Tharparkar is a far flung desert region in the south eastern corner Sindh province of Pakistan home to a population of about 1.5 million people , that are well known for their vibrant culture and peaceful existence with nature.
But for the past few days national news coverage is highlighting the plight of the people of Thar as the region is declared to be under severe drought due to climate change and inaction of the authorities has till now caused the loss of innocent lives. Up to 41 children have now died due to malnutrition and hunger, further 100 children have been hospitalized because of the prevailing shortage of food and water within the affected area.
Climate change is emerging as a lethal threat in exacerbating the drought conditions of the areas especially after months of no rain. The latest report on “State of the Climate” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – points out to that chance of reemergence of El Niño has significantly increased, leading to an ever increase in drier conditions and failure of winter precipitation that resulted in the drought.
As El Niño developed further, beneficial rains that could have brought much-needed relief to the drought-stricken areas failed, leading to the apocalyptic situation seen now. NOAA’s climate data center has highlighted that the Southern Sindh already was under record driest conditions in January. Based on the current climate model data, it appears that in January, the global average temperature were 4th warmest on record.
The major cause of such calamity is to be blamed not only on climate change, as the negligence of corrupt political regime of the province has added fuel to fire. Till now Pakistan’s People Party – PPP, the main political stakeholder of the region has done nothing to provide relief for the affected victims of their consistency. It has been appalling to witness the sight of dying children in this day and age that in a country that pride itself as a nuclear power with one of the largest armed forces in the world.
The regional government had recently spend billions on extravagant and absurd cultural festival that was intended to portray a softer image of Pakistan but has also to question the governance priorities of the regional government that is plagued by corruption and a tendency to be apathetic towards their own people that is leading to such dire situation of negligence and misery which is responsible for mass starvation and forced migration of the local residents from a region that only months ago had boosted agricultural surplus that it exported to neighboring provinces.
If such situation continues to persists in Pakistan, where threat of climate-fueled droughts and floods is not mitigated, failure of ineffective development policies are not reversed and a cohesive strategy to manage such disasters is not implemented then severe consequence of inaction would be unavoidable as this would eventually lead to a “cascading systems failure” that poses risk to Pakistan’s national security and economic stability.
Salman aka “GreenGuru“ is a passionate eco blogger, activist and writer on environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and climate change related topics. A millennial polymath, entrepreneur & visionary that has founded “GreenGuru” – a sustainable media company – “Wild Planet” – as social media for wildlife enthusiasts – and “Natureology” – a new age naturalistic spiritualism.
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The WordPress.com prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Conservationist conducted a survey in the vast expanse of Cholistan desert along the Indo-Pak border have rediscovered the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) in Pakistan, one of the world’s rarest bird once thought extinct in the country raises the hope of joint collaborative effort to save this endangered bird and bolster peace between the two nuclear armed neighbors .
This is a significant find of global importance for conservation and international relations, to save this species is one of conservation’s most daunting task edge as only a few hundreds are left near the edge of extinction. Great Indian Bustard are one of the world’s heaviest and largest flying bird found only in India and Pakistan, unfortunately they are one of the world’s rarest bird too.
Great Indian Bustard was evaluated as a critically endangered bird (meaning it is highly vulnerable to extinction) by IUCN in 2011, when it was estimated that only 250 mature individuals remain mainly in India and a handful in Pakistan. This majestic bird is threatened by multitude of threats like habitat loss, hunting and direct disturbance.
Great Indian Bustard has been assessed by conservationist to become functionally extinct within few decades if conservation action is not taken by relevant authorities in India and Pakistan to protect them. Indian state of Rajasthan (which is the stronghold for this iconic bird) recently announced it’s very own $2 million “Project Great Indian Bustard” to save the bustard from extinction , but would this project be successful when birds which don’t recognize international borders are bluntly hunted in Pakistan. A research study from 2001-2004 found that out of the total 63 birds that entered Pakistan’s Cholistan desert, 49 were killed and sold in the market .
