Civil society holds Climate Change walk

Islamabad : A large number of people from all walks of life held climate change walk on Friday to join the world in Global Climate Change Strike. The protestors demanded the government to declare climate change emergency and convene the Climate Change Council.

Majority of the participants were young people from different schools holding placards inscribed with slogans such as “Stand for what you stand on”, “Winter is not coming” and Lets join hands to clean Pakistan. The protestors also demanded reviewing National Climate Change Policy, climate justice through a global coalition, shift to renewable energy resources, halting of coal-fired energy projects and recognising air pollution as public health issue.

Millions of people around the world came out of their schools and workplaces on Friday to demand urgent action on climate change. The Global Climate Strikes, which took place in more than 150 countries, were scheduled ahead of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly and the Climate Action Summit on September 23.

The protests were organised by young people around the world who are part of the ‘Fridays for Future’ campaign, which has seen students walk out of their schools on Fridays to demand their political leaders take urgent action to address climate change.

“The older generation is not doing anything. They don’t consider climate change a real threat. The young generation has to take the lead and realize the responsibility to do all effort possible because it is our future,” said Eiman Ghani Khajjak, a student activist from West Minster School.

Another student activist Ahmad Bilal from City School said that this is the first serious effort by the youth to make their government realize their responsibility towards climate change and towards saving the world. “The momentum will keep on increasing as we realize that every little effort counts in saving the world,” he said.

The students were also joined by representatives of civil society, different public and organizations, transgender community and political parties. Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam and Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul also joined the march to show solidarity with the cause.

Eminent human rights activist Tahira Abdullah said she was very excited to see so many young people in the march. “Instead of adults inspiring the young, young people are inspiring us to stand up for saving the earth. I am glad to see that energy, vitality, enthusiasm and determination of young generation,” she said.

There were also stalls set up by Nomad Art Gallery, one of the organizers, showcasing the organic and climate friendly green products. The campaign “Pappu recycles; do you?” by Saaf Suthra Pakistan also displayed their bins for the education of those attending the protest.

A student activist from City School Hania Imran said that Pakistan is 7th among the 10 most affected countries by climate change. “Climate change is real and we have this responsibility to make the policy makers realize that it is time for action.”

Sherry Rehman also joined the protest to encourage the youth. She demanded check on deforestation in Khyber Pakhtukhwa and effective waste management throughout the country and urged the government to declare climate emergency.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that scientists have predicted that if climate change is not controlled, the world is left with only 12 year. “We are already facing the impact of climate change, the mistakes done by the industrial states, in the form of floods, heat waves and change of weather. In next four days, Karachi is going to experience another heat wave.”

He said that he is part if the climate change negotiations for past 12 years but countries that are responsible to this destruction are not serious in solving the issue. “We have to realize that nature is going to solve nature. We have to plant more and more trees,” he said adding that the government has allocated $250 million to help people affected by the climate change and demanding more funds from countries responsible for this destruction.

Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said that she is happy to see the response of the young people towards her tweet. She said that collective response can make real difference. She urged countries responsible for climate change to act responsible

The story originally published in The News

Mayra Imran

Myra Imran works as a staff reporter for The News in Islamabad and is an award-winning journalist. She is Joint Secretary for National Press Club, Islamabad.
Myra reports on human rights issues, including water and sanitation. Her expertise is on women issues. She was declared ‘Media Woman of the Year’ by the Excellence Award Foundation and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 2009. The following year, she was presented the ‘Benazir Women in Leadership Award’ by the Ministry of Human Rights. In 2010 she directed a documentary on the post-earthquake situation in Balakot, one of the worst affected areas in the October 2005 earthquake.

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