Jobs in PakistanDue to the coronavirus pandemic, many people around the world lost have their jobs and are now facing financial hardship. The economic impact is projected to increase global poverty. This will be the first time since 1998 that the world sees an increase. Luckily, countries have been creating new job markets to aid the unemployed and fight poverty levels. A new market of jobs in Pakistan has been created for those laid off because of the coronavirus: tree planting.

“10 Billion Trees Tsunami”

In 2018, Pakistan started a campaign called the “10 Billion Trees Tsunami” program. The project goal: to plant more trees and fight against deforestation. Additionally, this program will help the environment. Jobs in Pakistan have already been affected by the pandemic, and it is projected that as many as 19 million people will be laid off due to COVID-19. To combat this, Pakistan started employing those who lost their jobs because of the virus to plant trees as a part of their “10 Billion Trees Tsunami” program. Though this program was not specifically created for those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, it is greatly helping those who did. These new laborers have been dubbed “jungle workers.” This program aims at creating more than 60,000 jobs as a way to help citizens and the economy and fight against climate change. In order to help as many citizens as possible during this devastating time, the program has tripled the number of workers hired.

These jungle workers are mostly seen in rural areas. Hiring is aimed primarily at women, unemployed daily workers and those who are from cities in lockdown. A large portion of the workforce is also made up of young people. As tree planting does not require much past experience, many unskilled workers are still able to be employed during this harsh economic period. There are still strict precautions in place for those working, such as having to wear a mask and continuing to keep a social distance of 6 feet while working.

Relief for the Unemployed

The program’s creation of new jobs in Pakistan allows its citizens to continue making enough money in order to provide for their families. A construction worker named Abdul Rahman lost his job when the coronavirus struck and began to face financial instability. Once employed as a jungle worker for the “10 Billion Trees Tsunami,” he was able to start providing for his family again. In an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Rahman said “Due to coronavirus, all the cities have shut down and there is no work. Most of us daily wagers couldn’t earn a living.” Rahman is now earning around ₹500 a day, which translates to about $3. Though this payment is about half of what he would have made on a good day as a construction worker, he says it is enough “to feed our families.”

Pakistan’s Positive Example

Through this program and its employment of more citizens, Pakistan is taking a step towards rebuilding its economy and aiding poor citizens. The project aims at having planted 50 million trees by the end of this year and, with the addition of more workers, this goal is achievable. The presence of such jobs in Pakistan is an example of hope during this time and, as the economy improves, Pakistani citizens can earn living wages and the environment reaps the benefits.

Erin Henderson
Photo: Flickr

The Green Belt Movement is an environmental organization whose aim is to make the planet green again through fighting deforestation and preventing soil erosion. It engages the community, especially women, in its process and, in return, compensates participants with a small monetary payment. It has now become an international platform for women’s empowerment through the conservation of natural resources.

The Green Belt Movement was started by the late professor, Doctor Wangari Maathai, who founded the organization in 1977 in Kenya. Dr. Maathai is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the first African woman to receive such an honor. She is also the first woman to receive a doctorate degree in East and Central Africa. Dr. Maathai witnessed the struggles of rural Kenyan women with finding drinking water, food and firewood, saw the connection between deforestation, scarcity of rainfall and food insecurity and wanted to address the problem as a whole. She encouraged men and women to practice reforestation, binding soil to prevent soil erosion, food processing, beekeeping and many more sustainable values.

The Green Belt Movement has also dealt with larger issues in the daily lives of Kenyans. It has protected public lands from private landowners, known as “land grabbing.” It has trained farmers with simple techniques to grow indigenous vegetables and fruits that are sustainable in harsh environments. It also uses a water-shed based approach to harvesting. Furthermore, the Green Belt Movement launched the Community Empowerment and Education program, which helped to educate common people on the environment, natural resources and civics.