Proposed solution to save this iconic birds from extinction according to me are the following:
1- Establishment of Protected Areas Network/ Peace Parks along India and Pakistan border,
2- A collaborative initiative, working group and task force must be created to assist conservation effort between India and Pakistan,
3- Scientific expertise, technology and techniques must be shared to promote a concerted international effort directed towards Great Indian Bustard conservation.
Inaction, political interference and lack of co-operation between India and Pakistan to save this bird would not only cost us the future of this critically endangered bird but a hope for peace and conflict resolution between contested neighbors will too be lost forever. We need peace and progress to prevail between India and Pakistan and the conservation of Great Indian Bustard would help us accomplish that beautiful vision.
Salman aka “GreenGuru” is a passionate eco blogger, activist and writer on environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and climate change related topics. He is a millennial polymath, entrepreneur & visionary that has founded “GreenGuru” – a sustainable media company - “Wild Planet” - as social media for wildlife enthusiasts – and “Natureology” – a new age naturalistic spiritualism.
Follow me now and contacts that are listed below:
The frozen wilderness of planet earth enchants me,
Envisioning the first flight of an albatross chick inspires me,
Mesmerized I’m by the synchronized courting of the penguins,
Emotively pleased I’m by the grandeur breaching of a humpback,
I’m in love all over again with my one true love,
An everlasting love that would never fade away.
“There shall come a day when Birds shall be free & humans will see”
Climate change induced floods in – 2010 – Pakistan. Heart breaking image of Climate change refugees .
Pakistan is one of the most climate susceptible countries despite the fact that the countries contribution to the total GHG emissions is among the lowest in the world but it remains most vulnerable to its impact. Around 25.7 - 28.3% of Pakistani population lives below the poverty line but the figure is likely to increase as the country braces the worst impacts of climate change.
Pakistan contains Asia’s most spectacular landscapes as it stretches from Arabian Sea, its southern border, to the world’s magnificent mountain ranges in the north. But climate change has consistently manifested itself through extreme events such as the unprecedented floods, droughts, storms, glacial lake outbursts, etc. The economic and social losses for such events have been in millions. In the floods of 2010 & 2011 alone, 20 million people have been affected millions of people and bought severe hardship to Pakistani’s.
Father carries her daughter to safety of high ground in wake of devastating floods that affected majority of Sind in 2011.
Pakistan is already suffering from environmental degradation which costs Rs 365 billion annually to Pakistan in terms of financial damage, if we start considering the economic impact of climate change it would cost Pakistani economy up to $14 billion per year.
Pakistan’s climate change policy authored a report in 2013 that showed the number of heat waves in Pakistan had increased from 1980 to 2009, more intense and extreme precipitation events are likely to occur like the monsoon floods of 2010 & 2011.
Pakistan can expect worse heat waves to come; meteorologists warn recent extreme temperatures that are commonly followed by floods can largely be attributed to climatic warming. The heat wave may have affected people in cities more than in rural areas, partly because of the “heat island effect” which sees temperatures in urban areas 5-8C higher than in the countryside. Urban conditions were particularly bad because the heat wave led to power cuts which in turn led to violent protests. Many families were unable to pump water or run air conditioners.
Research has shown that the number of heat waves in Pakistan had increased from 1980 to 2009 and that average temperature in the Indus delta was steadily rising.
In 2013 the maximum was 51C/52C. The heat wave started on 12 May in Sindh province and gripped the entire country by 15 May but the hottest temperatures were recorded since 1954.
Scientific research has forecasted low agricultural productivity from lack of water for irrigation and erratic rainfall. Conditions in the fertile Indus delta, already facing saline water intrusion and coastal erosion, are expected to deteriorate further. Lack of environmental flows to the deltaic area is likely to expose around 2.26 million people to water scarcity, rising sea levels and food insecurity. Millions of people in Pakistan are likely to be pushed into further poverty because climate change undermining economic development in Pakistan.
In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel nothing can befall me in life – no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes) which Nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground – my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space – all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God - Ralph Waldo Emerson