Stories about global warming

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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Pakistan’s melting glaciers: Our climate change crisis will destabilise Asia’s rivers

Pakistan is fortunate to be home to three great mountain ranges: the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush. In fact, on the drive up the Karakoram Highway from Islamabad to Gilgit, I often stop at a place near Jaglote town where these three ranges actually meet. One can see the grand vista from the road, which could easily be missed if not for a sign nearby which reads, “The junction point of the three mightiest mountain ranges of the world.” The Karakoram includes the K2, the world’s second-highest peak, and is the most heavily glaciated area on the planet apart ...

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Balochistan is thirsty for a drop of water – what will it take for Pakistan to notice?

It is no secret that Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, is facing a chronic water shortage issue and has been experiencing severe droughts for decades. Water is one of the basic necessities of life, fundamental for the existence of life to begin with, and without it we will all cease to exist. And yet the province is moving closer towards becoming a land without water. At least seven small and large rivers flow across Balochistan, from which the Hingol River (the longest river in the province) covers a length of 560 kilometres. Despite the flow of these seven rivers, Balochistan is in ...

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COP24: Time is running out and this may be our last attempt to save our planet

The UN Climate Change Conference 2018, or COP24 as it widely known, started with a bang and ended with a whimper two weeks later in Katowice, Poland. The bang came at the high level opening ceremony on December 2nd where celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sir David Attenborough warned negotiators that “time is running out” for the world to take action to control global warming. Unfortunately, their warnings were not taken seriously as the Paris Rulebook that was finalised at Katowice on December 15th actually ended up watering down the Paris Agreement, especially in terms of finance, loss and ...

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Why Kalabagh Dam is not the answer to our water woes

A few days back, my views on the futility of Kalabagh Dam published in a national daily evoked a very strong and hostile reaction from many people. I had posed a simple and pertinent question: “If, as is evident, Pakistan will have very little water in future, what will we fill Kalabagh Dam with?” Some people said Pakistan will have enough water forever, while others called me an enemy agent. Before delving deeper into why the dam should not be constructed, I would like to share my own experience of water consumption. Up until 10 years back, I had no idea how much ...

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Ignorance is bliss!

My friend, I do not wish to know, And I’m in no mood, To think of global warming, Or pesticides in food.   Hardwood forests in decline, Endangered pink frogs. Salt or freshwater wetlands, Fast vanishing bogs. Illiteracy, hunger, AIDS, Tsunami, hurricane. Inflation or unemployment, Worrying is in vain.   Dwindling water resources, Or poaching elephants. By God, I’ve no patience for, Futile raves and rants. Let others lead the world from front, For admirable feat. I’ll lead the horde from behind, To a hasty retreat!   I love my unawareness, Ah! Ignorance is bliss! Don’t interrupt my cricket game, I don’t want to ...

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How many hurricanes will it take for Donald Trump to realise that climate change is a real threat?

Since the 45th elected president of the United States was announced, the world has been divided into two schools of thought. There are people who support Donald Trump’s ideologies and people who absolutely despise him for the same reason. When I woke up on election day and checked the news, I was confident that Hillary Clinton had won. Alas, the result was something no one had expected. I, along with the rest of the world, was horrified that the new president was probably the worst choice the US had ever made. Every time that man gave a speech, it would end up going viral because ...

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Mommy tips: How to raise a mini activist

When we hear the word “activist”, we immediately think of khadi clad, jhola carrying men and women braving water cannons and lathi charges. But an activist is one who campaigns for social change of any kind, someone who identifies the rot in society and speaks about it. There are various degrees of activism and similarly various ways of showing dissent. Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and any thriving society needs such voices. Such conscientious persons are not born but raised. One might feel that preteens are too young to grapple the socio-political dynamics of a complex society, ...

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Lest We Forget about the calamities of nature

“Hmm… good caption,” I opened a journal lying in my cupboard bearing the title ‘Lest We Forget’. It was a diary from 2011, printed by a corporate institution. The journal was dedicated to the valour of 20 million people affected by the devastating floods in Pakistan in 2010.  Each separator of the diary told a different story, both photos and narrative reliving the tragic episode. There were tales of compassion, accounts of faith, legends of misery, and sagas of determination. From Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) to Sindh, there was a weak humanity photographed facing the disastrous wrath of nature. Pakistan suffered the worst floods in 2010 – a calamity much greater ...

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Why doesn’t Pakistan care about climate change?

You may have come across news about climate change or an agreement in Paris in December, and ignored it. For many of us, this threat seems far off from Pakistan; but it is coming our way, and if we don’t prepare ourselves the right way, the damage could be insurmountable. The threat I am referring to is one posed by climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions are causing world temperatures to rise and if we don’t act to slow down, and eventually stop carbon emissions, our planet will become uninhabitable for our grandchildren. People in Pakistan might question why this matters for a country like ours; it is not ...

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