Sunday, December 13, 2015

Add Your Special Word of Thanks to Al Gore!

Add your special words of thanks to Al Gore for his years’ long struggle to fight climate crisis and his wonderful contribution in making the Paris Agreement in COP 21 a reality. 
Add your word of thanks HERE. We will send all the collective responses to Al Gore with the start of New Year 2016! 
Al Gore, the Nobel Laureate and a great climate campaigner, dedicated his utmost efforts to motivate grass root communities, businesses and world leadership act on climate change. His tireless efforts made hundreds of thousands citizens from different parts of the world understand the reality of climate crisis and demand their leaders to protect the only Planet Earth from human induced climate change, reject denials and accept the long lasting solutions like clean and renewable energies. 

Al Gore’s profound wisdom and passion to solve climate crisis largely contributed to the historical Paris Agreement where world leadership adopted a new global pact to fight climate change. This is the time we as concerned citizens of this Planet Earth express our sincere gratitude and word of thanks to Al Gore for what he did for us all at present and for our future generation!

Add your words of thanks on this link as a special New Year wish for Al Gore!

PS: Send me your favorite photo on in case you want your picture to appear along with your message for Al Gore when I feature all the messages with start of New Year 2016 :)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Countering Climate Change Terrorism in Paris

Recent terrorists attack in Paris and the brutal killing of more than 120 innocent lives had such an enormous impact that the world media started counting it as the worst atrocity in France after the World War-II. World leadership reacted promptly with much needed solidarity with the victim families by turning on lights after the Eiffel tower put them off in grief.

Unexpectedly, despite the big loss and declared emergency, the president of France announced the county will continue to host the two-week international negotiations on climate change, that started from November 30th  in Paris.

The decision had stunned international community in circumstances when the France borders were sealed given the severity of Paris incident. Someone known to the reality of climate change can imagine how important this decision was by the French president.

In profound solidarity with the people of France, it is safe to say that the threat of Climate Change is worse than incidents like Paris terror attacks. According to James Hansen, Former Director, NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies, “the energy trapped by man-made global warming pollution is now equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year”. This is no doubt, a disastrous energy to bear with.

Countering terrorism of any form has now become indispensable global need. If that’s the case, climate change is nothing less than terrorism. Scientists believe that the 2 Degree Celsius global warming threshold has to be maintained to avoid dangerous catastrophes like the 2010 floods in Pakistan and the heat waves of Karachi and India.

The decision of French president has confirmed the urgency of climate crisis. The dangerous greenhouse gases (GHG) have reached the level of 400 ppm in atmosphere against the scientifically safe limit of 450ppm. Exceeding this limit would mean crossing the 2 Degree C threshold and allowing frequent and disastrous incidents like powerful cyclones, sea level rise, massive flooding and deeper droughts.

Environmentalists have long debated over the urgency of climate crisis. The question is if we as a state were fully ready for Paris negotiations. Pakistan is one of the most affected countries due to climate change as confirmed by the German Watch index. Dr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, the former head of the Pakistan Metrological Department, in a recent conference in Lahore has warned that disturbance to our glaciers system due to global warming can put our water, food and energy security at higher risks. 

Just a few months back, a report was presented to the Senate standing committee on Science and Technology confirming that the 31,000 acres of coastal area in Badin has already disappeared due to sea level rise.

Pakistan needs a serious attitude for Paris negotiations. We already missed the UNFCCC’ deadline of October 1st, 2015 to officially submit our GHG emission reduction targets “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution” (INDC). After two weeks of the deadline, unfortunately our submitted INDC appeared as target-free commitment on the UNFCCC website.

The initial draft of our INDCs had indicated 10% reduction of GHG emission by 2030. The reason explained by the government behind this target-free commitment is the lack of reliable data on our peak emission levels, which reflects our lack of preparation toward climate action. In contrary, a small Island state Fiji in their INDC have set their emission reduction target by 30%, including 20% target conditional with international financial support.

Pakistan’ contribution in global carbon emission is less than a percent with 135th world ranking in terms of its per capita carbon emission. We could still have presented strong INDCs to UNFCCC to mitigate our carbon footprints through international funds and in return doing projects like underground mass transit system.

As the on-going Climate Change talks in Paris (COP 21) are going to conclude today December 12, 2015 with the final draft to release soon, we still have a lot of work to do as individual nation as well as global community to make progress on climate action as top and indispensable priority. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Go with a Letter to Your Local Imam Masjid (Faith Leader) to be Your Climate Advocate

Starting with the first year target of getting 50 volunteers to contact 50 Imam Masjid/Faith Leaders, we are launching a new campaign "My Faith Leader My Climate Advocate". 

