The garden is desiccated: Dried up, the life sucked out of it like oven dried coconut. Stepping, no matter how lightly, on the lawn, results in a sound akin to a heap of dry cereal being masticated by a hungry child. People do not take climate change seriously. I do A hair dryer wind has been blowing for days and, if the weather forecast is correct, will continue to do so for the next two weeksat least. There hasnt been any rain for weeks now. It did rain for about half an hour in Murree last week, but Murree is 20 kilometres away. It also rained further up the mountains in Nathia Gali Im told butnot even a spatter here in Bhurban where everything that was green or flowering is currently breathing its last. Rain could, note the 'could, arrive at the end of the first week in Julytoo late for vegetable crops which will have become a distant memory by then - disintegrated into powdered dust to feed the soil for the next time aroundif all goes well of course. The fruit trees were hit by an unseasonable cold spell, with snow, in April which blasted the blossom off apple trees, killed forming fruitlets on apricot trees. Plums, being hardier, did survive but are now dropping, shrivelled and lifeless, due to lack of water and late flowering pomegranates have begun shedding blossom like droplets of ruby red blood. Unless a miracle occurs the grapes dont stand a chance. March planted potatoes remain largely ungerminated: Tomato vines, aubergines, capsicums and everything else in the garden have keeled over and lettuce was burnt to a cinder ages ago. For the first time since they were installed 15 years ago, the rain water tanks are empty so I cannot water the garden. I managed, a bit here, a bit there, until a week ago and that was that. The spring water tank for house use is just about empty too. The spring water comes from a house further up the mountain via a long length of plastic pipe, which is stretching and sagging in the blistering heat. I keep phoning the people up there to please send me some water. They always say Yes but they dont, despite the fact that they are paid monthly. People, particularly in this neck of the woods, can be totally unreliable and the weather is increasingly so. Climatic changes are increasing evident, particularly so over the past five years and, while the knock-on effects on growing things may very well be localised right now, that too will change and the famines, these have been long predicted to be on the cards for Pakistan, will hit us all like a ton of bricksa ton of bricks that could, to a liveable extent, have been avoided if, a very big 'If, preventative action had been instigated at the first, then distantly vague, sign of danger. For once, one cannot simply point the finger of blame in governmental directions although, naturally, it is responsible to a point but the government, brandishing whatever manifesto it created to get in power, is not solely responsible for climate change and the extreme weather events manifesting one after the other and ever closer together. The blame for this lies on the shoulders of the entire human race and, closer to home, on how we, the people of Pakistan, continue to allow our country to be destroyed around our ears. The vast majority, make that 99.99 percent of the population, simply do not care what happens around them as long as they personally have what they deem necessary to live a reasonably comfortable existence. As long as there is food on their plates and water to drink they dont give a second thought to where it came from unless, that is, they are addicted to expensive, in both monetary and environmental terms, imported products of the kind they have come to prize above locally grown and locally manufactured items. Lives revolving around 'must have this, 'got to have that are the root cause of global warming and, in order for anything to change, lifestyles must first undergo a major transformation. Most people, however, are far too selfish to consider even investigating the possibility of transforming their lifestyles in line with environmental sensibility which means, ultimately and perhaps in the not too distant future, the world as we know it will, make no mistake about it, come to an untimely end. Call me a 'doom monger if you like and continue to live as youve always lived: Wasting water, chasing consumer goods, wasting electricity, chasing ways and means of life that are totally unsustainable and, if you prefer, as you probably do, to put these words out of your heads, remember to that theres no point in recalling them when the entire system breaks down and there is no food on your plate, no water in the tap and the world has reverted to being a swirling ball of dust quite unable to support life. n The writer is a Murree-based freelance columnist.