HYDERABAD: It may be common knowledge that climate change is taking place with severe consequences but there is surprisingly little mention of it in our textbooks.
Sindh Education Minister Nisar Khuhro admitted to this flaw in the curriculum as he spoke at the launch of ‘Youth for Climate Change’ initiative on Friday. The event was organised by the non-governmental organisation Centre for Social Change (CSC), in collaboration with Oxfam. A group of 10 students, who will lead the initiative, took an oath on the occasion and promised to spread awareness of environmental issues.
“We will include the topic of environmental pollution and resultant changes in the teaching syllabus to tell the children about the holistic spectrum of the problem,” said Khuhro. The Sindh government’s education syllabus will now feature topics on health and climate, he added.
The minister disapproved of the practice of making world records by planting thousands of saplings in a certain area. “Instead of planting 150,000 trees to make global records, plantation drives should be carried out not only in big cities but in every village in the province by the residents,” he said. “There is a tradition in some parts of Pakistan in which a tree is planted when a girl child is born,” Khuhro pointed out. “That tree is cut down to pay for her marriage expenses when the child grows up.”
Pakistan Muslim League-Functional MPA Mahtab Rashdi said every person, either willingly or unwillingly, is contributing to environmental degradation. People who are struggling for mitigation measures are very few in number, she said. “We have yet to make the people aware of the importance of water and its sparing use.” Rashdi pointed out that the rich forest lands along River Indus and its delta in Sindh were destroyed on the pretext that they became sanctuaries of robbers and kidnappers. She regretted that model environment clubs were established by the previous government in around 1,000 schools as an initial step towards awareness but they have become defunct due to neglect.
Sindh Agriculture University’s vice-chancellor Dr Mujeebuddin Sahrai urged the people to realise their responsibilities towards the environment. Zulfiqar Halepoto of CSC felt the Sindh government has yet to display any serious concern over environmental issues. “Mainstream political parties haven’t even made climate part of their manifesto,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2015.