Tackling climate change 

Ministry of Climate Change can introduce incentives to schools in collaboration with forest offices

Letter April 01, 2019

IRELAND: As the holy month of Ramazan is approaching in just over a month’s time, a campaign could be launched in schools across the country for students to start kitchen gardens.

Residues from vegetables that are used for the daily preparation of iftar — such as potatoes, chilli peppers, tomatoes and herbs — can be easily used to make a kitchen garden without taking up much space.

Schools can also carry out special programmes to collect pits from dates, mangoes, lemons and tamarind, and create a space to grow fruit-bearing trees while educating students on the process of germination.

The Ministry of Climate Change can introduce incentives to the schools in towns and cities across the country in collaboration with regional forest offices. The schools producing the highest number of trees can be given the title of “Green Champions” of the city or town. The schools can then bear the responsibility of caring for the trees. While students across the world are calling for strikes to protest for climate change, our children can engage in hands-on work.

Even if we just plant the pits of the dates consumed in Ramazan, it would bring us closer to our ten billion tree goal. Houses, schools and buildings that have the space should be encouraged to grow plants on rooftops and terraces so the greenery can help reduce the urban heat and the emissions and cost of air conditioning.

This initiative will also encourage schoolchildren to grow food items at home and make them environmentally conscious. If done with other steps such as reducing plastic and pollution, it can bring us a step closer to our afforestation goal and help fight climate change and heatwaves.

I hope this proposal though a leading daily newspaper is able to draw attention and paves the way for a greener Pakistan.

Dr Muneeb Shahid

Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2019.

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