Pakistan: Connecting Climate Change, Women Empowerment, and Art

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Ayla Sohail, Climate Change and Livelihood Project Coordinator at PODA, Potohar Organization of development and advocacy in Pakistan, speaks with Jessica Aldridge from EcoJustice Radio on how climate change, women’s empowerment, and art activism come together in her home country.

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The effects of natural disasters and climate change have disproportionate impacts to those most vulnerable, especially rural based women and marginalized groups. Empowerment of women is critical to personal well-being and self-sufficiency; that empowerment is also directly tied to how the community will handle crisis and build resiliency. In order to mitigate climate change, there must exist a fuller understanding of the social and economic issues that those on the front line bear, and what approaches need to be in place in order to create empowerment and solutions from within. With an increase in development including industrialization, urbanization, and motorization, the World Bank identified Pakistan’s top environmental issues as air pollution, inadequate supply of uncontaminated drinking water, and health deterioration of urban and rural populations.

That same report says Karachi’s urban air pollution is among the most severe in the world. That being said it is important to note that the majority of Pakistan’s population lives in rural areas and experiences high poverty rates. Those in urban areas suffer from significant damages to human health.

Ayla Sohail has been working for a Pakistani organization that tackles the issues of climate change by supporting solutions that are based in gender equity, economic justice, and human rights. They also have a stunning program that encourages entrepreneurism through art while protecting traditional cultural expressions. Ayla is a graduate of mathematics from Comsats University in Islamabad and is finishing her up masters in Geographical Information Systems. Her thesis is based on “Analyzing the impact of Plastic Waste on the Urban Climate.” She is also a teacher and a coach.

More Info: https://poda.org.pk/

Interview by Jessica Aldridge from SoCal 350 and Adventures in Waste.
Engineer: JP Morris and Blake Lampkin
Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Episode 37

Edited 30 September 2019

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt