Every year, we celebrate Pakistan’s historic Independence Day enthusiastically, looking at our colonial past and comparing it to our present. What we usually don’t do is look ahead at our future on this day, but with Naya Pakistan setting stage, it is about time we start looking at our actions and inactions that affect our present and our future.
Here are 14 habits we can add to our lives to celebrate our Independence Day sustainably and responsibly to become better citizens for a brighter, greener future:
- Plant a tree in your garden or nearest sidewalk and take care of it every day. Let’s make Pakistan greener, a tree at a time!
- Read through Quaid-e-Azam’s speech at the time of independence to understand why Pakistan was really created and the Pakistan he envisioned us to become. If you’re an avid reader, also read the following to gain some perspective on what you can do for Naya Pakistan:
- Pakistan National Human Development Index Report: Pakistan has one of the largest youth populations in the world – of more than 69% of the country under the age of 29. Using their potential, Pakistan can go light years ahead of its current state. Read more to learn what the youth thinks of the future of Pakistan.
- The UN Sustainable Development Goals: Pakistan is a signatory of the UN SDGs and still so far behind its targets for the Year 2030. Which of the goals can you adopt to help meet the targets for the country?
- Choose kites over fireworks. Fireworks pollute the environment and add to noise pollution that is stressful for animals, homeless people and many people with mental illnesses. Use our cultural sport of kite-flying to color our skies in bright colors and laughter.
- Use buckets to collect water from your ACs every night. We’re a water-stressed nation, set to become a water-scarce nation if we don’t get our act together, so use AC’s distilled water for household use and gardening.
- Shower and bathe using a bucket only. Using a fixed amount of water for bathing is the best way to use water efficiently.
- Adopt a stray animal in your neighborhood and let everyone know of your new furry friend. You don’t need to bring them in your house even. Just make it a point to give food and water every day and check for any injuries whenever you see her or him. Also – donate to organizations such as the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation and Innocent Pets Shelter to support our 4-legged and 2-winged citizens as well.
- Visit a list of historical landmarks (such as Frere Hall in Karachi and Wazir Ali Khan Mosque in Lahore) in the city to preserve and conserve our historical architecture. You can also visit TDF Ghar to get a great view of the Mazar-e-Quaid and enjoy a meal of halwa-poori as you watch the marching bands in the morning!
- Switch off all the lights and fans that don’t need to be on. Let’s be less wasteful of energy this year. Millions in this country have access to ZERO electricity in their homes. Let’s be considerate.
- Visit a park with your family and throw trash only in waste bins. If there are no waste bins in parks, carry the trash with you home to make sure you’re not littering public spaces.
- Buy yourself a reusable bottle and promise yourself never to buy a plastic water bottle again. Also, switch from plastic polythene bags to stylish reusable bags to add to your style, while reducing your environmental footprint. Plastic bottles and bags are burned at many landfill sites and dump yards, polluting the air heavily with toxins and carcinogens, affecting fellow citizens that live around these areas in slums. #ReducePlasticsPollution
- Use flags of cloth to hang or stand in your terrace, balcony or front yard, so you can use it again every year. Buying new festive decorations every year that can’t be reused is a wasteful habit and adds to our already exploding landfills.
- Help an elderly on the street by giving them a hand when carrying things or giving them a lift to their destination. Let them know that the present-day, young Pakistani is different from all previous generations.
- Know your newly elected politician – both at the National Assembly and Provincial Assembly. If you don’t know their background, do some research. Save up their contact information to contact them directly when you feel that your constituency is not performing as well as it should. Make your elected MNA and MPA know that you’re there holding him or her accountable!
- Visit the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation and register yourself to become an organ donor. With our poor healthcare system, it is even more vital for all of us to join hands together to give all citizens the right to live in this country. It is considered to be sadqah jariya to be able to donate to a living being that is in need of a vital, healthy organ to survive. If that doesn’t make sense to you, still, here are a list of NGOs and philanthropic organizations that you can support:
- Edhi Foundation: Donate to the biggest philanthropic organization in the country that was the first to provide emergency ambulatory services and services to dead bodies all over Karachi. Now Edhi provides shelter for women and abandoned or orphaned children, mentally ill men and women, drug addicts, stray animals and so on – all for FREE.
- The Red Robinhood Army: Reduce food waste and hunger by donating leftover food to this organization.
- Saylani Welfare Trust: Donate any amount of pocket money to feed the homeless.
- The Citizens’ Foundation (TCF): Donate any amount of pocket money to get more children educated in this country.
So, what are you going to do to make Pakistan better on this Independence Day?