Published Date: Sep 21, 2019
Citizens demand greater action to combat climate change impact
ISLAMABAD: Citizens of the capital took to the streets on Friday for their first ever ‘Climate March’, demanding greater action to combat impact of climate change at the local, provincial, national and global levels.
The march was held in line with the commencement of UN Climate Action Week 2019.
Marches, strikes and activities are taking place across 34 Pakistani cities and in 150-plus countries worldwide, the Ministry of Climate Change maintained.
People, including women and children, gathered outside the National Press Club under the banner of Climate Action Pakistan and marched towards D-Chowk.
They highlighted the severe climate impact on Islamabad and the rest of Pakistan. Stalls for sustainable businesses and arts and craft were also set up on the grounds of the National Press Club to engage the public on sustainable living, recycling, adapting to a changing climate and the need for prioritising development of a low-carbon economy.
A die-in presentation was given to pay tributes to those who had suffered due to climate change, as well as to highlight the bleak future that the world awaited. The die-in participants drew attention to the need to transform global economic systems that had created climate crisis to avoid further destabilisation of human and natural systems and their associated loss and damage.
Persons from marginalised and minority communities also shared their experience brought about due to climate change.
The group progressed towards D-Chowk via Jinnah Avenue accompanied by Islamabad Traffic Police where the Islamabad charter of climate demands was read out and presented to Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul who also took part in the march.
A day earlier, Zartaj Gul had urged all to join her in the walk to raise awareness on impacts of climate change.
“There are businesses, organisations and countries around the world that continue to contribute to green house gases, which have dire consequences financially and on health of human beings. Powerful cyclones, cloud bursts and floods leave a path of destruction and claim lives. Altering weather wrecks havoc on agricultural land, droughts are turning fertile fields into barren lands and groundwater is receding ever rapidly; I can go on describing the impacts of climate change. The world needs to declare war against climate change, far serious war than other lesser conflicts the world is engaged in today,” said Zartaj Gul.
The state minister claimed that Pakistan was one of the most vulnerable countries that had been impacted by global warming.
“It is upon the people to come together for this walk. Together we can wake up world leaders who are doing less. Pakistan is the only developing country that is taking green initiatives despite economic constraints. This walk will help other leaders and communities realise that all countries that continue to pollute the world and add to global warming that as responsible citizens they need to make the world a safer and better place,” Zartaj Gul said.
Earlier, the Pakistan national climate change manifesto was presented to Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam.
The manifesto demanded the government to declare climate emergency, engage on climate justice through national and global coalitions, adopt a low-carbon economy and ensure grassroots level climate adaptation.