By: Neelab Hakim
Environment, health, safety and vulnerability are related issues to human activities on earth. In a glance to history, dependence on the surroundings made human beings think of their relationship to nature and the use of its resources.
Developing countries are strongly affected by the consequences of climate change. So what can they do to protect themselves? How to act if those responsible for environmental pollution and climate change do not.
On May, 30th, HBS had Arvid Bell as a guest who specializes in democratization policy. Mr. Bell who has been active for ecological affairs is a consultant for the German Green Party spoke about the effects of climate change on developing countries. In a discussion over lunch, representatives of different Afghan civil society groups shared their insights on ecological issues in Afghanistan.
This gathering was participated by Mr. Daud Seyawash coordinator of Foundation of Culture and Civil Society (FCCS), Ms. Nazanin Shefahi ecology journalist for The Daily 8 am and Sayed Ikram Afzali head of Youth in Action Association (YIAA).
Mr. Seyawash explained: “This year a gathering “Green Kabul” was arranged by FCCS with participation of civil society organization, governmental authorities, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, Kabul municipality, scholars and professors of science and agriculture universities. The gathering focused on how to protect our environment and how proceed this issue with the government jointly? A 20 article resolution was the result of this gathering which will be presented to government for consideration.”
Mr. Ikram Afzali head of YIAA said that Advocacy for Promoting environmental protection and regeneration practices through youth participation and awareness raising is one of YIAA main working objectives. Certain programs like trainings, workshops, volunteer city cleaning campaigns are conducted by YIAA.
Publishing ecology related articles is the first step to reach people and raise their awareness. Ms. Nazanin Shefahi ecology journalist for The Daily 8 am spoke of joint project of HBS and The Daily 8 am. “The project is a good start, people will be informed about their surroundings and environment related issues.” Ms. Shefahi said.
Based on studies done, the environment around us is always in change and is not stable. These changes are both natural and related to humans’ activities and to climate change. Environmental changes affect our lives whether it is naturally caused or by human activity and production.
Global warming is a phenomenon which is related to air and water type on earth. Global warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe with different consequences for instance the rising of the earth’s temperature causes ice melting which will affect the countries near the shore or cause earthquakes, and damage to agricultural yields and will put the ecosystem at risk. Studies show the increase in the average temperature on earth (air and oceans) since the mid 20th century which are cause by increasing concentration of green house gases resulted from human activity : such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation.
Justice problem will be another consequence of the climate change on human’s life. The problem primarily cause by industrialized countries (pollution, greenhouse gases) which will cause devastating consequence for poor countries like heat waves, floods, storms, fires, droughts and lack of water resource and other types of water crises. This will affect:
• The arctic, because of high rates of projected warming
• Africa, especially in the sub- Saharan region. This is due the continent’s low capacity to adapt to climate change and projected impacts.
• Small islands, due to high exposure of population and infrastructure at risk to sea-level rise and increased storm surge.
• Asian mega deltas, due to large populations and high exposure to sea-level rise, storm surge and river flooding.
• Within other areas, some people are particularly at risk, such as the poor, young children and elderly.
The question is: what can be done to avoid the destructive consequences. This refers us to deal with two major challenges: (1) avoiding the mistakes of industrialized countries (2) adaptations to the environmental problems arising because of the climate change.
Restraining measures can be taken in consideration from such concrete projects in four categories:
• Renewable energies: Using wind, solar and water power or geothermal energy or biogas as sources of energy.
• Energy efficiency:
- Political measures: No cheap energy to politically favored groups,
- Economic measures: Construct buildings that do not consume so much energy.
• Saving energy: individual behavior, education for kids, usage of public transport than using more cars.
• Technological measures/ Agriculture: Terracing fields for former, saving water after rainy days, renew irrigation system for formers, save forest and plant new tress, stop illegal forest clearance and usage of garbage in production of energy.
Industrialized countries will have to pay, but people in under developed countries also have to act.
Mr. Bell concluded his remarks encouraging citizens to act: “Things have never gotten better because people just complained. Yes, the world is bad but it can be changed if we work for it.”