It was quite stunning when Kabul popped up on the 350 action map during our first day of action in 2009. Enough so that Public Radio International picked-up on the story as well–click here to listen to the great interview with Afghan 350 organizer Sayed Masood back in 2009. And it was even more remarkable to see the local 350 efforts in Kabul carry on into 2010, when the local team organized a tree-planting event on the outskirts of the city.
Events were planned in Kabul as part of last year’s Moving Planet as well, but the reality is that it has proven immensely challenging for Sayed Masood and other 350 leaders there to expand the climate movement and efforts began to wane in the last year. It should be clear enough as to why circumstances there make climate organizing tough (put extremely mildly).
That is why it has been such a great inspiration these past couple of weeks to learn, despite the ongoing bad news we hear from the country, that Sayed Masood and his friends are once again gearing up for more climate action in Afghanistan. Sayed Masood got back in touch a few weeks ago, just at about the same time that another young Afghan student in the United States contacted us, interested in spreading 350 back home. Together, preparations are underway for Climate Impacts Day on 5/5/12 — and not only in Kabul, but also in a more remote Takhar province in the North, and perhaps elsewhere too.
At the top of the agenda for connecting the dots is drought and water scarcity. Farid, one of the new members of the team, explained to me via skype yesterday that in fact it’s sort of a double impact issue. First there’s the drought conditions forcing rural farmers to leave their land and move to Kabul, and then there’s over-consumption of water in Kabul making water scarcity a challenge there as well.
What sort of visual dot will be planned for 5/5/12 in Kabul, Takhar, or elsewhere in Afghanistan is still being planned, but it’s extraordinarily motivating to know we’re preparing for this day alongside our friends in Afghanistan. Thank you to the 350 Afghanistan movement for showing us what real dedication means in the face of big odds.