What's with the Climate?

Voices of a Subcontinent grappling with Climate Change


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Dispatch from Pakistan: Women most affected by climate change

By Sonia Malik

File Photo from Reuters

For woman in rural areas, the consequences of climate change have been a sharp increase in their daily workload and a host of health and social issues, according to a study conducted in Shaheed Benazirabad, formerly Nawabshah, district in Sindh.

Climate Change and Women: A Study, conducted by Shirkat Gah, assesses the impact of changing weather in four flood-affected villages, particularly on women. According to the study, yet to be published,the heavy floods of 2010 and 2011 affected women more than men as it had resulted in an increase in their workload.

A report cited in the study estimated that the floods affected 51 per cent of the women in the district and 40 per cent of the men. About 3.6 million women in Sindh were affected by the floods in 2010 and 2011, of whom 133,000 were pregnant at the time.

Since the floods, women in these villages have been travelling to other villages to find work such as cotton harvesting, while continuing with their household chores and home-based work like embroidery to make extra money.

The floods wiped away most crops, meaning families needed money to buy vegetables and grains previously available in the fields. The loss of a substantial portion of agricultural land meant more labour was required, so women were spending more time in the fields alongside men than before, in addition to their usual tasks.

Many women complained that the rise in heat intensity over the summer and loss of livestock in the floods meant they had to rise earlier to ground and knead flour, cook, fetch water from wells, buy firewood from markets, clean the house, and then also help in the field. Rising temperatures, coupled with poor diet, made it especially hard for women to work in the fields as well as do house chores. Continue reading


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Visions for the Future

Vision of young people is simple – we want to enjoy a stable climate that our parents grandparents have enjoyed, one without hundreds and thousands of refugees, resource scarcity, and natural disasters.

 

The IPCC has stated that to give us a 50% chance of preventing two degrees warming we will require global emissions to be stabilized at 450ppm. Now, even venture capitalists would agree that 50% chance of return isn’t a worthwhile investment. Imagine the loss of this investment resulting in the destruction of our planet. My vision for the long term is that India makes to the 350ppm target, which gives us a strong chance at preventing runaway climate change. Clean technology will need a very strong presence to make this vision reality.

  

My vision of the next 12 months, which will progress beyond that, is somewhat Gandhi-an.

 

The Indian attitude to climate change is changing and it is going to heavily impact the cleantech market. What we’re seeing now, with the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) as a great example is that people have an increasing awareness of climate change in both the urban and rural communities of India. Climate change more than anything is an issue of humanity. When it comes to times of crisis humans often band together. India’s fight for independence is an epic example. Climate change is bringing the global community, and will bring India together. It was not luck that allowed IYCN to expand from 3 to over 300 individual members, harbour more than 10 member groups and have the reach to over 205,000 young Indians nation wide. It is not luck that has allowed IYCN to achieve the support of globally rooted organisations such as Infosys, Greenpeace, Reva, WWF and media houses such as NDTV, times of India, the Hindustan times and the Hindu within 4 months of its inception.

  

Every Indian I’ve met has hope that India will become a developed nation, will not have millions of people die each year from malnutrition disease, and natural catastrophes. We’re working so hard to build our economy, aiming for superpower status, and becoming a leader in the world in many areas, it seems somewhat ludicrous if India doesn’t take far stronger action on climate change, because if it doesn’t, the malnutrition, disease and natural catastrophes are only going to get worse. Hence I feel, like in our fight for independence, the youth & people of India will unite and take action for solutions.

 

I have 4 big visions. Firstly, an increase in consumer demand for retail & bulk energy from cleantech, Secondly, innovative cleantech transport solutions, thirdly, strong growth in rural clean tech projects, and finally, clean tech being the next IT.

 

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