THE BLOG
09/11/2012 02:02 pm ET | Updated Nov 11, 2012

When Different Cultures Unite on Climate Crisis...

Whether it is a Hurricane Isaac or drought in the U.S., a typhoon in the Philippines or changing monsoon rain patterns in Pakistan, every one of us is living with this new normal. We watched or heard about extraordinary thawing of Greenland ice, satellite images of the record-low level of Arctic Ice sheet or sea level rise up to seven inches during the past century.

Despite all these realities, world politics continue to fight over authenticity of science over climate crisis. When all the major science academies acknowledge consensus over anthropogenic climate crisis, we still see our world leadership divided to solve the climate crisis.

Where the world leadership fails or show little interest to accept science or take action, we, on the other hand, witness a number of good initiatives to advocate on climate crisis. Whether it is a personality like Mr. Al Gore, who keeps transforming the lives of thousands to accept reality and ignite global movement to solve crisis climate or it is a country like Maldives who voluntarily commit to go 100 percent carbon neutral, despite their negligible share in global climate pollution.

However, what is most exciting is the spirit of thousands of individuals who volunteers their lives to educate others and empower them to take action in different ways and capacity. "Make Your Own Climate Volunteers" is one of the initiatives by the Climate Project Connectors campaign in Pakistan, which links climate volunteers from different cultures and backgrounds and motivate volunteerism to fight climate crisis.

Individuals in this campaign are encouraged to form their own volunteers group and start climate actions at personal, community, schools, or broader level. Anusha Sherazi and Dave Finnigan are the two examples of people who, although they belong to the two different cultures of Pakistan and the U.S., come to volunteerism in climate action; they have no difference in thoughts and ambition for a common cause.

Anusha grew up in Sahiwal, a small agricultural city of Pakistan. Due to her father's service in the armed forces for three decades in different parts of the country, Anusha moved city to city along with her family. She lived over the hills of Murree, Kashmir, Kohat, the deserts of Bahawalpur; the coasts of Karachi and Hyderabad; the grassy terrains of Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Sialkot; and the plains of Jhelum and Lahore.

Anusha says:

"Coming from a family culture where people enjoy lavish cuisines, extravaganza of cladding styles, hues of festivity and a profound essence of customs and orthodoxy; invokes the first impression that the land should be full of industries, textile mills, restaurants and vehicles, no matter how much greenhouse gases it releases. However, travelling everywhere and witnessing the dramatic changes in the climate of Pakistan rather turned me to become a climate volunteer which makes me avoid a luxurious life style."

With her academic background of environmental science, Anusha could bring contrast in her life where she usually volunteers herself with various environmental organizations. Anusha, after joining the initiative "Make Your Own Climate Volunteers," started her online campaign to educate youth on climate crisis and seeking opportunities for actions. She says:

"We are in the age where generations prefer to spend five to six hours every day with computers, playing games, making friends on Facebook, sending tweets and exploring the world through YouTube. That's why brining attention of youth toward climate change and environment, using the social media would work differently. Now every day I get feedbacks from schools, young researchers, fresh graduates, students and different experts on climate change and thinking of productive ways for climate action."

Anusha loves reading, music and climate campaigning. Currently she lives in Canada to upgrade her knowledge and experience on environmental sciences and plans to bring back rich experience to her country in this field.

Now let's talk about Dave Finnigan, who was born in Annapolis, Md., just before World War II. His dad was in the U.S. Navy, so his family lived with his grandparents in Bethlehem, Penn. After the war, Dave's family lived in Guam, Sasebo Japan, Ottawa, Canada, and in Navy towns all over the U.S. Dave also served in the Army for five years and was stationed in Germany and South Korea; he stayed in Asia for 10 years working in national family planning programs for the governments of Korea, Taiwan and Philippines. Dave also served in U.N. agencies in Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal and Turkey.

The world exposure also attracted Dave toward a responsible life with a sense of environmental protection. Dave visited more than 2,000 elementary schools in 41 states and 12 countries with his instructional program, Juggling for Success. Since 2007, when he went through Mr. Al Gore's "The Climate Project" training, Dave refined his new program, Climate Change is Elementary, in 17 schools in five states.

Dave says:

"Our one-day program gives students, teachers and parents glimpses of the Climate Change problem. We stress actions that families and schools can undertake to go green, regardless of parental beliefs about anthropogenic global warming."

After joining "Make your Own Climate Volunteers," Dave and his team changed their program name to "Youth to the Rescue." This is because they realized that whether parents believe in global warming or not, almost everyone agrees there is benefit to going green.

Dave plans to design a website where kids can report family actions, and where suppliers can offer discounts to families and rebates to schools for green purchases, together with a carbon calculator into the site. Dave juggles, swing dance and love to spend his time with family.