Saturday, April 7, 2012

Going Green for Pakistan

By Sabina Rizwan Khan

Let's make Pakistan Green, One Plant at a time! This spirit showed will be shown again by a bunch of enthusiastic green lovers of environment. From doing flash mobs to planting saplings, from conducting informative seminars on environmental issues to beach cleaning, from creating awareness at schools to running own small campaigns, Earth Week will be 7 days of fun, sheer activism and creating attentiveness toward Pakistan's important climate issues.

Earth Day is celebrated on 22nd April which was founded by Gaylord Nelson, an American Senator to create awareness for Earth and our environment. But later on, many people extended the effort of inspiration to a week, thus called Earth Week now. Earth Week is celebrated from 17th April to 23rd April, in more than 175 countries all over the world. Numerous people, communities and organizations focus this whole week on activities regarding environmental issues.

With numerous environmental changes like creation of artificial lake, reduction in growth of certain crops, floods and changing climatic patterns over the years showed how vulnerable Pakistan is towards climate change. The recent devastation caused by floods demonstrated well that how global warming can be lethal. With very little awareness regarding climate change also and its consequences, it was difficult to address the concrete issues and work towards solutions some years ago.

However, the scenario is progressing as now people especially youngsters are showing interest in environmental issues, with responsibility. With much knowledge on media and people accepting environment problem as matter of great concern has made the difference to a larger extent. This year, Karachi along with other cities, witnessed many celebrations on account of Earth Week, in various schools, colleges and universities. Even some offices made sure to cut down their energy consumption. A lot of seminars were conducted to disseminate information and facts regarding how these problems can be minimized. Many forums were held to initiate a dialogue on energy conservation especially in a country that is already suffering from its shortage. From plantations to cleaning to just writing blogs a lot of action was observed this time.

Though many see all such efforts as time wastage, we see this as an encouraging sign towards betterment. Remaining in our given capacities if we are able to create awareness and making people informed, I think a lot of transformation starts from here. Jerry Yudelson, a green building and green marketing specialist from US, on account of Earth Hour shared "Everything that raises awareness of energy use and creates a feeling that global warming is an issue for the entire world to address together, is useful in my opinion."

This surely puts end to all cynical critics who says that we have far better issues to address than environment. We must understand that global warming and its effects are indirectly affecting our living conditions, our patterns of weather, giving rise to natural calamities. This as a result has negative impacts on our agro-based economy as well as our infrastructure, budgets and security.

We as individuals who have access to all sorts of resources can make a greater difference only if we know what and how to do. Like I said earlier, awareness is the first step towards the solution, it is essential to know what is global warming. How climate change is affecting the world collectively and its further costs in future are needed to be understood, so that we can work better to find practical solutions.

Here are some interesting tips to play your part in saving your Earth:
  1. When television is not being watched, turn the television off and don't leave it on standby.
  2. Especially for students and office people, try to re use your Xerox papers' back for writing down notes.
  3. Instead of using new wrapping paper, use newspaper and magazine pages to wrap gifts. They give an interesting look and you can do collage work out of it as well giving it a personalized touch.
  4. Cook while keeping all pots and pans covered, this will help in cutting the energy expenditure by almost 90 percent.
  5. Reuse plastic bags as much as possible. Try to use cloth bags for shopping as plastic bag manufacturing gives off enormous amount of carbon.
  6. If you are not sitting in any room, turn off the lights, fan and air conditioner.
  7. Turn the switch off, if your cell charger is plugged in, even when your cell is not connected.
  8. Travel to nearby places, visiting close living friends by walking or riding a bicycle. A little bit of this can help cut down the carbon emission in greater amounts.
  9. Instead of travelling to your institutions or offices in your individual cars, start car pooling which is again less on carbon and also price effective in times of petrol price hikes.
  10. Always make sure to run the washing machine with full load of laundry to save electricity.
  11. Keep your food covered in the refrigerator. This helps stopping moisture escape and as a result it prevents excessive power burden on compressor. 
  12. Keep it all Green. Plant trees as much as possible, water them regularly. Drive plantation campaigns in your campuses and localities not only in Earth Week but throughout the year. This birthday, plant number of trees as your age!