The National Council of Environmental Journalists (NCEJ) has started field training in Thar Desert of Sindh, which is second of the series of training, which the NCEJ initiated across Pakistan under its recently launched initiative, “Reporting impacts of climate change on communities: Building Network and media capacity” in collaboration with Earth Journalism Network (EJN).

For this series, the NCEJ has planned to hold 8 training sessions including four classroom and four field training at four different locations across Pakistan, where communities are suffering from the affects of climate change.

These locations include Thatta city of Sindh, the last district on River Indus where Indus meets the Arabian Sea and has Indus delta; Mithi in the Thar Desert of Sindh, where droughts have become common for the past few years; Gilgit, where glacial melting has become frequent while the last session will be held in Pakistan’s commercial hub of Karachi city, where a recent heat wave killed more than 2,000 people.

This second of the series field training included 13 members in total: 7 new members from Thar Desert, 3 from Karachi while 3 senior members, and was held in different parts of Thar Desert.
The session was conducted by renowned environmental journalist and president NCEJ Amar Guriro, who travelled from Karachi.

The National Council of Environmental Journalists—NCEJ is a national level network of Pakistani environmental journalists, which is struggling to train Pakistani journalists on issues related to environment and climate change.

At first, the selected participants were taken to Haryar village of Thar Desert, which is located about 40 kilometres towards the north of Mithi city.

During the visit, NCEJ’s member journalists met the community members to chalk out impactful stories. The community members explained how drought, which is because of climate change, had affected them.

A majority of the village dwellers, who are either herders or dependent on rain-fed agriculture, explained that due to severe drought most of them had migrated to other areas and were running out of indigenous seeds.

The members later visited another remote village, where local NGOs have set up rainwater storage ponds to help the inhabitants during the times of drought. They also inspected the Reverse Osmosis plants installed there by the Sindh government.

During the field training, besides sharing tips on environment reporting, Amar Guriro also explained the impact of droughts on community members.

As part of the understanding, the stories produced by journalists after the training were published by The Nature News, Pakistan’s first bilingual newspaper covering environment, climate change and science. Most of the stories were in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, but The Nature News ensured their translation for publication in its English section.