection

· Ms. Somia Perveen, Community Project Officer- will adopt a simple life, go for plantation and avoid use of different spray and aerosols.

· Ms. Sadia Shaheen, Community Project Officer- will approach her friends and relatives and share the cause of climate change and its impacts over poor communities and countries

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My inspiration from Melbourne- Asia-Pacific Summit on Climate Change

I strongly believe in community voice that pursue for a common goal and to achieve some thing that could really make a change- a positive change in the lives of human being or at least advocating for what they deserve and need. With a common voice, which even comes from different culture, a change is possible. That’s what I learnt from the Asia-Pacific summit on Climate Change in Melbourne during July 11-13, 2009. I was amongst the 261 people from nineteen different cross culture who sat together and come up with a common voice to advocate for the issue of global climate crises- an utmost need and a “not to ignore” issue of the present and future generation of this planet.

I was proudly representing Pakistan in the summit and I had a lot of inspirations from Melbourne that generously hosted the event and set a great example of collectivism and finding a path of change through the participants from nineteen countries of Asia-pacific region. Mostly heart touching, the honorable Al Gore- former vice president of United State of America was there in the summit with his high level of motivation for making a common voice among the all participants and mobilizing them to advocate in their own capacities on the issue of climate crises.

My inspiration began when I started my journey from the hot summer season of Pakistan and in a day time I entered into the freezing cold weather of Melbourne. These thought continued till my way back to Pakistan as I was again in the hot summer. Interestingly this first observation of different weather pattern at a same time in two different regions clicked my mind to think more about the time when life is impacted by a sudden disaster that hit some area and people are not able to cope with the situation. My inspiration continued further as I meet with new people and new friends all welcoming each other, particularly The Climate Project (TCP) team, proudly hosting the summit and bringing together all the people on same plate form.

The word Climate Change was although not a new word for me but with different experience sharing by friends and experts and the discussions on findings of modern science regarding concentration of Greenhouse Gases like CO2, Methane, Nitrous Oxide etc by human activities, particularly after the industrialization, I was inspired to take a firm decision in my heart by that time to advocate for “Act Now” slogan of AL Gore with his positive view of “Glass Half Filled”.

As I was going through the magic of continuously showing commitment by the summit’ organizers and participants, my inspiration to work on climate change issue went high as by having different slide shows and presentation, I was recalling the vulnerabilities of my own country “Pakistan” as well as Mansehra district where I live and work. I was continuously thinking about the realities of climate change effects on my own communities and my beautiful country such as melting glaciers in the north, increasing dry seasons in lower parts of the country, flashfloods in hilly areas, changing monsoon weather, decreasing water level every where, changing pattern of rains and heavy floods in plain and lower areas. How can I forget the unexpected 1992 flood and the 2005 massive earthquake that ended thousands of precious lives and valuable assets and means of livings, of course not? The journey of my inspiration continued by all the new discussions and new scientific information to reach my communities who are not aware of all these causes of climate change but ignorantly denying the causes created by human beings by their own.

Talking about the environmental pollutions and contributions of different countries in this pollution through emission of Greenhouse Gases and ultimately giving a devastating effects of climate change, particularly on poor countries, I was of the view that a road to Copenhagen must be a well defined and well analyzed road by all the world nations. An utmost action is required to reach a common agreement where countries polluting the environment and emitting Greenhouse Gases put a control on it while the poor and most vulnerable countries are supported in terms of their increased resilience to climate change and improved livelihoods for better living standards.

With an inspiring message of Al Gore, I like other countries’ participants made a commitment to become a part of global awareness raising on climate crises and advocating for the ACT NOW measures to prevent our planet from the increasing effects of devastation. I reaffirm my commitment to reach my communities, media, friends and colleagues and government representatives to share the alarming situation. And with my high level of inspiration from Melbourne, I am also sure that Pakistan with its available limited resources and capacities would play significant role in this most important challenge for present generation.