In terms of global warming, climate change, and other surfeit environmental issues, Pakistan lies in the list of the most vulnerable region. And also declared among the top ten countries most affected by climate change. The placement of our country in the environment related issues isn’t without reasons. True love for the environment is absent on both sides of the aisle-Government and public.

Government institutional disconnect and public apathy over the environmental issues have cost billions in rupees to the indebted economy of Pakistan. Some are used in terms of mitigation measures taken whereas others are used for the post-disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction. Billion Tree Tsunami, Green Pakistan and likewise tree plantation drives have been carried out with an intent to mitigate prevailing environmental challenges on the part of the government. Plantation drive outcomes are indeed a time-consuming but long-term solution to environmental degradation if and only if, the saplings are xerophytes. Because our country is nearing the threshold of water scarcity. Groundwater supplies-the last resort of water supply-are being depleted, which is even more disturbing.

To achieve consequential results of every mitigation strategy of environmental issue, undertaken by the government institutions or other non-governmental environment protection agencies, requires sustainability after the project completion. But our government haven’t taken into consideration the concept of sustainability in its Billion Tree Tsunami, Green Pakistan and similar sapling plantation drives.

Let’s take the example of protection of saplings, one aspect of sustainability, in tree plantation drives is missing. Because we haven’t seen any committed and dedicated public awareness campaigns on large scale for the protection of saplings. The apparent and prevailing environmental issues of Pakistan such as deforestation, air and water pollution, soil erosion, poor waste management system, population expulsion, carbon emission, unclean storm drains (nullahs), excessive plastic and other eco-unfriendly products, can’t be curtailed unless and until a holistic approach is considered. There needs to be a collective national response on the part of all stakeholders’ i.e. civic agencies, policy makers, academia, industries, business communities, and media houses have an important role to play for sustainable environment.

Sustainable environmental is the decisive need of both present and upcoming generations. It is the need of heart and soul. Our environment can’t be made sustainable in the presence of prevailing environmental issues. We have to act holistically and sincerely. Because we are responsible for it in the first place. And in return, each issue is instigating the other.

Henceforth, this vicious cycle of environmental issue must be rooted out first. There we need mainstreaming of environmental education in schools, colleges, and universities. Mainstreaming of environmental education in formal education similar to Billion Tree Tsunami, Green Pakistan and other tree plantation drives. It’s time-consuming but its outcomes are more perennial. Environmental education, unlike sapling plantation drives, is a more overarching strategy of tackling environmental challenges. It is defined as, "A process that allows individuals to explore environmental issues, engage in problem-solving, and take action to improve the environment. As a result, individuals develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues and have the skills to make informed and responsible decisions."

It instills in the student's awareness and sensitivity, knowledge and understanding of the environment and environmental challenges, attitudes of concern for the environment and motivation to improve or maintain environmental quality, skills to identify and help resolve environmental challenges, participation in activities that lead to the resolution of environmental challenges. Investments on the environmental challenges mitigation measures and investments on environmental education are poles apart.

Firstly, through environmental education, the large number of prevalent environmental challenges can be tackled while other mitigation strategies are target specific. Secondly, mainstreaming environmental education in schools, colleges and universities will pay for itself while the former isn’t. It will help students understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment and will also build skills and knowledge crucial for address complex environmental issues, as well as ways through which we can take action to keep our environment sustainable.