Pakistan Opinion Blog

Global Warming and Poor Countries

Entries may be a little edited for clarity or brevity. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of PakPositive.

By Mahreen Adil Naqvi

Global warming has become the most talked-about environmental issue today. Governments, corporations, and individuals around the world are debating the reality of global warming, and working on solutions. Global warming is not only a threat to our future health, it already contributes to more than 150,000 deaths and 5 million illnesses annually, according to a team of health and climate scientists at the World Health Organization and the University of Wisconsin at Madison – and those numbers could double by 2030.

Global warming is particularly hard on people in poor countries, which is ironic, because the places that have contributed the least to global warming are most vulnerable to the death and disease higher temperatures can bring. Scientists believe that greenhouse gases will increase the global average temperature by approximately 6 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. Extreme floods, droughts and heat waves, such as Europe’s 2003 heat wave, are likely to strike with increasing frequency.

Other factors such as irrigation and deforestation can also affect local temperatures and humidity. Scholars are predicting that 50 million people worldwide will be displaced by 2010 because of rising sea levels, desertification, dried up aquifers, weather-induced flooding and other serious environmental changes. There are certain things that we could do.

Reducing global warming may seem like a daunting task, but if each of us makes a commitment to taking steps now, we can make a difference! Do your part to reduce waste by choosing reusable products instead of disposables. Buying products with minimal packaging (including the economy size when that makes sense for you) will help to reduce waste. And whenever you can, recycle paper, plastic, newspaper, glass and aluminum cans. If there isn’t a recycling program at your workplace, school, or in your community, ask about starting one.

A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime. So, plantation should be taken up. Share information about recycling and energy conservation with your friends, neighbours and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment. Save earth because we don’t have any other planet to turn up to!