Pakistan youth group speaks out
Protecting the planet for future generations requires self-sacrifices for the good of others. Our obligations to the human family stretch across generations. We are borrowing the earth’s natural resources from our children.
A colorfully-decorated tractor hauls wood through the town of Mirpur Khas in southern Sindh Province of Pakistan. In this semi-arid climate where orchards and fields are dependent on the local agricultural canal system, being close to the large Indus River means that the Mirpur Khas region gets more water than regions further away from it.
These are lessons being spread by 14 youths who have come together to form the Asia Pacific Youth Network on Climate Change (AYCC-Pakistan), a group dedicated to protecting the environment for future generations. Two weeks after the signing of the Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change on the 1st of October 2009, these energetic volunteers came together to raise awareness of the global effects of climate change.
With co-operation and recommendations from Caritas Pakistan and implemented successfully by the youth wing of AWARD (Association of Women's Awareness and Rural development), AYCC-Pakistan is determined to raise awareness on all levels of society. Their basic approach is to call upon social change in an effort to encourage people to live more simply.
The network’s awareness raising campaign focuses first on local youth. AYCC-Pakistan organized a training workshop for over 86 young people at the college and university-level to answer questions about global warming, its causes and effects. The workshop, which offered practical solutions to reducing each individual’s eco-footprint, was so successful that the AYCC membership quickly grew from 14 to 25 members.
With new members on board, AYCC-Pakistan developed a plantation initiative. More then 200 plants were planted on the Church premises as the first steps in an on-going plantation scheme, thanks to donations from friends and family members.
Next, on 11 February 2010, the AYCC took their awareness raising to the community level by organizing an Awareness Concert on Climate Change in the premises of Holy Rosary Catholic Church Warispura at Father Taya hall.
A theatre performance followed this musical show performed by a renowned band of Faisalabad “The Punjabians”, on the issue of Climate Change. In total, 20,000 Pak Rupees (235.29 USD) was raised at this concert and will be put towards future AYCC activities.
Witnessing the success of their first three initiatives, AYCC-Pakistan’s plans for the future include arranging additional concerts and theatres in schools and colleges to raise awareness and understanding in local communities on climate change. They also plan to celebrate tree-festival in spring and launch their Cloth Bags Campaign.
The youth in AYCC-Pakistan are not waiting for the future to be handed to them, they are actively involved in protecting God’s creation and encouraging others to do the same. Their message is a simple but critical one: ultimately we each need to take responsibility for our actions if we are to tackle the daunting challenges posed by climate change.
Information for this article was provided by Ms. Kehkshan Newton, Country Coordinator, AYCC-Pakistan and Fr. Bonnie Mendes, Caritas Asia.
RESOURCESAnnual reportHow Caritas works: Climate Change Guide on Environmental JusticeClimate change on Caritas BlogClimate justice newsletter vol. 6