Rina Saeed Khan

Rina Saeed Khan

The author is an environmental journalist based in Islamabad. She most recently authored the book, "From Mountains to Mangroves: Protecting Pakistan's Natural Heritage" on her travels throughout Pakistan. She tweets @rinasaeed (twitter.com/rinasaeed)

How effective is PTI’s climate change policy?

Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan began his historic speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week with climate change, calling it one of the “most urgent problems the world must address”. Climate change was of course on the agenda of this year’s global leaders gathering in New York. But to be fair Khan has noted the importance of climate change in several of his earlier speeches to the nation as well. 1st let me talk about climate change; I have seen a lot of leaders talk about this. But I don’t see world leaders really realizing the urgency ...

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The day climate change finally made it to the front page in Pakistan

Before September 20th, the last time I marched for the climate was a decade ago outside the venue of the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. It was a cold, dark day and there had been skirmishes with the Danish police. It was a depressing march and as protestors huddled around bonfires made of banners, I thought it a fitting end to a summit that had failed to deliver a climate deal. The world had not come together to cut carbon emissions as we had all hoped. In fact, key governments bought themselves a few more years until the Paris Agreement. ...

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Will you march for climate change?

I first met Greta Thurnberg, the 16-year-old Swedish school girl who is now inspiring young people all over the world to protest against the climate crisis, back in December 2018 at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference. Hair tied in two pigtails, she looked much younger than her age, was extremely shy and spoke haltingly in English on several forums at the conference held in Poland. Thurnberg speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference held in Poland Sure, the media was following her around even then, but no one imagined she would become such a huge ...

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The world will not forgive ‘Captain Chainsaw’ if the Amazon continues to burn

The fires in the Amazon rainforest have been the current topic of discussion this past week on social media, as people share photographs and outrage over the destruction of the ‘lungs of the earth’. However, a lot of the information is not exactly accurate, including many outdated pictures that have gone viral. Some Brazilians also feel that there is some sort of conspiracy against their new government, led by their right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, especially since he has dismissed the scientific consensus about climate change, calling it a hoax. Given his allegations of a “fake news campaign built against our sovereignty,” perhaps the best ...

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Lesson for Pakistan: “It is not about how much water you have, but how you manage it”

Before Prime Minister Imran Khan touched down in Washington, I landed in America’s capital, invited by the State Department for a foreign press tour titled ‘Creating a More Water Secure World’. I was curious to learn how the US was dealing with droughts, floods and warmer temperatures given that the country is pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Donald Trump recently dismissed a study produced by his own administration warning of the potentially catastrophic impact of climate change, saying, “I don’t believe it.” While I was there on the 10-day tour along with journalists from other developing countries, the northern hemisphere ...

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Fed up of your high electricity bills and constant load-shedding? Go solar!

Last week in Lahore, when temperatures were touching 45 degrees Celsius, everywhere I went the conversation revolved around not load-shedding but high electricity bills – rich and poor were reeling from their June electricity bills. The recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has resulted in subsidies being removed from electricity and gas, and citizens are now left to cope with huge bills. “The only option is to go solar – we have our elderly mother in the house who needs her air conditioner (AC) running 24/7 all summer long, plus our room and my brother’s room and guestroom. We ...

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Pakistan’s dangerous melting glaciers and why we should be concerned

Shishper glacier, located above Hassanabad village adjacent to the Karakoram Highway (KKH) in Hunza district, has been in the news lately as it is an unusual glacier – unlike many other large glaciers in the region that are melting and receding, this glacier is advancing and surging. The 15km long Shishper Glacier that was surging until a week ago This towering black wall of ice has been pushing forward into Hassanabad and heading towards the village and the KKH since last July. I visited the glacier this past May and I have to say it was a fascinating ...

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A paradise in peril: Destroying Naltar for the sake of promoting tourism

I had heard about the pristine beauty of Naltar since I was a child, but somehow had never made it to this remote valley, located around 40 kilometres from Gilgit. Perhaps a lot had to do with the fact that the road to the valley is barely passable by jeep, and it takes around two hours to get there from the Karakoram Highway. However, this month I finally made it to Naltar, and I was not disappointed. The bare Karakoram mountains, the rocky landscape and the dusty road was soon forgotten as we turned a corner and emerald green ...

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Pakistan’s wildlife: Going, going, gone!

As we go about our busy lives, completely dependent on fossil fuels from the vehicles that transport us to the houses we live in electrified by thermal power plants, we remain blissfully ignorant of the damage resource extraction and unchecked development has done to the flora and fauna of our planet. How conveniently we look the other way as yet another housing estate gobbles up even more rural land and old trees are cut down to make way for roads! Scientists have now rung the alarm bells that we humans are driving the sixth mass extinction on Earth. A new ...

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Apart from planting trees, what is Pakistan doing to fight climate change?

This week, the House of Commons in the UK became the first parliament to declare an ‘environment and climate change emergency’. The symbolic move, recognising the urgency to tackle the climate crisis, was largely the result of a mass movement organised by the new group, Extinction Rebellion. This group, led mostly by young people, says that time is running out in order to limit global warming to 1.5C and thus demands that solutions be implemented. Supporting them is Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old school girl from Sweden who started the #SchoolStrike4Climate, inspired a global movement and has now been nominated ...

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