This campaign will aim to get Imam Masjid of every Muslim community in Pakistan talk about Climate Change during Friday Sermons. The process is very simple;

Step 1: Show your Interest to be a volunteer. Contact us through Email and let us know your full name, your email address and your local Masjid address you want to engage with

Step 2: We will send you a link to download a Ready-Made Letter which explains why to request your local Imam Masjid to talk about Climate Change during Friday Sermons

Step 3: Post your updates on our page or email us directly to confirm you have engaged your local Imam Masjid on this subject

Step 4: We will feature you on our page for your act of faith leadership

Feel free to share this process and our page link among your friends and social media circle.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Islamic Declaration on Climate Change Calls on 1.6 Billion Muslims to Take Action

The International Islamic Climate Change Symposium is co-hosted by Islamic Relief Worldwide, GreenFaith and the Islamic Forum for Ecology & Environmental Sciences (IFEES). Influential Muslim leaders including religious leaders, activists, academics, policy makers and civil society representatives from around the world are coming together ahead of the UN Climate Change conference in December in Paris to officially launch the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change.

The Symposium is a global platform for Muslim leaders and activists to contribute to the negotiation process and mobilise the global faith community. Its aim is to raise awareness within the Muslim world on the dire impact of climate change and to call on the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world to realise the moral imperative of addressing climate change as part of their religious duty.

The Declaration calls for all nations with the greatest responsibility and capacity to lead the way in tackling climate change, for Islamic leaders around the world to pay more heed to the social and ecological responsibilities they have as they exploit the fast declining resources of the earth by reducing their carbon footprint and phasing out the use of fossil fuels by shifting to 100% renewable sources of energy. 

There is a growing movement among the faith communities that supports the view that the climate crisis is also a moral crisis. The adverse impacts of climate change that we have witnessed so far are a clear case for people of faith to examine the underlying moral causes of this phenomenon. It further prompts the faith community to take action to halt the desecration of nature that leads to destruction of creation and human lives. It also presents an opportunity for these communities to bear witness to alternatives to the fossil-fuel addicted economic system to one that meets development goals and is also spiritually fulfilling.

The Symposium will also showcase examples of best practice in the operation of field based grassroots projects incorporating environmental sustainability, adaptation to climate change impacts, and people-centred solutions, as well as how civil society organisations are mobilising Muslim communities to address climate change from around the Muslim world. It will furthermore seek specific recommendations for action to be developed to realise this ambitious change in the Muslim world in the lead-up to, and after COP 21.

It is hoped that the Declaration will result in strong commitment from all the participants in order for there to be a strong outcome in Paris. Faith leaders from other faith traditions will be joining the Symposium as a sign of solidarity and to welcome the declaration following the Pope’s Encyclical released in June.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Meeting People of Different Faiths in Rome- A Personal Reflection!

Businesses of life often orchestrate people’ thinking in complex way that they find it hard to come on certain common point. Difference of opinion is profoundly influenced by cultures and norms. However when it comes to personal gains, people thrive their own school of thoughts, often neglects facts or try to manipulate situations towards personal favors.

The real story of climate crisis is not much different than such personal and cultural conflicts. The extent to which common citizens get completely confused on which path to follow, some wise leaders step in and recall them the power of faith. This is what Pope Francis realized in the best interest of humanity and presented to the world his historical Encyclical on climate change.

Being a follower of my own religion Islam, I see the importance of Pope’ Encyclical as one of the most powerful tools which attracts diverse group of people work for the only Planet Earth as one universal family! I could personally witness this extraordinary value last month when I was invited in Rome by GreenFaith- a US based organization whose mission is  inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership. I found myself among those passionate environmental activists who were Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Baha’i, Buddhists all filled with the spirit of environmental protection in their hearts and souls.

This three-day Multi-Faith Climate Convergence in the city of Rome was one of the best interfaith gatherings, enriched with the evidence of social actions every person had or have been doing in their own communities. As a Muslim, when I kept on believing protecting environment is our moral obligation, I was totally impressed how different individuals and their organizations have contributed their part for protection of Mother Earth by getting inspired of their own individual faiths.

The time I lived and learnt from those passionate participants coming from different parts of the world, I was thrilled to know how Christianity motivated people stand up for the Mother Earth. When I looked at what the Hindu fellows have done in mobilizing their own communities, making their villages clean was my own realization that each faith finds common values for humanity- here it is making Earth green. And when I interacted with those fellows who follow the religion of Baha’i, I learnt how powerful their own stories are when they call for climate action! In short, this is what I can truly call interfaith harmony which brings people closer to each other.

