Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Australia’ climate score card must go beyond the border…

I personally got fascinated from the campaigns of number of Australians who evaluated the inclination of their politicians and parties before the election towards climate change policies and mandates for the future of Australia. I was particularly impressed on the thoughts that an Australian had in his or her mind to vote for a leader who is really committed to the sustained and environment friendly development, clean energy and support to those countries who are vulnerable due to the climate impacts. Success of number of the Greens and independent candidates, as I read it in the few blogs here, that could get the support from such campaigners/people is something really different for me to think and ask from myself- Why only the Australian? Why not the people of poor countries and why not the Pakistanis? These thoughts must go beyond the border of Australia.

For me, if it is important for an Australian to expect from his or her leader to be more thoughtful towards climate change mitigation and finding ways for clean energy and less emission of greenhouse gases, then it should also be the case for people in the poor countries as well to demand for action on climate change adaptation from their politicians. For a country like Pakistan, where people and society in rural areas still need voters’ education and awareness and allowing women from tribal areas to vote, it is not yet a trend among communities to vote for a leader who also take into account the consideration for safe environment. In fact the vicious circle of poverty make people’ demand from their politicians limited to the drinking water supply schemes, link roads, source of livelihood, small jobs etc. Due to lack of awareness about climate change among our people and its long term impacts on their lives and livelihoods, the political parties’ manifestos often neglect priorities for safe environment which is vital for sustainable development in the country. This is one of the reasons that Pakistan is going through a worse situation now a days because of climate catastrophe in the shape of massive flooding.

Although being a non-political, however being a climate campaigner, I think we should take steps in promoting awareness among communities and motivate them to vote for the leaders that bring their political manifestos with priorities for climate change adaptation. The priorities should address the needs for sustainable food security, improved health and disaster mitigation against the climate related vulnerabilities, water conservation, green jobs/ecopreneurship at national level and priorities for international advocacy and decisions that empower ruling parties to strongly advocate on international forum for their people’ vulnerabilities and for a safe earth.

After being impacted from the worse climate crisis in the aftermath of abnormal rains and massive flooding in Pakistan, the thinking of our people and specially those 20 million affected should take a new direction now. Our people and specially those becoming vulnerable due to the absence of shelter, food, drinking water and widespread epidemics must have now different thinking about future leadership and democracy. Next election in Pakistan must have an impact from campaigns that give priorities for climate change adaptation and international advocacy. I think we should learn from this good practice from the Australians and those numbers of organizations who advocated for a leadership selection with a true spirit for a safe and clean environment, not only for the people of Australia but also for the rest of the world.

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