Chitral Association for Mountain Area Tourism Promotes Climate Actions

Chitral Association for Mountain Area Tourism Promotes Climate Actions

CAMAT Climate Day

By Shams Uddin, Chitral Association for Mountain Area Tourism (CAMAT)


Chitral Association for Mountain Area Tourism (CAMAT), in partnership with Destination Management Organization (DMO) of Chitral, celebrated the International Day of Climate Change Action (October 10, 2010 - 10/10/10), which was initiated by, was celebrated in Booni, Chitral (Northern Pakistan), through the facilitation of and The theme of the day was "Breaking of Booni Glacier, Its Relation to Climate Change."


As many as 500 people from different walks of life participated in this event. The day has had significance for the people of Booni as they have recently witnessed a flood destroying their valuable property and causing them major health problems, psychological trauma and infrastructure disruption.


The objective of the October 10th even was to join the worldwide community of supporters and activists in highlighting problems related to climate change - breaking of glacier, untimely melting of snow, frequent floods and unpredictable climate conditions - in the Hindu Kush Mountain regions. Mr. Sadruddin, the principal of Orion School of Learning (OSL) called for greater efforts to save the Booni village by protecting its natural environment, encouraging families to offer environmental education at home so that their children, once they are admitted to schools, will have more interest in relevant subjects.


Mr. Sadruddin also said that public and private school curriculum should incorporate subjects related to ecological conservation and natural biodiversity, as well as emphasizing that better teacher training is critical for sound development of environmental education in the region. "The natural beauty of Chitral," said Mr Shams Uddin of CAMAT and DMO Chitral, "is an asset that this destination has, which we can market to attract visitors. However, climate change is going to erode the base natural resources and environment - a valuable tourism product."


Mr. Amir Akber Khan, an environmental advocate and social worker, said that "we should not lose any more time waiting for another catastrophe to happen." We have to stand united to tackle the future floods through proper canalization of the stream bed; effectively coordinated fund raising campaigns in Booni to help save the village from further destruction; restricting grazing on the Booni Gol rangeland; and helping local people to increase their own capacity to support their livelihoods. Mr. Khan noted that the breaking of the Booni glacier, was an eye-opener for the local communities, and that it should be an opportunity to raise awareness of these issues and challenges.


A group of local students arranged a theatre performance centering on the Booni flood and its aftermath. The play they enacted depicted social, political and cultural complexities in times of crisis and highlighted the helpfulness of modern technology. For instance, mobile phone was used as an instrument of Early Warning System (EWS) by volunteers high up in the Booni stream. Similarly, the play depicted individuals who remained oblivious to natural hazards as they basically lacked basic knowledge to assess the enormity of a natural disaster.


The students also presented songs of nature and the serene beauty of the Chitral valley, its lakes, snow-capped peaks, forest, alpine meadows, flowers, medicinal herbs, fruits and crops, all of which are sustained by a fine balance of the natural environment. The singers mourned the missing of the valuable bird species from the ecological chain that most of the participants grew up with when they were young people.



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