Since its foundation in 1977, over 51 million trees have been planted across Kenya. The movement also invented a method of spreading ideas among the community through “trainers of trainers.” In 2015 alone, over 200 women who participated in training from the Green Belt Movement have gone on to train over 20,000 members of their communities, thus assisting in the spreading of the Movement’s ideas. The Green Belt Movement has addressed important issues such as deforestation, climate change and women’s empowerment, gaining international status in the process.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Flickr

The Kigali Amendment: A Global Commitment to Cutting HFCs
This month in Kigali, Rwanda, nearly 200 nations agreed to a new deal to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, specifically hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The parameters of the deal have the potential to guide countries to preventing up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the year 2100 and outline a global commitment to cutting HFCs.

HFCs were first used in the 1980s as a replacement for other ozone exhausting gasses. Over time, however, the danger of these gasses has grown. HFCs are used in appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners, and sales among these types of products have soared in growing economies like China and India.

HFC gasses are critically dangerous to the global environment and as a greenhouse gas can be up to 10,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. If the deadlines in the plan are followed, the deal is expected to reduce the use HFCs by 85 percent by 2045.

The Kigali Amendment was made as an addition to the Montreal Protocol, which came into effect in 1989 and aims at reducing the production and consumption of detrimental substances to the earth’s ozone layer.

A statement on the Kigali Amendment from the White House said, “While diplomacy is never easy, we can work together to leave our children a planet that is safer, more prosperous, more secure and free than the one that was left for us.”

The deal includes the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China, and separates nations into groups with various deadlines for reducing the use of HFC gas. The U.S. and other Western developed countries want quick action in phasing out HFCs while nations such as India will be allowed a bit more time for their economies to grow and industries to adjust to the new requirements.

The U.S. will start taking action by 2019 and more than 100 developing countries, China included, will start to cut back by 2024 when HFC consumption levels are expected to be at their highest.

The deal puts the promises made at the Paris climate change conference last year into effect. In December 2015, 195 countries met in Paris and agreed to the first ever universal and legally binding climate change deal. Now, the Kigali Amendment is holding these countries accountable for their promises.

U.N. Environment Chief Erik Solhiem stated in reference to the Kigali deal, “Last year in Paris, we promised to keep the world safe from the worst effects of climate change. Today, we are following through on that promise.”

This global commitment to cutting HFCs shows dedication and acknowledgment to current issues relating to global warming and climate change. The requirements of the legally binding treaty have the potential to considerably reduce the damaging effects of greenhouse gas emission.

Peyton Jacobsen

Photo: Flickr

A Green Colombia

Humankind has achieved a level of greatness unknown to its predecessors: today we freely traverse the globe as we please and live comfortable lifestyles, infatuated with the belief that we live in a place where almost anything is possible.

Unfortunately, this whimsical attitude cannot last in a world unable to keep up with each and every whim and passing fancy of the human heart. With the inevitable effects of climate change ravaging the one and only planet in which we live, a growing endeavor to find sustainable approaches and solutions for countries around the world continues to be a top priority on the nation’s agenda.

Recognizing this importance, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a $700 million loan which supported green growth in Colombia as well as environmental developments within the country. It was through this Development Policy Loan (DPL) that Colombian administration’s budgetary program was supported.

The National Development Plan for Colombia has several initiatives in support of a green growth strategy which include “reducing water and air pollution as well as the final disposal and recycling of solid waste,” states an article by the World Bank.

Challenges that Colombia faces in this effort include an aversion to adaption in the face of climate change and a “reduction in the costs of environmental degradation on health,” says the World Bank. However, this loan will present a unique and golden opportunity to promote social, economic and environmental developments for this country.

According to the World Bank, “the rate of exploitation of Colombia’s natural resources is greater than the average for Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) countries. For example, extensive cattle raising, mostly undertaken in unsuitable lands, has caused significant deterioration in land use. Equally, the industrial sector is one of the biggest culprits behind organic pollution and the deterioration of water quality in Colombia.”

With the poorest and most vulnerable people suffering the most from environmental degradation issues, advances in environmental sustainability will be welcomed and embraced throughout this region. This loan will not just benefit the very poor but also seeks to improve productivity and overall quality of life for all Colombians.

