Emperor Jahangir rightly commented on the beauty of Kashmir saying: “Agar Firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, Hameen ast-o, Hameen ast-o, Hameen ast!” (If there is a paradise on earth; it is this, it is this, it is this); Paulo Coelho says, “Life moves very fast. It rushes from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds.”
Kashmir is also on the verge of such unwelcome transformations and is getting affected by climate change. According to a recent study, Jammu and Kashmir may witness a temperature increase of up to 6.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. The study also warns that the glaciers in this Himalayan region could shrink by 85 percent if precautions aren’t taken. In the valley of Kashmir, the rate of temperature variation (a term used to show the difference between high and low temperatures in a single day) has increased from 4 to 5 degrees Celsius in the past decade. The Kolahoi glacier, also called the crown of Kashmir, has rapidly receded due to climatic conditions. The glacier has lost 23 percent of its area since 1962 (from 13.73 sq km in 1962 to 10.49 sq km in 2018) and has fragmented into smaller parts. These changes, if not stopped, would completely alter Kashmir as we know it. Agriculture and tourism, the backbone of our economy can be completely fractured due to climate change.
We must play our part in stopping climate change by being beacons of change; change for better air to breathe, change to educate people about climate change, change to end global warming, change to make the world a better place to live for us and those who will come after us.