Attended largely by young, proactive students from O’ and A’ levels, the conference kick-started on 10th April, with a two-hour workshop organized by the Ministry of Climate Change, in which leading industrialists spoke about their efforts to curb pollution levels and prevent ozone depletion. The speakers were delighted to see the energy and vigor of the delegates, who repeatedly bombarded them with thought-provoking questions. This served to display the level of involvement of the participants, which would show throughout the duration of the event. Perhaps this is what LIFE 2015 had set out to achieve: an active engagement of the youth towards the rapidly deteriorating environment.
The workshop was followed by an interactive session to allow the delegates to get acquainted and expand their network, since any successful future endeavors would require people from different fields to work together for a common cause.
The real learning for the participants began on day II, when each team gave presentations on the environmental problems of their assigned districts, and proposed feasible solutions to overcome them. The presentations lasted the entire day, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The large number of participants enabled a range of environmental issues facing Pakistan to be confronted. These ranged from the side-effects of nuclear tests in Chagai, to the rapid urbanization in Faisalabad, and the desertification problems in the Thar Desert. The delegates were assessed by an esteemed panel of judges that included S.M Abubakr, a WWF representative, and Erum Aftab, head of the Lahore Conservation Society, among others. The adjudicators were amazed by the level of insight and maturity displayed by the young participants, to such an extent that a couple of teams received standing ovations from the experts.
In between the presentations, the delegates and pundits were served chilled latte and Cornetto ice-creams being sampled by Nescafe and Cornetto at LUMS. Moreover, to provide the participants with a break from the hectic routine, a Qawwali Night was organized on the second day, which was a great source of relaxation and entertainment, and capped off a perfect day for the delegates.
Day III included a two-hour competition in which the judges were shown social ad campaigns prepared by the students. The purpose of this activity was to encourage the students to think creatively and come up with ways to create awareness regarding Pakistan’s environmental issues. After the competition, LIFE ’15 was concluded with a closing ceremony, followed by a formal dinner. Aitchison College became the overall winner and received the Trophy, while shields were also handed out for the Best Delegate, Best Social Ad and Best Solution. As a souvenir from the team of LIFE'15, each delegate was provided with free goodie bags to conclude the three-day event.
The LUMS Environmental Action Forum (LEAF) understands and appreciates the difference that each citizen can make in protecting our environment. LEAF is optimistic that LIFE’15 has set a precedent in the country, and hopes that other schools and universities will follow suit in taking this initiative further. Only a collective effort can help solve the rapidly growing environmental problems in the country.
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