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  March 04, 2012


In The Name of ALLAH The Almighty

Climate Change.. A blessing for Chitral

In Chitral winter season is a time when the people especially the elders are in the position of full rest (or in hibernation) and people use to sit under the warm rays of sun light and spend day long debates on various issues. The most common point of discussions in these forums is the comparative analysis of climate of past and present. The new generation sit aside them and listens to the elders; some gets stunned while other presume them superstitious old people with harebrained ideas and declares nothing but merely rubbish. It is commonly said that in past most of the valleys were receiving five to seven feet’s of snow fall. The traditional houses (like Baipash) were used to build as an adaptive mechanism which servers not only as residential compound but also storage go-down for a household during such hazardous conditions. It is also observed by the local elders that summer seasons have also altered. In the past, for more than three month the thirsty fields laid under a rainless sky during the hot summers. Due to extreme hotness the people used to spend their times under the shades of Chinar tree (platanus orientalis) drinking milkshake (Lassi) as heat killer.

The people were not even aware of various varieties of grains and fruit plants which exist in Chitral nowadays. The plant and animal species in single cropping zones were different from that of double cropping zones but now most of the transition zones (a zone between single cropping zone and double cropping zone) have evolved into double cropping zones while various animals and plants species of down-district can be easily found in the double cropping zones of Chitral.
Munshi Aziz Uddin the author of “Tareekh e Chitral” documents his observations during his visit to Northern Areas and Chitral from 1892 to 1897. In his book he mentions that “Chital is covered with blanket of snow for most part of the year. Sometimes people got frightened and came out from their houses after hearing terrible sound coming form (due to blasting of vast glaciers) the mountains due to un-known reason”. Apparently this statement shows that how vast glaciers were here in Chitral in those days. The remnants of such vast glaciers can also be witnessed in Yarkhoon valley and alpine pastures even today.

With the conclusions from the folklores and the conclusions of innumerable predictions of scientists that global warming is here and will continue into the foreseeable future. All we hear about the potential impacts of climate change is that of floods, droughts, famine, climatic fluctuations, acid rains etc. but no one highlights some positive impacts of climate change. Here I wanted to summarize the likely effects of global warming, into the advantages of climate change and global warming that are not usually shared.

Advantages of Climate Change in the context of Chitral
• The dry and arid mountains of Chitral may experience more plant growth and milder climates due to temperature shift and increased precipitation.
• It is also assumed that due to climate change the ice cover in the Hindukush region will retreat thus; more venues will be opened for trans-boundary trade. So climate will not be hurdle in the economic uplift of Chitral anymore.
• It is quite obvious that the winter seasons are not harsh anymore as it was in the past. Therefore there is less need for energy consumption then the past.
• In the past it was very common hearing that someone has died due to cold winter or livestock flocks have surcease due to cold but such accidents are no more occurring so there would be fewer deaths or injuries due to cold weather. This means more foods. This one’s related a bit to the longer summers. Those hotter temperatures would also translate into a longer growing season. Plus, plants love CO2! It’s like food for them. All that global warming causing CO2 would act like a fertilizer. With free airborne plant fertilizer and longer growing seasons, food production will skyrocket. Of course, this is assuming that global warming doesn’t cause massive droughts or floods that destroy the crops. As long as that doesn’t happen we’re golden!
• It has been suggested that higher latitudes (like Northern Areas and Chitral) may become productive due to global warming. In addition to this, longer growing seasons could mean increased agricultural production in some local areas.
• Mountains increase in height due to melting glaciers, becoming higher as they rebound against the missing weight of the ice.
• The next ice age may be prevented from occurring.
Nevertheless, no one can nullify the negative impacts of Climate change and the phenomenon of global warming its better to Hope for the best but also plan for the worst.

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