While war rages in Europe and mass impoverishment continues at home, an apocalyptic trailer of a global picture in the making is tragically playing out in Pakistan.
Contributing only around 1% to global carbon emissions, the world’s 5th most populous country, (ranked 8th in the most likely to be affected by climate change), has now become the no.1 poster child of climate catastrophe.
After months of desertification in 50+ degree temperatures, an extended monsoon seasion has washed away crops and topsoil dropping between 3 to 6 times the average annual rainfall. In a country where tribalism and kleptocracy have stifled development leaving it largely dependent on ageing colonial infrastructure, it is at a standstill leaving millions stranded as a third of the country floods.
A million homes are uninhabitable displacing 33 million people (15% of the population) and wiping out a million livestock on which the rural poor depend.
The crisis is exacerbated by glacial melting. Pakistan’s 7000 glaciers (the largest number outside the polar regions) are continuing to shrink at an accelerating rate pouring meltwaters into overflowing natural and man-made dams and turning rivers into bridge and road destroying torrents.
Already torn apart by the Sharif and Bhutto political dynasties battle against Imran Khan’s Pakistan Movement for Justice Party, the paralysis, political and physical, is near total. The potential consequences of a military prone nuclear armed power on the brink of ecological collapse is a plot of dystopian horror proportions.
With two thirds of the country declared to be in a ‘state of calamity’ it is being described the first national climate catastrophe (an unwelcome accolade already bestowed on Madagascar following its years of drought).
Who will learn the lesson? This is a direct product of the short-termist, profit driven and growth obsessed capitalist ruling class. The same forces at work domestically and in the Ukraine. The Sharif’s, Bhutto’s and Khan’s will survive but the workers and poor of Pakistan huddling on embankments or camps in an imminent state of famine and disease are already paying – and dying.
But the lesson is global, the crisis demonstrably upon us, and the solution glaringly obvious. Capitalism has no solution, the rich continue grab and retreat to their resorts, islands and gated community ‘arks’ blaming us, the working class and the poor as greedy disrupters.
It’s time to disrupt, here against the war, here against climate crisis and planetary slaughter, here against the bosses and capitalist class who will not stop until the Pakistan example is the global picture or until they are stopped. If not by us, who? If not now, when?