Friday, December 11, 2009

Booni Vigil Rally for Climate Change SOS Copenhagen

A vigil rally in Booni, northern Chitral, Pakistan was organized through the facilitation of CAMAT [Chitral Association for Mountain Area Tourism]. The objectives of the placard bearing rally was to showcase support and show solidarity with the climate change SOS Copenhagen conference in addition to highlight the issues of climate change that has already posed a serious challenge to the communities in the Hindu Kush Mountains.
The participants were mostly students of government high school Booni and Pamir Public School apart from business community, political leadership, social workers and people from different walk of life. The rally, after walking for a kilometer, concentrated at the main Booni square where teachers, political leadership and business community representatives addressed the gathering. It was maintained that for the last three decades there has been a considerable change in the climate, which is inevitably linked to global warming. The destruction of the village Sonoghor three years ago resulting from glacier bursting is no doubt an eye opener in this regard. Similarly snow avalanches that destroyed the Washeech village in the Torkho valley and the annihilation of village Brep are directly associated with global warming.
The melting glaciers high up in the Eastern Pamir region, which are the vital source of cultivation for centuries in the entire northern Pakistan let alone Chitral, are melting very rapidly. If these natural water reservoirs get dried up, then the people here do not have any other option except to migrate to other places the way some of the valuable bird species have already done.
Likewise climate change has also severely threatened the habitat of the valuable natural biodiversity of the Hindu Kush region. Some of the rare birds species like the black throated thrush, finches, magpie, grey tit and golden eagle have almost disappeared as their ecological needs were no longer fulfilled in the given ecology. The population of wolf and fox has drastically shrunk and they are about to disappear. The disappearance of the substantial vegetative covering has had ever negative implication for the elusive snow leopard as it caused migration of the markhor and wild goats on the top of this ecological pyramid is always the elusive snow leopard. Now one can have very rare glimpses of the snow cat in northern Pakistan. It must have migrated to some other places better suiting his ecological needs.
The speakers at the rally maintain that students, being energetic and young people, have to be much focused whilst addressing the issues of natural environment. Moreover, it was emphasized that only within a healthy natural environment can we effectively adjust our social, political and economic needs for our broader welfare. If land resources are eroded and natural biodiversity degraded, then it will surely threatened our own very existence. It is therefore, the protection of natural environment and forming combined front against global warming must be the priority no one for the mountainous communities.
The livelihood of the people in the Hindu Kush Mountains is inseparably intertwined with healthy ecology and intact natural biodiversity, the disturbance of which has almost threatened the life standard of the communities in the region. As remedial measure, the participants of the rally unanimously passed the resolution as follows:
• That today on Dec 11, 2009, a vigil rally supporting the cause of global warming firmly pledge that we will continue our efforts for the protection of natural environment and our fight against global warming. To this end, we will harness the strength of schools, places of worship and other social centers in order to raise awareness and prepare workable plan to cope with the environmental issues at grassroots.• That developed and industrial nations are appealed to curtail the emission of carbon into the atmosphere so that the prospect of global warming would automatically be reduced and its negative impacts on the remote and less developed mountainous regions like ours would be minimized.• That there must be authentic research initiatives on the part of developed nations to measure the continuing damages to the natural environment of the mountainous communities in northern Pakistan. Based on such researches, awareness campaign will be mounted in the target communities and improved and coordinated strategy aimed at tackling the menace of global warming would be undertaken.• That effective awareness raising campaign with regard to natural environment and its importance for the living organism on earth needs to be initiated on regular basis for the broader stakeholders.• That courses on environment must necessarily be included in the curriculum of schools, both in the government and private sectors so that they will have proper knowledge and understanding about their natural environment and will resolve such problems based on their indigenous knowledge.• That student, being energetic young people, have the courage and strength to shoulder the responsibility of taking care for their environment if they have to be properly trained about natural environment.• That to fight against climate change; it is of paramount importance to stop deforestation in the southern Chitral and to increase forest everywhere in the district. With much greenery we can assure the health of our natural environment. To reduce pressure on the existing forest belt, the rally maintained, the provision of alternative source of fuel to the energy starved Hindu Kush region either in respect of natural gas from Central Asia or by generating electricity from its numerous rivers and streams could be helpful.
Best regards,

Shams Uddin,
CAMAT, Mountain Inn, Chitral

Tel: +92 943 413540

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