Anila Bano, a 22-year-old from Ghizer, Pakistan has been an advocate for local issues in Gilgit, especially those caused by global climate change.
By Anila Bano
After seeing and listening to the challenges of the community, I decided to make the following video. It was filmed in 2018 and shared on social media, but never published until recently.
On March 09, 2019, exactly a year ago, TEDx LutherCollege offered me an opportunity to talk about the impacts of climate change in Gilgit. This was based on my visit to a flood-affected village, Badswat earlier. Throughout the process of preparing the talk and putting the video together, I learned a great deal about the work of Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
My conscious involvement with climate change was a byproduct of engaging with local issues in Gilgit. It all started with a thought: “what has changed in the last two years, while I was away from home?”. After visiting Badswat, one of my answers was “climate change”. Since then, I have been passionate about this. Last summer, I visited Darkut which is another high-risk area for natural disasters in Gilgit.
Apart from Gilgit-specific and personal experiences, I seek to stay connected with the global issues and initiatives related to climate change. From attending the Nobel conference on climate change to meeting the youth director of Earth Guardians, Xiuhtezcatl or the founder of Punta Mona, Stephen Brooks, I see a variety of approaches towards solving these issues. In these examples and more, it is amazing to see how much progress can be made in one year.
The Climate Action Summit was held in 2019 – the hottest year on record. During the summit, 70 countries announced they will either boost their national action plans by 2020 or have started the process of doing so. The United Nations launched the UN75 campaign which will spark dialogue throughout 2020. Similarly, the 2020 call for code challenge led by IBM will be climate change focused. And we all know about the powerful global climate strikes, led by Greta Thunberg. Of course, there’s more to share and more to be done. Amidst these global efforts, we should think about how we can contribute towards the solutions. If anything, we can start reflecting on our very lifestyle – the food we eat, the stuff we buy and how much trash we produce. Personally, I chose to be a vegetarian and it hasn’t been too bad (*hint for someone who might be thinking about being a vegetarian:). I am deeply grateful for my family and mentors who have been super supportive of all my efforts and initiatives. Some of my mentors work with AKAH; their encouragement has been key to my continued interest in issues related to natural disasters. With such support from my family and the institution, I aspire to give back to our community and the AKDN, inshallah.
Anila is from Yasin, Ghizer in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. She has done her IB Diploma from United World College of Hong Kong and currently studies in the United States. Anila has a range of interests that coalesce with her greater enthusiasm for working towards the holistic wellbeing of individuals and communities, especially those that need the most help. In her free time, Anila enjoys practicing the flute and exploring musicians whose work is deeply rooted in spirituality and nature. Growing up close to nature has made her realize that she feels at home whenever she is with nature. Therefore, a fight for climate change is in a way a fight for home.