This Climate convergence gave a spiritual meaning for people of different faiths. And it happened in such a critical time when we are almost at the verge of climate crisis. We are left with just a few weeks when the world leadership is gearing up to convene in Paris and decide the fate of Mother Earth due to human induced climate change. GreenFaith was able to bring people of different faiths on a common ground, not only to say special thanks to Pope Francis for his Encyclical through a peaceful Climate March in the Vatican City but also provided a meaningful opportunity to us all reflect on our past, our own religious teachings and our environmental practices.
Everyone in the gathering linked his climate action with his/her own spiritual values. In Islam our Prophet Muhammad guides us find blessings of Allah by not only getting kind to our brothers and sisters but to our Planet Earth as well. At the same time, I learned how other faiths give satisfaction to their own followers by doing every small or big action for environmental protection.

The time has come we make sure reflect on science and faith together. Science gives us facts and figures about climate crisis and faith encourages us to take action and protect humanity. Faith is also powerful as it invites individuals learn and explore the secrets of universe. This is the sense we all need to transform into those who are supposed to be decision makers on our behalf at the Paris conference. We have to take this message on because we have to protect our present and our future generations from climate crisis. We have simply got a big responsibility which is truly rewarding! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

A letter to Pakistan Ulama Council on Climate Change

Honorable Chairman
Pakistan Ulama Council,
 Maulana Tahir Ashrafi
Bayt-ul-Aman, Begumpura Mor,
G.T Road, Lahore, Pakistan
Phone: +92-321-5777776

Subject: A Request to Call Muslim Communities act on Climate Change and Environmental Protection  

Dear Maulana Tahir Ashrafi,

Ramzan Mubarik!
I am Asif Iqbal, a voluntary Climate Change campaigner in Pakistan. It’s my pleasure to write you this special letter as we start the month of blessings i.e. Ramzan Karim! What I am hopeful is my anticipation that you can make a green history with your humble consideration to my request to call for our Muslim communities living in Pakistan in particular and outside Pakistan in general to stand for protection of our Environment and fight Climate Change!

Honorable Maulana Ashrafi, being a Chairman of the Pakistan Ulama Council, I think you hold an important place to help Muslim community understand religious responsibilities to protect our environment, value of scientific knowledge related to climate change and urge them take much needed actions. And why it is important for us all, our Quran and our Holy Prophet has already made it clear;

It is He who has appointed you guardians in the earth, and has raised some of you in rank above others, the He may try you in what He has given you. Surely your Lord is swift in reckoning; and surely He is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.
Qur’an 6:165)

“The earth is green and beautiful and Allah has appointed you his stewards over it”
~ Prophet Muhammad S.A.W

Being the followers of Almighty Allah, we all have strong belief, without a single matter of doubt, that Allah has bestowed human being with the gift of thinking power we call human intelligence. That’s the reasons that human being has made advancement in the field of science to know the secrets of the universe. With this belief in our mind and heart, we also hear from climate scientists (almost 97%) that how humans of the present world, particularly from the rich and industrial countries are doing harm to our Planet Earth and its natural eco-system.

Let me explain this in a simple way; one of the blessings that Allah grant us is the heat of Sun, which keeps our Earth warm and a livable planet. Our Earth absorbs most of this heat and part of it is reflected back to atmosphere which is a layer consist of greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide, Nitrous Oxide etc. These greenhouses gases are capable of trapping the heat which comes back from the Earth. This natural process keeps our Earth warm which is necessary to maintain life on the Earth. This is a balanced natural system Allah has created for us. With the absence of these layers of greenhouses gases, there would be no heat and the Planet Earth would become a ball of ice and an unlivable place for human being.

However, Maulana sahab, the real problem is caused historically by the rich industrial countries like the US, Europe and in present time by growing economies like India and China. Many other developing economies are also following the same path. These countries are responsible for massive environmental pollution by burning fossil fuel (coal and oil) with excessive use of transportation and industries. Burning of fossil fuel produces large amount of greenhouse gases which further concentrates into the atmosphere. This excessive amount of greenhouse gases is damaging the natural system of our Earth atmosphere. The more greenhouses are concentrated into atmosphere, the more heat is trapped and the more Earth gets warmer. It is same like a person feels more heat if numbers of blankets are put on his body.

So what’s wrong if these rich industrial countries, along with developing economies continue polluting our environment? Let me explain it… According to climate scientists, increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has disturbed the eco-system of our Planet. In last one century, the world’ average temperature was 0.6%. In Pakistan this figures accounts for 0.8%. Climate scientists have unanimously declared that 350 particles per million (ppm) is the safe amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, whereas the historical and current pace of environmental pollution has already made this concentration to 400ppm. Climate Scientists warns that if we do not keep the concentration below 350ppm, the Earth annual temperature will exceed 2 degree Celsius, which will cause irreversible climate change i.e. frequency and intensity of natural disasters like floods, cyclones, sea/rain storms, heat waves and drought will increase. We will face more abnormal weather changes, which will directly impact our food and water system. Global warming will further contribute into rapid melting of glaciers and increase in sea level, thus inundating coastal areas with sea intrusion. In conclusion, global environmental pollution is directly risking lives of billions of innocent lives with their increased exposure to climate related natural disasters.

