First Kashmiri Muslim Engineer on Way to South Pole




Muhammad Tabish Parray
Muhammad Tabish Parray

The International Antarctic Expedition hosted by ‘2014 Foundation’ is to set sail from the shores of Argentina in March 2016.

Muhammad Tabish Parray, an engineering graduate from NIT Srinagar, and a Sustainable Energy Masters fellow in KHT Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, will be a part of the 80 member team heading to the snow covered continent – Antarctica –  to study climate change.

Before Tabish, the only Kashmiri to set foot in the icy Antarctic continent was M K Kaul in 1985.

The expedition focuses on issues of climate change, renewable energy, sustainability and how it affects the planet’s future. “Such a journey is not only a unique experience for me, but is also a great chance to learn about Antarctica and about myself,” says Tabish.

The Expedition will be led by explorer and environmentalist Robert Swan, who is the first person in history to walk unsupported to the North and South Poles.  Robert was also the special envoy to the Director General of UNESCO in 1984.

Under the programme ‘Leadership on the Edge’, the expedition aims to bring together professionals from across the globe to debate, discuss and determine firsthand the effects of climate change.

“I have trekked around Kashmir and seen changes in the Himalayan glaciers for myself, this expedition will be provide me with a better understanding of the ecosystem, experience the unique wildlife and observe the magnificent landscape of Antarctica which has been a dream for me,” says Tabish.

The last year expedition of ‘2014 Foundation’ to Antarctica.
The last year expedition of ‘2014 Foundation’ to Antarctica.

Climate change has been showing its effects in Kashmir, with the drying up of water bodies, change in weather patterns, unnatural and untimely growth of fruits and flowers. An analysis by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in the later part of 2014 suggested the floods and cloud bursts in September were a manifestation of an extreme weather event caused by climate change. The report also suggested that saffron production may be hit by such a phenomenon.

According to Tabish, the effects of climate change are multi-fold. “One cannot just look at climate change in terms of changing landscape and weather. It can dramatically change lives and the way we live, especially in an ecologically sensitive place like Kashmir,” says Tabish. “Sustainable energy is something Kashmir can benefit from, something that helps keep climate change in check. Instead of putting the burden of civilisation on the environment, efficient ways of producing energy while keeping the environment green is something which is already practiced in some parts of the world, Sweden is a great example,” he adds.

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