‘Green Pakistan’ has assumed centre stage with the change of government. Keeping in line with the spirit of the time, Pakistan Navy, kicked off the tree plantation drive in the neighbourhood of Naval Headquarters, Margalla Hills, where frequent incidents of fire and activities of timber mafia have considerably damaged the forest. The one million pine tree plantation drive is expected to move the region towards restoring environmental balance. On the inauguration of the Margalla plantation campaign, the Naval Chief expressed his concern over the dying creeks at the mouth of Indus River. He emphasised the need to make the waters of the river flow down the Kotri Barrage so that the mangroves could survive. He further went on to convey his apprehension of a future where Pakistan would have to deal with ‘climate refugees’, because of its current ignorance regarding the environment. Our climate is changing and it poses as a threat to our survival as a nation. To move forward, it is necessary to shake myths associated with big dams. Let us rethink our development paradigm that sacrifices the prosperity of all, in favour of a few. Our existence is intertwined with that of natures, the sooner we understand that the better. Pakistan gets, on average 145 million acre feet (MAF) of fresh water through monsoons. Only 13.5 MAF can be stored in reservoirs at Tarbela and Mangla. The dams cater to only 10% of agricultural needs of the people but have wreaked havoc on riverine, forests and mangroves. We have yet to think of the people downstream. We have to restore their livelihood by reviving their habitat. Also, the grim reality of being left with a forest cover of only 1.9 percent has to be faced. Despite this, a media campaign has been launched on the insistence of the people to rally support for more dams. People wrongfully assume that dams will ensure the survival of agricultural production as well as help us cope with the energy crisis. We are obsessed with agriculture which in turn is harming the forests and wildlife. Gone are the days when we used to have enough grazing space and meandering rivers to host human communities along the forests. Due to the freshwater in dams, rivers have been transformed into drains, carrying the waste of cities and industries Think about the plight of the communities at the mouth of the Indus River. There used to be 13 creeks before the loss of three eastern rivers took a toll on our freshwater resources. At least 23 MAF of water is lost to India. Sutlej, Ravi and Beas have almost dried-out, they rarely flow down the Kotri Barrage in months other than July and August. Due to the Indus River not carrying waters to its mouth, it is estimated that the Arabian Sea devours up to eight acres of precious land, a day. It is true that our monsoon rains have decreased and that our glacial resources are also depleting very fast. The reason is the increasing temperature of the landmass, for we are obsessed with agriculture which in turn is harming the forests and the wildlife. Gone are the days, we used to have enough grazing space and meandering rivers to host human communities along the forests. Due to the freshwater in dams, rivers have been transformed into drains carrying the waste of cities and industries. Dams are not a solution to our woes, at all. It is rather time to think whether our existing dams can bear the results of deforestation in the form of earthquakes and flash floods. We should keep in mind that these structures have become silted and their storage capacity has decreased by at least one-third. Also, there needs to be a check on groundwater and fresh resources being spent on sugarcane production. The real challenge, is our inability to provide safe drinking water to our growing population, not our failure in watering crops. Furthermore, we have to ensure that riverine communities have a means to earn their livelihood, especially in Punjab and Sindh where the riverbeds are dry most of the year. However, we can combat this by encouraging forestry in mountainous regions and banning agricultural activity in dry regions. The more vegetation cover we have, the faster we will be able to handle climate change. Furthermore, there should be institutional plans in cities to ensure that water is not wasted and a certain quota of tree are planted every year. We have to stop the war against nature by letting our rivers flow freely. Moreover, we should prioritise on increasing our forest cover by at least 25 percent, to ward off the hazards of climate change. Food security cannot be ensured by blindly growing wheat, agriculture needs to be balanced with forests. The Islamabad-based columnist reads in signs and narratives Published in Daily Times, September 7th 2018.