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A Change in Pakistan: – Climate Change Our New Normal

We are all familiar with the term “climate change.”, The basic concept is that it is a long-term alteration in the Earth’s climate that generally includes a change in weather patterns and shifts in temperature. The main reasons behind climate change can include natural factors and human factors as well. In most cases, human factors play a major role in climate change, such as the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and land use change, including urbanization, all of which play a critical role in causing climate change. For decades, industrial players around the globe rejected the idea that climate change would become the next threat to humanity. The excessive urbanization and industrialization that we have witnessed, especially during the 20th century, and the ignorance of our global leaders in the past lead us to our present situation, where climate change is not just a hoax but a reality.

A reality that is slowly becoming our new normal, where floods, wildfires, droughts, and air pollution are all becoming part of our routine. I mean, look at the 2023 Australian Bushfire, where dust storms and wildfires turned the sky of Sydney orange, similar to what we see in dystopian movies.  The 2011 tsunami and earthquake in Japan, even when looking at our own home country, Pakistan, where the 2010 floods changed the entire way of life for many of the small towns and rural settlements in the northern and north-western parts of the country. The recent floods of 2022 in Pakistan affected almost every province, especially Sindh. The interior Sindh, already lacking in basic facilities and infrastructure, was further damaged by the floods to the extent that many of the locations within Sindh turned into huge lakes.  A few of the roads that were barely in operational condition for traffic were completely destroyed by the floods.

Even in our city of Karachi, the financial heartland of Pakistan, has been suffering from climate change for years now. The city of 20 million people is also a victim of monsoon rain every year. The rich neighborhoods of Clifton, with all their high-end sports cars, mansions, and an army of servants, have also suffered from the monsoon rains and floods, just like any other normal Karachi city resident. Every year residents in Clifton are worried about the flooded streets in their neighborhood and in the city, and the damage to their household items including furniture. A similar fate is also waiting for the average resident of Karachi, who will likely experience difficulty traveling around the city, water seepage in walls, damage to furniture, power outages, and whatnot.  Also, in recent years, the city of Karachi has also witnessed a surge in health-related diseases such as the Congo virus, brain-eating amoeba, the dengue outbreak, and several other infectious diseases facilitated by floods and droughts.  We have to understand that the carelessness that we have shown against climate change at the national level will soon become a threat to our overall ecosystem. In order to achieve stability in our ecosystem and create a climate-resilient nation, the government should continue the environmental policies of the previous government of Imran Khan. Such policies will protect our near-future interests and provide the base structure to develop future policies related to the evolving climate. It is crucial to understand that making climate change our new normal will become a threat to our way of life in the long run.

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