According to the United Nations (UN), climate change poses a threat to virtually every aspect of life on Earth, from human health and livelihoods to ecosystems and infrastructure. The fact that there has been a substantial increase in severe heatwaves, droughts and wildfires over the past few years is a testament to the urgency of the climate crisis we are amidst.

International forums have started to stress on the desperate need for global action to address the impact of climate change and promote sustainable practices. Mawlana Hazar Imam has also been a vocal advocate for environmental sustainability, stating, “The consequences of climate change, if unchecked, will be catastrophic for all humanity and for the natural world we rely on.”

In accordance with international guidelines and the Imam’s emphasis on climate action, Councils across Lower Chitral orchestrated multiple tree plantation activities under the Ismaili CIVIC initiative. During the course of this activity, a total of 40,000 tree saplings were dispensed across various Jamatkhana vicinities. These plants featured non-fruit species like the Safaida, Chikaar and Kikar plants as well as fruit species like apple and pear trees. In some areas, the tree plantation efforts were concentrated in regions designated as red alert areas, particularly those prone to natural disasters. Cleanliness drives were also organised in some areas as an adjunct to the plantation activities.

Throughout the campaign, Jamati leaders emphasised the significance of tree plantation in the fight against climate change. Through awareness talks, Jamati leaders explained to the volunteers the critical role trees play in reducing the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, enhancing biodiversity, preserving natural resources and thus, promoting sustainable development, cultivate fertile land and secure localities of the Jamat. During the talks, one of the Jamati leaders from Shoghore recounted how the 2005 floods had ravaged the region, particularly Awi and Shoghore.

The President of Garam Chashma Council remarked, “We must all take responsibility for preserving our environment for future generations and planting trees is an important way to do this.”

Emphasizing the significance of planting  trees to protect the environment from the negative impacts of climate change Ismaili CIVIC launched the Spring Plantation campaign in Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan. Around 500 volunteers in Shimshal, Gulmit, and Khyber participated and planted more than 200,000 trees, with 150,000 plants donated by the forest department. The plantation drives were held in support of the government, community members and sister communities.

Continuing its efforts to address the environmental degradation, the community aims to continue the plantation drive until June 2023. Since its inception, approximately two million trees have been planted under the Ismaili CIVIC banner across Pakistan. The Spring Planting Campaign 2023 by Ismaili CIVIC Pakistan is the desired response to the effects of climate change. It contributes significantly to protecting and preserving the environment in the region.

Climate change has the potential to exacerbate global inequities. Initiatives like this plantation activity build resilience to the inevitable impacts of climate change by not only promoting adaptation but also introducing a comprehensive approach to addressing a critical issue like climate change. Such advocacy inspires countless individuals and organisations to take action to promote a sustainable future for all.