A Pakistani environmentalist moves to Canada!
Canadians have developed rules, laws and regulations, and realised the worth of their fragile environment. They have developed a sense of belonging to their environment and its biodiversity. They know how to behave like a responsible citizen, not to litter on the roads, keep the beaches pollution free, use biodegradable stuff and eat local foods. They dont believe in the practitioners who switched from economics, sociology, and computer studies, to environment, and began to practise it without a single backgrounder qualification
BEING AN environmentalist is as wonderful as being part of nature and enjoying every bit of it. Writing environmental issues, and talking environment are all ineffective until you learn to live with the environment. Living with environment is not just about supporting an environmental cause, but to feel for it.I have always lived with environment, from the indoor plants in my bed room, to the garden on my roof top, every bit of it is loveable and mesmerizing. But what I will tell you today is not something typical. To me it was a big switch of my career. No doubt, Pakistani environment is one of a kind, the lush green mountains, the dense forests of north, and the beauty of our agricultural lands. We are blessed with countless bounties of God.
Moving to Canada was not a bad experience either. For an environmentalist, Canadian environment has a number of incentives to offer. No matter if you are a scientist, a researcher, a forester, biologist or just a budding environmentalist, this land has a rich environment awaiting your foot steps to explore. Just the way I found my way and embedded myself into a new, yet very cozy environment.
Talking about how I compare a Pakistani environment to Canadian, there are several distinguishing features which make Canada to still enjoy a sustainable environment but Pakistan is to suffer at the hands of its own people. I wont say that Pakistani environment is not an ideal one, but that we are losing its vigor at our own hands. God never created any discrimination on His land, but its humans who destroyed and exploited.
A human psyche has a lot to do with the environment s/he survives in. Canadian people have developed a sense of belonging to their environment and its biodiversity. From young to old, from man to woman, and from cats to dogs, each one knows how to behave like a responsible citizen, not to litter on the roads, keep the beaches pollution free, use biodegradable stuff and eat local foods.
To my surprise the first ever news I read on environmental issues in the country was, “Toronto phased out 85 per cent of plastic bags through putting a price on each bag in every mall and the practice continues countrywide.” When I shared this news on my social media network in Pakistan, I heard the comments, “Pakistan cant do this”, “we have other issues on priority,” and “the people are too poor to pay 2 rupees for a bag, “although they could spend 2000 rupees on their groceries.
When we move a level up from how we compare the mindsets, I never even imagined that there would be a state, which cares for any professional certification for an environment practitioner. And a state which does not let every Tom, Dick and Harry be the harbinger of environment. For the first time in my life I felt so proud being a certified graduate of Environmental Sciences, when I heard, only the environmentalists qualified with the degrees in the field were eligible to practice their profession in the field of Environmental Sciences and that after receiving an official lisence. The law of receiving a “Professional License of a Geoscientist” was the biggest surprise to me, while exploring the incentives to work in Canada.
Canadians have developed rules, laws and regulations, and realized the worth of their fragile environment. They know that education is vital for every intrusive process on environment, and to practice it, one needs to be a certified professional. They dont believe in the practitioners who switched from economics, sociology, and computer studies, to environment, and began to practice it without a single backgrounder qualification.
From the concepts of general awareness, environmental education, and professional licensing, to the tools of environmental campaigning and volunteering, every other practice is inspirational. An environmental campaign is the basic tool to strengthen the perspectives on various issues through direct actions, public engagement and raising voice at policy levels.
Here the government as well as the people believe that talking about an issue on international platforms, annual negotiations and workshops are all useless, unless the true essence of environmental campaigning and public mobilization are not brought into power. Hundreds of environmental campaigns are being run in the country by countless non-profit environmental organizations.
Moreover, the most impressive part of the environmental management in the country is how the Ministry of Environment enjoys a strong position within the complex organizational structure on environment. Canadian government does not believe in making and breaking the ministries every other day. Ministry of Environment is the supreme body which takes care of the sub issues like disaster management and climate change. The Ministry of Environment maintains holistic approach. All the government and non government organizations work in a harmony. The only matter of concern and utter importance for the country is to protect and conserve the environment, and not to count on the number of projects funded by international sources to regulate the flow of funds to feed government.
My experience of witnessing the environment and its actors in the country was totally unique. At times this very thought puts me into a deep thinking that why Canada doesnt have electricity issues, why dont they suffer with water shortage or food crises, why their roads look so pretty, and the forests so lush and dense. This is not something impossible; any country could achieve this state of utopia. The only way to do this is to develop systems, integrate honesty, and promote humanity.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org