Posted on 22 April 2020
Karachi, 22 April
: ‘The past few weeks have been challenging for millions of individuals across the world. We believe that connecting with nature is not only essential for the survival of humans but also sustains other life on Earth. To achieve this goal, everyone needs to conserve Earth’s resources and respect wildlife and their habitats.’ This was stated by speakers during a webinar organized by WWF-Pakistan under its Climate Sheros campaign, supported by Oxfam GB in Pakistan. The online event was attended by more than 50 students from Habib University and officials from civil society organizations in Pakistan. On this occasion, speakers from WWF-Pakistan highlighted the threats faced by the planet and suggested ways to address them. They also shed light on climate action and the role of youth in making significant contribution towards raising awareness on nature conservation and protection of the planet’s resources.
Speaking during the webinar, Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF-Pakistan said that it is a difficult time and our thoughts are with families who have lost loved ones or who are sick. ‘We also feel it is our duty, more than ever, to unite and look after our planet, the one home we all share, for a better and healthier future.’ He was of the view that the global health emergency is an alarming signal that urgently requires us to transform our relationship with nature and the ecosystems we live in. He also said that all natural resources, ecosystems and diverse wildlife have an important role in maintaining the balance of nature so they should be protected on priority basis. ‘The COVID-19 pandemic is a wakeup call, we all need to change our attitude towards Earth, act responsibly and manage natural resources wisely’, he added.
Commenting about the Earth Day 2020, Uzma Aftab, Interim Country Director of Oxfam in Pakistan, highlighted the significant role that Climate Sheros, food producers, play in the coastal areas of Sindh, especially women farmers in mangrove reforestation. Their lives, livelihoods, food, water and residential security were already at risk because of climate change, and are now under constant threat of contracting the life-threatening Covid-19 infection. They do not have the safety equipment, health care or support to protect themselves. ‘Their safety should also be a priority, because they too are at the frontlines, risking their lives to produce food for us’, she said.
Dr. Babar Khan, Regional Head Sindh and Balochistan, WWF-Pakistan shed light on the key threats Earth is facing for the last many decades. He was of the view that disposal of untreated solid waste in water bodies, illegal wildlife trade, habitat loss, deforestation and climate change are degrading our environment. He called for the youth’s active role in conservation of natural resources and asked them to come up with innovative solutions to resolve these challenges. He also added that these are exceptionally challenging times but together we can emerge stronger and tackle global challenges better, including this pandemic. ‘We should stand united and put our efforts together to revive the lost glory of our mother earth’, he added.
On this Earth Day, WWF started a campaign titled #BillionShadesOfGreen that encourages people all over the world to share their most colourful photos of nature from past outdoor adventures or from inside their homes. This initiative aims to brighten each other’s days with a little more colour and positivity in the times of the pandemic.
To make this event more interactive and engaging, a question and answer session was also organized in which students shared their views and asked questions from the experts about significance of wildlife, COVID-19 pandemic and threats to the planet.