Future endeavors will focus on strengthening the response capacity to climate change and natural disasters that affect the country. As often as this is repeated, its message stays true: only by investing in these issues today can we create a future for tomorrow.

Nikki Schaffer

Sources: DNP, World Bank


When plastic is disposed of, it is hoped to be recycled for better purposes; most elementary classes teach their students how to be “eco-friendly” so their planet can thrive, and they watch films or listen to presentations about the benefits of recycling. Despite these truly noble efforts, according to findings from the BBC World Service, out of the approximate 288 million tons of plastic waste produced on the earth per year in the past 30 to 40 years, 10% of that goes through drains into the ocean. Eighty percent of worldwide plastic waste comes from land-based sources. If not all, most of that waste has been produced by humans.

According to Professor Richard Thompson of Plymouth University, the best solution to remove plastic waste (especially plastic waste in the oceans) is to simply prevent it from getting there.

Twenty-year-old Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of Ocean Cleanup, thinks we can do one better. The idea came to him at age 16 while diving in Greece. He noticed that there was more plastic in the ocean than there were fish. He was right to a greater extent than he probably realized at the time. According to Nicholas Mallos of the Ocean Conservancy, “the amount of plastics is roughly one third the total biomass of fish–1 lb of plastic for every 2 lbs of fish.”

When Slat was 19-years-old, a first-year studying Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft University in the Netherlands, he came up with the idea of a solar powered floating boom with a processing platform. The device is comprised of an array of barriers that would catch and concentrate plastic, then would move it to areas where it could be extracted.

Currently, there is an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, according to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Unfortunately, because so much of the debris can be found within the darkest depths of the ocean, this particular device wouldn’t be able to catch all of it. But, Slat and his associates have estimates that within 10 years of its development, almost half of it has a chance of being removed.

Boyan Slat was fortunately able to host a Ted Talk, and once his video explaining his cause and his abilities went viral, he was able to raise about $2 million with Crowdfunding campaigns and recruited several volunteers from around the globe to help him.

Now, announcing deployment in 2016 via the Seoul Digital Forum in South Korea, the solar powered boom will be the world’s largest floating structure at 2,000 meters. It will be deployed off Tsushima, an island between Japan and South Korea, and is expected to be operational for two years. If this endeavor is successful, progressively larger booms will be deployed in other locations. All associations involved hope to use the recovered plastic as an alternative energy source.

Anna Brailow

Sources: BBC, Good News Network, The Ocean Cleanup, TEDx Talks
Photo: The Ocean Cleanup

Advertisers Without Borders (AWB), founded in 2002 by Guillermo Caro, is an international network of advertising professionals who donate their time to promote global social causes. Through innovative public service campaigns, AWB brings awareness to issues like poverty, health, environmental care, and peace culture.

One of their recent campaigns, The Children Notwork, was designed to create awareness about global child labor. AWB created profiles on the professional network LinkedIn for textile, coffee, toy, and food companies. It then created dozens of fictitious profiles of children who supposedly worked for those companies. The “children” began to send direct messages to random LinkedIn professionals, executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders on the website. If these messages were read, AWB provided the recipient with a link to The Children Notwork website and detailed information about child labor.

This innovative campaign spurred conversation across the world, finally meeting AWB’s objective to create awareness about the 215 million children who are victims of exploitation and child labor.

Another of AWB’s campaigns, Whatever you do to the world you do to yourself, is composed of a series of four ads to promote greater care for the environment. The four images mirror each other in design, but depict four different issues, namely deforestation, littering, whale poaching, and pollution. Each ad contains a self-inflicted environmental wrong and the connection to the arm that commits it.

Each of AWB’s campaigns is designed to get the public engaged in the world’s issues through innovative, thought-provoking advertising techniques. Said best by anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” Advertisers Without Borders is doing just that.

– Tara Young

Sources: Advertisers Without Borders, The Children Notwork, The CreTimes