KABUL (SW) – Even though Afghanistan is not an industrialized country yet, but factors including rampant use of coal and wood in industries and at homes are the main reasons fueling the climate change and emitting greenhouse gases here.
According to the estimates by the World Bank, between the years of 1990 and 2010, the emission of carbon di-oxide gas raised from 0.2 metric tons to 0.3 metric tons from Afghanistan. These concerns took me to meet Dr. Karim-Aly S. Kassam, Professor of Environmental and Indigenous Studies in the Department of Natural Resources and the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Dr. Kassam holds degrees from Cornell University (Ph.D.), the London School of Economics (M.Sc.), University of Cambridge (M. Phil.) and the University of Calgary (B.A.).
Since 2006, he is working on the Pamir Mountains in Afghanistan to study the climate changes here. He warned Afghanistan will not be able to stop the climate change, and it will continue for hundreds of years to come. The point is how the people prepare for it. He added the change in seasons, warmer summer and fall, landslide, water shortage, and mixing of spring and winter, are the impacts of climate change.
Even though the climate change is getting worse, but when I asked if he is optimistic about Afghanistan’s environment in next few years, his answer was positive. He believed that Afghan people have the knowledge of their nature, they are able to properly use the natural resources in their daily life. Dr. Kassam emphasized upon local peoples’ knowledge, and said their knowledge should be used in terms of adapting and preparing to the climate change.
He added to reduce the greenhouse gases, there is a need to promote local wisdom, knowledge and creativity.
In recent years, we confronted water shortage severely. When I asked Dr. Kassam how can we overcome water shortage? He answered if people do not care about these changes it is going to be worst in next years. Water shortage can cause food shortage. The food system would get damaged. He suggested people should be educated and informed on how to use and share water with responsibility.