Garam Chashma received its first snowfall of this winter season. In the morning when I got up the entire valley was shrouded in white presenting the look of a fairyland but without fairies as all the inhabitants preferred to remain indoor, offices and schools were thinly attended while in a similar situation in neighbouring China, the day before, the entire population had come out of their houses to play winter games and enjoy the great sights.
The overnight snow fall resulted in half to 12 inches of snow depending on the altitude of the area. By 12 o’ clock when I was returning from work the snow had melted testifying to the fact that global warming had gravely endangered world climate. If this trend is not arrested by reducing emissions and reforestation Chitral and areas similarly placed would lose their capacity to remain as habitat for humans and wild life and the border villages of Gobor will not receive snowfall 50 years from now.
Addressing a Mountain Day function in Chitral town the Mehtar rightly emphasized the need for conservation to fight climate change. Hopefully he would lead the movement in that behalf and intercede with private forest owners to stop cutting of trees for royalty and persuade the government to follow suit with regard to forests taken over by it in pursuance to the then NWFP Notification 1975. It is instructive to note that cutting of forests in other parts of KPK remains banned inspite of their wider forest coverage while in Chitral having 3.5% coverage there is no ban on cutting of forests. If this trend is not stopped in 5 to 10 years time Chitral would be denuded of all its upland forests.
Coming back to our depressed mindset towards snowfall, it is sad that people have not been able to come out of this mindset and are violating their own right to free movement. Unlike in the past when clothing was thin and alternate fuel was either not available or not affordable, today thanks to the second hand western warm clothes ( it is another matter that we assail the west with the same frequency with which we use their second hand clothes and technologies) and improved capacity to access alternate fuel there is no justification to remain depressed due to snowfall and people have to come out of the psychological hangover of the past to enjoy all the four seasons of the year in which we take pride but are unable to live them fully which again stands testimony to our hypocritical attitude in which we have excelled as a nation.