In a country facing terrorism and severe energy shortage, economy crisis, the environment is a subject little discussed. While the warning signs of climate change cannot be neglected. Due to recent floods millions of people were forced to flee their homes and had almost twelve hundred people killed last year due to the catastrophic heat wave.

Pakistan and its population is growing at a rapid pace in the big cities, underground water is going to low level and in north, glaciers are rapidly melting. Climate change has become a time bomb in Pakistan.

The three magnificent mountain ranges of the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush and Karakoram, located in the north of Pakistan, together they makes the largest mountain chain over the earth and are custodian of the third largest ice reserves in world, after the Polar Regions. The mountain glaciers feed into the Indus River and its tributaries to irrigate the rest of the country, winding through central Punjab and stretching south to finally merge with the Arabian Sea.

According to UN estimates, in 2050, Pakistan’s population would exceed three hundred million and Climate threats to this increasing population of country can be seen from melting of Paso on Chinese gateway glaciers. The measurement team says, twenty years earlier snow was covering wide part of the Paso and now these parts are absolutely free of ice now. According to officials, Temperatures in northern Pakistan have increased by 1.9 degrees Celsius in the past century. Which results in melting snow, dam filling with water, new lakes are being formed and the risk of flooding in the summer is growing each year.

Despite increasing population, Pakistan is self-sufficient in agricultural matters. But recent deadly floods have repeatedly destroyed crops on millions of acres and farmers fear for more such events in future.

The disasters caused by monsoon rains are a bellwether for the destruction that melting glaciers could cause, with any variation in water levels threatening farmers’ crops. Meanwhile, there is lack of such dams in Pakistan that can store long -term surface water.

Every day, we see indisputable climate events on rise in Pakistan, evidence that accelerated climate change is here. Increasing droughts, warmed acidic ocean, extreme weather events, high temperatures, and glaciers melting at unprecedented speed. Truth is this disaster is becoming bigger, scarier, and requires large scale action.

Clean air and water, and a liveable climate are indisputable human rights. And solving this catastrophe is our ethical responsibility, and for this, education is extremely important for several reasons. Especially in Pakistan where people have absolutely no knowledge of climate change and how it is affecting their lives.

With education we can educate these masses on scientific facts about the biggest issue faced by them and their coming generations. We can prepare youngsters with the abilities to help fight climate change, and be part of positive future. Because if we don’t educate the young generation, how can we expect creative solutions and innovation to deal with climate and sustainability issues if they don’t even know any thing about it?

Climate change and sustainability are issues that cut across generations, and the decisions that are made today will have impact not upon the generation that makes them, but generations to come.

Because of infrastructure reserves and other constraints, developing countries in Asia like Pakistan, are likely to face severe impacts of climate change. And these countries need to improve and apply incremental adaptation policies and highlighting the importance of studying climate change in planning, designing and executing development activities.
The first of which is a macro strategy and includes quick sustainable and unbiased development that will rise income points; education and technical skills; disaster preparedness and management and health care systems and reduce vulnerability.

The next is a micro strategy and includes the management of sectors highly sensitive to climate change. This also includes developing new or modifying existing institutions to endorse adaptation to climate change. It would also involve modifying climate-sensitive infrastructures already planned or implemented or other long-term decisions that are sensitive to climate.

Continued monitoring and analysis of variability and trends in key climatic elements is the need of hour. Weather forecasting systems in the whole asian region should be improved and implement reforms on land-use planning. New techniques for confident projection of regional climate change and its variability, including extreme events must be applied.

Countries in Himalayan region need to enhance coordination of climate adaption activities, develop a regional network to monitor risks, and involve more and more youngsters and non governmental public in planning, adaption and mitigation policies. Because when young people are taught about their environment, they feel more connected to the land and be more aware of its pulse.

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Originally published at Buzzfeed Community

Munazza Anwaar

About Munazza Anwaar

Munazza is Photojournalist/Documentary Photographer and a story-teller. She has been contributing to GettyImages since 2011 and her photo-stories have been published at Getty, Newzulu, The Turban Time Middle East, Dawn, Express Tribune, Feature Shoot, RFE/RL and online editions of several publications. She has also been working with various International NGOs in Pakistan like Plan International, UNICEF Pakistan, PCE, Lensational etc.