Balochistan’s Youth, a community-based volunteer group, planted trees in different areas of the province for the protection of the climate. Balochistan has been severely hit with the challenges posed by climate change and this was an effort to spread awareness among the masses.
According to the organization’s spokesperson, the campaign started from mid-February till the 30th of March 2020 and consisted of two phases. In the first phase, a group of volunteers recorded awareness messages on social media platforms such as Facebook with the hashtag “#GreenBalochistan #Tree #Plantation #Campaign_2020” and also distributed pamphlets on the public places such as shopping malls, religious places like masjids, and churches, etc.
In the second phase of the campaign, volunteers planted trees in different locations (schools, graveyards and street locality) of the province.
The organization’s founder stated that “We had started this campaign in 2018 and since then, we have been planting trees every year. Till now, we have planted more than 2,000 trees in different areas of the province. The main objectives and goals of this campaign were very clear; our main focus is educating people to at least plant one tree in their locality because, in this whole campaign, we urged on written and oral messages about the importance of planting trees and the recent challenges of climate change in the world. Specifically, in Balochistan which is facing severe climate changes which resulted in polluted air and shortage of water in the province”.
While talking to community and media persons, he added that it was an initiative led and supported by community volunteers, to aware public about the emerging issue of global warming especially in Balochistan, which is the poorest & largest province of Pakistan and is facing the severe climate change challenges these days in the forms of drought, flood, deforestation, water shortage, and degradation of agriculture, and livestock problems. These environmental challenges and problems have badly affected the province in various ways.
First, the reduced rainfall in winter & moon soon season brought a drought situation in most of the districts of Balochistan. Second, the environmental changes also made the socio-economic situation worst. The province’s major economy is agriculture and livestock which was disrupted by floods & long spells of drought in the province. In the same way, such a hazardous situation also created more issues for people like poverty, scarcity of water health, food insecurity, and malnutrition, etc.
In context of democracy and human rights, climate change is a real challenge in the way of socio-economic development of a nation. In this regard, according to Global Climate Risk Index report 2018, Pakistan was ranked on 8th by most affected by climate change in last two decades. Especially Balochistan was affected the most by these changes and it disrupted the social and economic life of people. While achieving the target of SDG 13 (safety of healthy environment & protection) of the UN, the government of Balochistan needs a policy intervention at the provincial level.
In the final remarks, the volunteer leader said that it is the responsibility of every citizen to take part in community work and serve humanity. He hoped that next year, it will involve more community people and plant more trees in order to save our environment.
Shams Ullah Durrani is a media scholar and environmentalist. He has five years of working experience in the development sector. He has worked on several projects such as inter-faith harmony, peace is possible, and Green Balochistan Tree Campaign. He is currently working with the Balochistan Rural Support Program (BRSP). His area of interest is Media Research, Climate Change, and Peace & Conflict Journalism.