“Mangroves: Custodians of the Coast” (A film by The Dawood Foundation)

March 11, 2020

I was invited by the British Council on a documentary on the ‘Mangroves of Sindh’, directed by Anam Abbas & sponsored by the Dawood Foundation- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE5V221BvUg, alongwith a group of school children.

One of the greatest advantages of the Mangrove ecosystem are their intricate roots- they slow water flow thus protecting shorelines during storms by absorbing & reducing wave energy and water velocity respectively.

Besides being a habitat for birds and sealife, mangroves act as a natural barrier for land erosion due to currents and wave velocities.

Unfortunately, villagers in Pakistan cut down these life-saving trees for the wood and their rich, mineral-based leaves, as a fuel source and income.

‘Mangroves of Sindh’ identifies a practical SOLUTION – create cheap, alternate fuel sources for villagers. 

To change any ‘evil’, one must change the system from its roots.  While the subsequent discussions asked school children to consider careers in the Civil Services, my thoughts are we should go even further back- to the school level.  You cannot change a system if people don’t identify the threat of devastation, which can more effectively be taught from primary levels.

Malaysia uses the Mangroves forests as an eco-tourist platform, especially during monsoon seasons.  My family took a “mangrove tour” over a decade ago- a mangrove boat ride, eagle feeding and a third attraction I don’t remember now.  The government gave fisherman small engines so that when fishing was banned, they could use small boats for such tourist visits, thus earning income in off-season.

Another fantastic video is ‘The Edge of Delta’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0SJrsc32U8 by Tariq A. Qaiser.

There are small changes within our System, which can be accomplished easily and with minimal cost to the government.  IUCN, British Council and individuals are doing what they can within their resources but isn’t it time our governments stepped up to help the environment and, by extension, our coastal villages and cities?

Our Ultimate MOTHER … Earth!

January 23, 2020

Courtesy- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmVLcj-XKnM&feature=emb_title

Several posts this week made me sit up and think critically … “what are we doing to our mother Earth!

Firstly, Conservation International’s “Nature is Speaking”, on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmVLcj-XKnM&feature=emb_title, impacted me the most – I implore you to see this short video but it’s MOST STRIKING excerpts are given below-

QUOTE

“             … I don’t really need people.  But people need me.  Yes, your future depends on me.

When I thrive, you thrive.  When I falter, you falter.  Or worse.

How you choose to live each day, whether you regard or disregard me, doesn’t really matter to me.

Your actions will determine your fate.  Not mine.  I am nature.  I will go on …”

UNQUOTE

                              CHILLING …yes!

Then, Denmark’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Rolf Holmboe, opined in https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/601152-who-s-afraid-of-renewables.  Again, an EYE-OPENER and again I request you to read this short and very interesting piece, the excerpts of which are –

QUOTE

  1. Globally performing economies are the ones transitioning fastest to renewable electricity production
  2. Renewable energy [can] form the baseload in producing electricity (more than 80 percent of electricity used in Denmark is now generated from renewables)
  3. The only way to make the energy sector viable in Pakistan is transitioning to renewable [which can] offer affordable prices to consumers

UNQUOTE

Pakistan is RICH in solar, wind & water sources – just misused!  There are but a few countries in the world that can boast these resources concurrently.  A few business houses like GUL AHMED have started wind turbines but more needs to be done by more people.

Then, there’s 17-year old Greta Thunberg’s message on climate change “Our House Is Still on Fire”https://nyti.ms/3auVR0m.

Here, we have young, teen activists bringing our doom to our attention – why can’t we, as adults, understand our actions are killing the very ‘hand that feeds us’Mother EarthWhy can’t we think of our future!?

Lastly, I had written about recycling & harvesting rain water https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/08/and-the-rains-are-upon-us/ in August 2019. 

We have rain…we have water from our melting snows… It’s just a matter of harnessing natural sourcesto sustain … LIFE!

