In this series of blogs we will address the issue of Climate change, how it has come to pass, what are its consequence, what can be done to avert those, what is being and one and who is doing what. We will also look at the potential problems Pakistan may face and their impact on our social and national fabric.
Climate change has come to be one of the most defining problems of our time. Without any doubt, it is the biggest existential threat faced by human being in the 21st century. Despite this stark reality Climate change continues to be misunderstood and understated. It has still failed to register properly in the global human consciousness, let alone dominate it as it should.
Image source: The Atlancist
Climate change and the threats it pose to the human beings, particularly those living in the poor countries, is going to define what happens in this century, to human kind. Not terrorism, not fundamentalism and not extremisms. If anything, it is the climate change terrorism, perpetrated by Climate change deniers (read fundamentalists) and those responsible for creating this catastrophe (read extremists), that will be responsible for most socio-politico-economic changes in the 21st century. Not the religious terrorism that rules the roost over the airwaves for the moment.
Enter a shop and most signs read that any damage done by children will be paid for by adults. Enter the world of climate change and the reverse is true. I mean what we have done to our mother earth will be paid for by our children and their children. And a very heavy price it may end to be.
Talking from the perspective of those living in the rich countries, the generation of carbon junkies move around freely in a world, where “convenience in everything” is the number one priority. Having said that many, if not majority of those living affluent lives in the poor countries, are no less culpable.
Our elders worked hard. They took from mother earth but also gave it back in one form or another. Many generations of people over the millennia stood guard over natural treasures. They took their fair share but there was hardly any wastage. Traditional wisdom always advocated being careful with nature’s bounty. But then came the generations that wanted to slaughter the golden goose at once for their own convenience. Oh wait, that is us, and we stand guilty of stealing something that didn’t belong entirely to us. I am not a socialist but let me daresay that we have treated a shared planet, and the only one we know that supports life, like an imperialist corporation, looting and plundering at will as if there would be not tomorrow.
Clean and plentiful water, clean air, abundance of fresh food, and stable predictable weather patterns, these are the things that have been taken for granted, by human beings for past many thousands of years. Imagine a world without these creature comforts. Think of your children who inherit a planet that would be void of all these? Scarcity of water , lack of food with famine and starvation, Unpredictable weather patterns, with sudden and severe changes resulting in natural calamities. Imagine flooding worse than what happened in Pakistan last year. And now imagine the conflicts and wars this scenario may create. Does that sound like a doomsday scenario? Well it is not far from it.
Any generation or person can at most claim to be the keeper of the earth, not its owner. At least as Muslims it is our fundamental belief that we are not the owners of this earth, just the trustees. We as keepers have been dishonest. We have stolen our children’s future and and don’t know what they’ll be handed down apart from disasters that have already started to happen.
Will our children talk of pure water, spring and summer, and plentiful resources as fables from the past? The very thought makes me shiver. The modern world is the perfect example that ‘all that glitters is not gold’. The modern man has laid the earth to waste and the consequences are natural catastrophes because of the blatant ripping off of the natural resources. How sad that an industrial revolution and all the consequent developments, the fruits of which only lasted for a few generations, leaving but a big dump for those who will follow.
Mehwith Mushtaq is a member of Vision21