Friday, December 4, 2015

Lest We Forget about the calamities of nature

“Hmm… good caption,” I opened a journal lying in my cupboard bearing the title ‘Lest We Forget’. It was a diary from 2011, printed by a corporate institution. The journal was dedicated to the valour of 20 million people affected by the devastating floods in Pakistan in 2010. 

Each separator of the diary told a different story, both photos and narrative reliving the tragic episode. There were tales of compassion, accounts of faith, legends of misery, and sagas of determination. From Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) to Sindh, there was a weak humanity photographed facing the disastrous wrath of nature.

Pakistan suffered the worst floods in 2010 – a calamity much greater than the earthquake in 2005. About one-third of Pakistan was hit by the calamity. Vast areas of human settlements disappeared under water. What was built and gathered in years and decades was washed away overnight.

Small towns and villages were most badly affected as the dams and barrages were breached to save metropolises. The humans, their homes, their crops, their cattle, their hopes and their dreams, all were inundated because of heavy downpours and angry torrents. For millions, life changed from prosperity to misery and thousands became needy from patrons in a matter of days.

Children and youth were the most vulnerable. Struggling for rescue, crying for parents, mourning the loss of their belongings, sustaining themselves with meagre supplies, despairing of an uncertain future, they being the weakest, suffered the most. Collapse of educational infrastructure, destruction of medical facilities, scarcity of resources and loss of family and settlements meant that the suffering continued even after the waters receded.

The episode was repeated in 2011 when Pakistan faced another flood. Nature’s rage was reignited during the summers of 2015, when an extreme heat wave severely affected the old and young in Karachi. These might only be the examples of climate-related shocks that relentlessly happened, triggered by changing patterns of the atmosphere.

We, the young people in Pakistan, are at amplified risks of unpredictable rainfall, increased temperatures and changes in the seasons, today. Climate Asia Report has found that compared to other countries, Pakistanis feel most strongly that these changes are immensely impacting their lives. Climate change is all set to contribute to our major survival concerns, particularly in relation to water, food and energy security.

Think for a moment, is it too late to mend?

The answer is, no!

Like every dark cloud has a silver lining, we can still make it, only if we become a bit more conscious of how our actions are affecting our planet. We are nothing without a balanced Mother Earth; she is still the one least cared for in our everyday actions.

Let’s stop using plastic bags, let’s bicycle our way to colleges. Let greenery, cleanliness and wise use of natural resources lead the way. Let us all become ‘one’, and together make our planet our best friend. Let’s promise, let’s pledge, lest the Mother Earth forgets caring about us!

from The Express Tribune Blog

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