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Monday, December 5, 2022

We can learn from Pakistan’s prolonged monsoon season and California’s extreme heat waves

How is climate change related to the weather anomalies in recent years, and what can we do to help?

 

By JENA TUFAIL — jjtufail@ucdavis.edu

 

Pakistan has a yearly monsoon season that typically lasts from April through September. Despite it being late in the normal season, the country is currently facing one of the worst floods in history this year, with devastating effects on the nation. 

Pakistan is the fifth-most-populous country in the world, with over 230 million people. However, I haven’t heard much through U.S. media outlets about this storm and its effect on Pakistanis. So what, exactly, is taking place? 

As someone who is of Pakistani descent, I myself did not understand the extent of the monsoon season this year. Having heard my parents talk about the yearly monsoons, I nearly brushed off this year’s occurrence as the norm.

Growing up in Northern California, I have been fortunate enough to never witness devastating floods caused by climate change. California, however, has been impacted in other ways such as prolonged heat waves in recent years. 

The difference is that while the U.S. is responsible for 11% of the world’s carbon emissions (the second largest contributor in the world), Pakistan emits less than 1% of that annually and is still experiencing extreme consequences of climate change. 

The provinces of Sindh and Balochistan are primarily being affected by the flooding. A total of one-third of the country is underwater, with over 33 million people displaced and more than 1,200 killed. The devastating effects of the flood have been estimated to be over $10 billion in damages, which could take the country decades to recover. Towns, crops and livestock have become fully submerged in water, including the country’s agriculture belt, prompting food shortages across the country.

I believe it is time for us to actively take part in helping the climate crisis in any way we can, no matter how big or small. You must be thinking, “How can I make a difference or change that may potentially help individuals on the other side of the globe?” For starters, taking small steps to help reduce your carbon footprint is a great way to help mitigate the effects of climate change. 

Greenhouse gases are emitted when goods are produced or consumed. Our “carbon footprint” is a quantifiable measure of the emissions of these gases that we cause through our consumption and daily activities. In order to lower your carbon footprint, there are several things you can do: 

  1. Shop seasonally — buying fruits and vegetables in season can not only save you money, but it can also help reduce your carbon footprint as these goods can be produced in your region.
  2. Take shorter showers.
  3. Buy only what you need (limit your waste).
  4. Use public transportation, ride a bicycle or walk as much as you can. 
  5. Unplug electronic devices when not using them.
  6. Avoid fast fashion, donate clothing you no longer wear and consider thrifting instead of buying new clothing.
  7. Delete junk emails, and clear out unnecessary data from the Cloud.

 

Another way to help mitigate the effects of climate change is to get involved in local climate related initiatives. UC Davis has its very own initiative called Fossil Fuel Free Davis, which is run by UC Davis staff, faculty, alumni and students. They are committed to ending fossil fuel use on the Davis campus by 2030 and have more information and ways to get involved on their website.

If you are also looking to aid those who have been affected by the floods in Pakistan, an organization whose donations go directly to those affected is the Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan

 

Written by: Jena Tufail — jjtufail@ucdavis.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.

 

Slug: 220922_climate_op

Edits: OR AT KD SD JL

Notes:

 

Title: Column

Headline: We can learn from Pakistan’s prolonged monsoon season and California’s extreme heat waves

Layercake: How is climate change related to the weather anomalies in recent years, and what can we do to help?

 

By JENA TUFAIL — jjtufail@ucdavis.edu

 

Pakistan has a yearly monsoon season that typically lasts from April through September. Despite it being late in the normal season, the country is currently facing one of the worst floods in history this year, with devastating effects on the nation. 

Pakistan is the fifth-most-populous country in the world, with over 230 million people. However, I haven’t heard much through U.S. media outlets about this storm and its effect on Pakistanis. So what, exactly, is taking place? 

As someone who is of Pakistani descent, I myself did not understand the extent of the monsoon season this year. Having heard my parents talk about the yearly monsoons, I nearly brushed off this year’s occurrence as the norm.

Growing up in Northern California, I have been fortunate enough to never witness devastating floods caused by climate change. California, however, has been impacted in other ways such as prolonged heat waves in recent years. 

The difference is that while the U.S. is responsible for 11% of the world’s carbon emissions (the second largest contributor in the world), Pakistan emits less than 1% of that annually and is still experiencing extreme consequences of climate change. 

The provinces of Sindh and Balochistan are primarily being affected by the flooding. A total of one-third of the country is underwater, with over 33 million people displaced and more than 1,200 killed. The devastating effects of the flood have been estimated to be over $10 billion in damages, which could take the country decades to recover. Towns, crops and livestock have become fully submerged in water, including the country’s agriculture belt, prompting food shortages across the country.

I believe it is time for us to actively take part in helping the climate crisis in any way we can, no matter how big or small. You must be thinking, “How can I make a difference or change that may potentially help individuals on the other side of the globe?” For starters, taking small steps to help reduce your carbon footprint is a great way to help mitigate the effects of climate change. 

Greenhouse gases are emitted when goods are produced or consumed. Our “carbon footprint” is a quantifiable measure of the emissions of these gases that we cause through our consumption and daily activities. In order to lower your carbon footprint, there are several things you can do: 

  1. Shop seasonally — buying fruits and vegetables in season can not only save you money, but it can also help reduce your carbon footprint as these goods can be produced in your region.
  2. Take shorter showers.
  3. Buy only what you need (limit your waste).
  4. Use public transportation, ride a bicycle or walk as much as you can. 
  5. Unplug electronic devices when not using them.
  6. Avoid fast fashion, donate clothing you no longer wear and consider thrifting instead of buying new clothing.
  7. Delete junk emails, and clear out unnecessary data from the Cloud.

 

Another way to help mitigate the effects of climate change is to get involved in local climate related initiatives. UC Davis has its very own initiative called Fossil Fuel Free Davis, which is run by UC Davis staff, faculty, alumni and students. They are committed to ending fossil fuel use on the Davis campus by 2030 and have more information and ways to get involved on their website.

If you are also looking to aid those who have been affected by the floods in Pakistan, an organization whose donations go directly to those affected is the Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan

 

Written by: Jena Tufail — jjtufail@ucdavis.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.