So what does Pakistan Ulama Council can do in helping poor communities protected from these disasters? As I read the philosophy of the Council, one of its principles follow the Madina’ model i.e. “availability of food, clothing, healthcare and education for the people” which makes me feel confident in appealing you step in and play your role to protect humanity as we are supposed to do with the ideology of our religion Islam. Our religion clearly instruct us not to destroy crops and trees even at the time war, which means there is a logic behind protection of our natural resources, which is necessary for human subsistence. If we talk about the context of Pakistan, we have already witnessed the impacts of climate change in 2010 when the northern parts of our country received rains in three days, which otherwise occurs in normal period of six months. In terms of sea level rise, many of our coastal villages have gone under water. In 1999-2000, we suffered from severe drought in parts of Sindh and Baluchistan, which had sharply declined under-ground water table. In coming years, we will suffer from extreme food and water crisis. Numbers of our villages in Sindh and Punjab provinces have malnutrition rate, which is worse than many in the African countries. We need to tell our Muslim communities how profit making economies are playing with the natural system, making the planet a dangerous place to live in.

Dear Maulana Tahir Ashrafi sahab, our religion Islam teaches us to learn and help our brothers and sisters at the time of difficulties. Human induced Climate Change is a valid reason for us all to come forward and take action in the true spirit of Islam- protecting humanity. Our government has already developed a comprehensive National Climate Change Policy to ensure, food, energy and water security through sustainable economic growth. More encouragingly, the present government has also reinstated the Federal Climate Change Ministry after realizing the real challenge of Climate Change to our country. However we all need to work hard and push the government take timely, real and aggressive measures. We have the role to avert this challenge and being the Chairman of Pakistan Ulama Council, you are even in more influential position to take this responsibility on your kind shoulders. As I said earlier, you can make history in the Muslim world if you really become champion of actions on climate change.

Maulana sahab, with the blessing of Al-mighty Allah, you are a known scholar, whereas I am just an ordinary citizen. Therefore pardon me if I dare to suggest you some of the actions you can take in the best spirit of humanity;

  • Call on the entire Muslim community to get serious on the issue of climate change by protecting the natural resources Allah has bestowed us for our subsistence. It includes sustainable use of fresh water as wasting water is a sin, less air pollution as by doing this we conflict with the balance of nature and avoid wastage of food as per the teaching of Islam

  • Ask the Government of Pakistan to take all necessary actions while it participates in the UN led Climate Change Conference in Paris this December 2015 in which the world political leaders are expected to sign a new binding agreement on Climate Change in order to limit global environmental pollution and protect humanity from irreversible climate change. Our Government needs to take bold stand along with other poor and developing nations to put real pressure of all those rich and industrial countries who are major contributors of greenhouse gases emission and responsible of damaging our environment

  • Ask the government officials, particularly the Federal Climate Change Ministry, who are involved in planning and development of different environmental projects, to promote sustainable economic growth by encouraging clean and renewable energy i.e. wind and solar power projects, instead of long term investment in fossil fuel industries

  • Request faith leaders to include climate change and environmental protection part of their religious education to common citizen and urge them guide communities of faith protect natural resources at household, community and national level with the true spirit of Islamic teaching

  • Ask policy makers and parliamentarians to formulate laws and ensure implementation of already existing laws in the best interest of our environment and life of common citizens and children

      At the end, I would like to say my heartiest thanks for your due consideration and sympathy to this noble cause as I believe you will explore further the teaching of Islam in perspective of environmental protection and will draw upon a comprehensive approach on behalf of Pakistan Ulama Council to serve people in need.

      With my deepest gratitude and respect to you

      Asif Iqbal

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Karachi heatwave and appeal to Climate Change Ministry

Dear friends, 

As you know the current heatwave has taken more than 800 lives in Karachi. It is not only the impact of climate change but also lack of regular electricity supply to citizens during extremely hot weather. That's why we are requesting every responsible citizen of Pakistan or elsewhere to add their message as appeal to Climate Change Ministry of Pakistan to take practical steps and promote renewable energy technology i.e. solar and wind projects in Pakistan so that people not only enjoy round the clock electricity supply but also are able to fight climate change. 

Please go to this link and add your message: 
Feel free to share this link along with above stated message so that we can reach maximum citizens to raise our appeal. 

Many thanks