When we harm nature, we harm ourselves. I believe that human activity heavily contributes to climate change. Climate scientists have proven that the burning of fossil fuels, factory farming and the destruction of forests are the main causes of climate change. UN warned recently, “The future is happening now,” and called for more urgent measures to be taken to cut global carbon emissions.
Recently, Dr James Hansen, a former NASA scientist and longtime whistleblower about the impending dangers of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), published a paper with several colleagues showing that ACD will push sea level rise into exponential levels by the end of this century. Their paper shows how melting is actually compounding itself, generating dramatically fast increases in both melting and sea level rise. Sea level rise is happening faster than it has for at least the last 27 centuries. In the Arctic, sea ice has reached a new wintertime low record and its effect on different species is significant. A recent study in the International Journal of Primatology found that every primate species on the planet will be negatively impacted by both increasing temperatures and the varying rainfall levels associated with ACD. Greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane are believed to lead to global warming. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), used in refrigeration, destroy the ozone layer that shields the earth from UV rays.
Last year’s global temperatures crushed the century’s record by the greatest margin in various parts of the world including Pakistan. States, scientists, environmental specialists and faith leaders all are concerned about this global issue. President Obama urged young leaders in Vietnam to focus on the threat of climate change during his trip last week. On the other hand, Ministry of Climate Change has announced to launch a large scale awareness campaign to make public aware of the climate change and their effects on the environment in Pakistan. The government is already working actively to raise awareness regarding this critical issue. Energy and solar systems are a part of it. Moreover, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s provincial government started programme to protect forests which is also appreciable.
Any change to the planet affects all those who live on it. Global warming doesn’t mean that only a part of the planet gets warmer. It means that the globe, taken as a whole, is warming up. Ocean waters around the globe continue to get warmer along with the atmosphere. But it was shocking news for the world in May 2016, that Australia Great Barrier Reef was in the midst of its worst catastrophe in recorded history and the Australian government was in denial or rather trying to hide the truth from the world. The 1400-mile-long reef is the single largest living ecosystem on the planet, and is now in danger of being lost. Government was trying to censor reports highlighting the risks it poses to tourism.
Environment Department expressed concerns that it could cause confusion and negatively affect tourism. Indeed, it shows that Australian Government is more concerned to tourism than Reef. This is the priority given by Australia which makes all the difference. In fact, Australia is not to be blame for this demise of reef system but UN climate change report shows Australia is not serious to handle this global issue. The Paris Summit on global warming is a start but the seriousness of global warming has to be realised. In April 2016, leaders of 150-plus nations gathered in New York to ratify the global climate pact agreed in Paris in late 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5-2 degrees, compared with pre-industrial times. Until now, the common goal has been to keep warming to less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels. But the scientific models show 1.5 degree is almost impossible.
Different areas around the world may experience certain changes in their climates with quite different impacts on their plants, animals and people and this is threatening. Apparently, mild changes which are ignorable can have big impact later on. As heat waves, droughts, earthquakes and floods in Pakistan contribute much for low economy, human health, agriculture and food supplies, water supplies and energy resources all are affected due to natural disasters. Unluckily, Pakistan is the most affected state to climate change due to its lack of resources and financial capacity. Pakistan’s water resources which are based on snow, glacier-melt and monsoon rains are under threat due to serious implications of climate change. Moreover, another human activity by our neighbor India adds fire to fuel to release more water into Pakistani rivers when floods continued to play havoc in different areas affecting millions of people. The need is to bear responsibility equally and efficiently though developing and underdeveloped countries don’t have power and resources as compared to the developed states to bring collective change globally. Asia or Australia, Canada or Greenland, Washington or Karachi all are in high risk due to climate change. Islamic Relief Worldwide contributed their struggle by presenting the Islamic Climate Change Declaration to the President of the United Nations General Assembly in April 2016 and established the official launch of the Global Muslim Climate Network. Problem sustains even after Paris Summit as need is to implement the policies and steps to be taken with a positive change in behaviors.
Nuclear technology and weapons, pesticides, large landfills and waste from food processing industries deplete our soil of its nutrients and make it lifeless. Pollution, a product of economic progress, also affects the environment negatively. Global warming may not be a direct result of man’s abuse of nature but man’s self-centered desires for power, modernism and greed are surely responsible for this threat.
I place the life on this planet in two categories: One is natural and the other is modern. First leads to simplicity, divinity and existence while the second to destruction and chaos. In fact, nature teaches human beings about God or I can say that nature speaks of God. The earth itself is a divine world. When we observe nature deeply, we realize that every day is earth day. Mystic poets of nature verily describe the true essence of being afraid of nature and taking it as a mother. The sacred reality of nature is affirmed throughout the Qur’an. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an author of scholarly books, an Islamic philosopher and professor at George Washington University, suggested the environmental crisis as “both a proof of God’s transcendence and a proof of the interconnectedness of all beings.”According to Nasr, faith has much greater power to reach Muslims than politics. “If a priest says, ‘Don’t cut a tree, because it’s a sin,’ it will have much more effect.”Faith leaders can drive action on climate change but there is dire need to communicate the issue at a vast level. Religious leaders might urge people to have a natural and moderate life. This change seems an indication or wake up call for all us. As in the Qur’an the overflowing of the seas and numerous earthquakes (natural disasters) are the signs of the Last Day. Indeed, we are progressing towards the End of Time.