The National Council of Environmental Journalists (NCEJ) is a network of Pakistani environmental journalists, striving to train local journalists on issues related to environment and climate change.

The NCEJ recently launched it new initiative, “Reporting impacts of climate change on communities: Building network and media capacity” in collaboration with Earth Journalism Network (EJN).

For the first two sessions – one classroom and one field training in Thar Desert, the NCEJ selected 10 young journalists as new members from Tharparkar; half of whom were below 21 years of age.
As a result of climate change, Thar Desert, for the past many years has been suffering from severe droughts.

In its training in Thar Desert, the NCEJ also invited 4 senior journalists from Karachi to participate, share their experiences and motivate the new breed of potential journalists.

Along with 3 senior member journalists, the NCEJ as part of the initiative held first of a series of classroom trainings for 13 journalists in Mithi, the district headquarter of Thar Desert.

The National Council of Environmental Journalists is conducting training of its member journalists across Pakistan to raise awareness of environmental issues and climate change in the mainstream Pakistani media.

Under the initiative, the NCEJ has planned to expand its network by selecting 32 new members, who will add to the existing number of 10 senior journalists, bringing the total number of trained journalists to 42.

In total, the NCEJ will hold 8 training sessions: four classroom, and four field training at four different locations, where communities are suffering due to climate change, across Pakistan.
These locations include Thatta in 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 a routine; while the last session will be organised in Pakistan’s commercial hub, Karachi, where a recent heat wave had killed over 2,000 people.

For classroom and field training in Thar Desert, renowned environmental journalist and president NCEJ, Amar Guriro traveled from Karachi with three other NCEJ members to Thar Desert.

Conducting the classroom session, Amar explained the participating journalists what climate change is, and how it is affecting local communities.

Amar said that in countries like Pakistan, crime and political stories dominated the coverage of mainstream media, and advised the young journalists on how to report and publish their work on environment and climate change.

Climate change expert Tanveer Arif, who is also the CEO of Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) also travelled from Karachi to conduct a classroom training session in Mithi for the new members of NCEJ. He explained to the participants different aspects of climate change and its impacts on ecology and particularly the local communities.

Mr Arif explained why climate change brought disasters such as floods in some parts of the country whereas Thar Desert was suffering from droughts, which had adverse impacts on agriculture, livestock and has forced communities to migrate from their native places.

He particularly focused on how the new members of NCEJ can report on local issues related to climate change.

Meanwhile, on request, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Pakistan also sent an official, Nadeem Mirbahar to conduct a training session in Mithi.

Mirbahar, an ecologist who travelled from Karachi, explained to the participants how sea-level rise, droughts, as well as floods as a result of changing climate were becoming serious threats to Pakistan.

He also elaborated on the methods communities can adopt in order to save themselves from severity of these climate-related events.

At the end of the day-long classroom training, the participants were given certificates. The newly-selected members expressed joy and happiness on becoming members of the NCEJ, and vowed to play their role for the betterment of the environment.

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