We have all witnessed the worst crisis of this year in the form of climatic anomalies. The scale of the damage especially in Karachi, speaks volumes about the apocalypse that awaits us and which has been predicted by scientists and climate activists for years.
Every year we suffer from calamities born out of climate crisis. Our country is one the worst hit countries by the climate crisis. We are being hit by unprecedented floods, droughts, rains, heat waves, smog periods and every other kind of climate anomaly. The recent example of the climate tragedy are the rains in Karachi at such levels that were previously unheard of, which drowned a whole city of 25 million people. On the other hand, the rising sea levels have already engulfed millions of acres of fertile land in the coastal districts of Sindh. Which is yet another reminder of the scientific predictions that at the end of this century all the major coastal cosmopolitans and urban centers of the world would become uninhabitable. The quality of air is unsuitable for humans and other living creatures, while in recent years a toxic layer, smog, surrounds the atmosphere of Lahore and other urban centers for months. And not just urban centers are the ones directly affected but our rural areas and with them our whole food system is facing severe consequences of climate change. All the historic cycles of crops cultivation are failing at the hands of unprecedented weather patterns i.e. when there had been times of crop sowing and rains, usually there are no rains and farmers have to irrigate their fields through tube wells causing extra costs, and when crop needs no water, usually massive rains occur causing loss of standing crops, etc. The flash floods because of sudden glacial melts have become a norm in our northern regions causing intense damages to lives and livelihoods of people. The list goes on and far.
On the other hand the systematic incapability of the state apparatus and inefficient governments have further worsened the crisis. The trends of urban development in our country are nightmares. One might think that how comes a city at the banks of a sea is unable to drain its water. Dozens of factors have played out to this failure, all of them motivated by the greed and carried out at the behest of small minds. No forecast, precautions or alternatives have been shown to those at the forefronts of climate crisis. The magnificent Indus Valley Civilization with her majestic rivers has a history of thousands of years, and we all know what we have done to her.
River Ravi a necessary part of our history and heritage, where Ram has been told to have his birth, now presents the picture of a drain and nothing more. All sorts of domestic waste is thrown into it untreated, as the city of Lahore with all its artificial glamour has no treatment plant. After all these rains, the government in all its absurdity, issued licenses for industrial fishing, that already has proven to be deadly for marine life and ecology. In Muzaffarabad, for 70 miles the course of the river is diverted for Neelum-Jehlum hydro power project and now the whole area is facing earthquakes and water logging. Who would have thought even some decades ago that there would be ‘Water Mafias’? Our greed seems to be advancing towards our own destruction.
The ways in which our industrial civilization functions must be seized at once if we are to think of a future for mankind and all kind of beings. Scientists say that if now even the whole world is covered with trees, carbon emissions which cause the global warming still couldn’t be countered. So these billion tree tsunamis can only act as a gloss on the real problem, and that too if carried out in a planned way which it is not. We need to build a resilient infrastructure that will have the capacity to contain what we are now facing. We have to shift towards renewable energy sources, sustainable industrial and agrarian models. Then we have to build strong, people to people, transnational solidarity networks to fight the hegemony of corporations and profits. A peoples’ and nature oriented socio-economic model is our only hope. But alas! We are far far from all of it.