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I’m Nargis Mansoor, I’m from Afghanistan and I want to work to spread awareness of climate change in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s an agricultural country, an economy basically based on agriculture. In my own family, a lot of people are basically farmers. They say they are affected by shifting weather. But they do not use the terminology climate change. What do they say?
“Before we had a lot of rains and rains that fell in time, so we knew when to plant, when to cultivate. Now it’s unpredictable. Monsoons or rain are not on time. Sometimes they come early and sometimes late. And rivers do not have enough water. Drought is very, very, very long.” In Afghanistan we get drinking water from wells and now people have to dig a lot, so deep, just to find water.
We don’t have industries in Afghanistan. We import things from Pakistan. And even growing simple things like onions and tomatoes is getting harder. You could say we are losing our economy, and our standard of living is going down instead of going up, day by day.
In winter, it’s extremely cold, with a tremendous amount of snow. In summer it’s extremely hot. It was not like this before; we had four seasons. Now we have two: summer and winter.
I was living in Pakistan a long while, and when I came back to Afghanistan and worked in Afghan media, I heard about climate change, really for the first time. But there’s no movement in Afghanistan on climate change, no initiative, no organizations. No one is working on reducing the impact of climate change, or taking any initiative to make young people or other citizens understand what is happening to them.
So I came to Global Power Shift to get some experience and training. When I go back I will definitely make an organisation that will take the initiative on climate change in Afghanistan.
When I came, at the beginning, I was a little reluctant or scared. How would I be able to achieve something with so little? We have nothing to build on, we have to start at the beginning. But I will try with all I’ve learned, try to do all I can do, all I have to do.
We have begun planning. We set a strategy, wrote a one-year plan. We’ll organize a dedicated team of youth to work with us. We’ll try to wake them, get them trainings, and we’ll share what we learned, be ready to work more inside the country to save the climate.
I’m very sure that we will do it. We will teach university students. I have contacts with Afghan media, and civil society. We’ll first make youth understand the impacts of the climate changes, and after this we will make an Afghan youth forum focused on climate change, which will spread this message and this awareness among all people.
People are feeling the impacts of climate change but they don’t understand what is happening. So first we have to help them understand. We also have to spread this awareness among the politicians and the industrialists and take the message to all of Afghanistan. We have to tell them that taking action is not doing for someone else to do; everyone has to do it for themselves, for other generations, for the globe.
Nargis Mansoor has studied computer science and worked for Afghan media. She is a member of the Federation of Afghan Civil Societies. She recently received training on leading climate movements from Global Power Shift.