               Indeed, as Rolf concludes, “Where does Pakistan want to be?”

Water, water everywhere … but not a drop to drink!

March 24, 2019

water water everywhere

Recently there has been a lot of news about South Africa (Cape Town actually) running out of water soon.

I believe Pakistan – and Karachi especially – is almost in the same boat- international organizations have repeatedly been warning us about the impending water shortage, as soon as the coming decade.

There are many many articles on water saving but the government cannot do this on its own- we as citizens have to help out too.

Some basic water saving techniques which can PRACTICALLY be instituted are –

  1. Like Hawaii, the government should create water catchment areas for rain water – especially in Punjab and KP provinces;
  2. Water faucets can and should be changed to modern fittings/devices which save water. I saw a very very interesting concept at https://www.alteredcompany.com/ . Their water aerators/nozzles give a mist – they claim 98% water saving – giving you the same cleaning effects but at a fraction of the water wastage.
  3. Implement recycling “domestic” water for kitchen & clothes washing and things like swimming pools;
  4. Implement “Waste” water (from WC’s and urinals) recycling for gardens and exterior washings (can be used for washing cars, external patios, etc). Admiral Khawar showed us a fantastic recycling concept the Navy has started at Karsaz – I don’t see why can’t implement the same too;
  5. Mini DAMS is a must – starting from the north of Pakistan’s main rivers to as far south as possible, so that our fresh water does not drain into the sea and is instead used productively.  Some provinces have concerns that water from such dams would not be used equitably – but if Pakistan & India’s Indus Water Treaty of 1960 can withstand the “test of time”, I’m sure our own provinces can also reach a comprehensive, equitable & binding agreement;
  6. Implement drip irrigation for all our gardens and plants – if the Middle East countries can successfully operate such systems, it should be even easier for us to do!
  7. Tied to this, all water for gardening should be done after sunset;
  8. Domestic staff HAVE to be taught to conserve water (for that matter all our utilities);
  9. Let’s go back to school – literally – and immediately start teaching water saving to all nursery, kindergarten and primary school children!

What are your thoughts- how else can we PRACTICALLY help ourselves and how can the Government help us?

(Title courtesy “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge ; Photo courtesy of “Quotesbuddy.com”)

Common Sense has “left the building”!

March 15, 2019

common-sense

(Image courtesy “https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwin9JW8qYPhAhWIzaQKHcY_CEAQjhx6BAgBEAM&url=https%3A%2F%2Fboldomatic.com%2Fview%2Fwriter-feed%2Fswag-fiir3&psig=AOvVaw22OoZgoM_sG5bt0ZPQKbzy&ust=1552711021351225”)

Does one really need to have “common sense” not to throw trash on the road from the car?  What about a car tail-gaiting a motorcycle?  How about when I take my mother in law to the Gym at the hospital and every single time, I open and close the physiotherapy door on my own with no one helping an attendant pushing a wheel chair – not the nurses walking by nor the people sitting inside!?  Hey, how about spitting beetle nut on the side of the stairs? OR, the worst, urinating on the side of the road?

Do we really need to be taught common courtesies – isn’t it ingrained in humans since we are born?  NO.  Thinking back, I realize, what I take as common sense now wasn’t perceived so then.  I mean, why should I litter my own city?  Why should I break the signal?  Why spit on the stairs?

So, the solution is going back to basics- EDUCATION & UPBRINGING … schools & family!

Not only do our schools need to teach common sense to children, starting from NURSERY; but these values need to be reinforced by the family too.  If one is taught as a child that – – – he/she should not defile the environment; should open doors for elders; should assist a wheelchair person; should not interrupt conversations (I’m good at doing this!) – – – that will stick to them like glue for the rest of their life!

So, the new generation needs to be taught (and reinforced) COMMON SENSE in their daily dealings in life and with humans, animals & our environment.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to welcome back common sense then.

(Thanks to my wife for editing this post first)