Earth Day 2015 – It’s Our Turn to Lead

Like Earth Days of the past, Earth Day 2015 will focus on the unique environmental challenges of our time. As the world’s population migrates to cities, and as the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly clear, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever. Earth Day 2015 will seek to do just that through its global theme: It’s Our Turn to Lead. With smart investments in sustainable technology, forward-thinking public policy, and an educated and active public, we can transform our cities and forge a sustainable future. Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.

Due to rising population, more migration is taking place from rural to urban areas. Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities with urbanisation rates rising and impacts of climate change have prompted the need to create sustainable communities. The Earth day is observed believing that nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.

It is a fact that people are crowding cities and with the increase in population density, pollution of all sorts is increasing as well. Many cities are finding it difficult to cope with this fast urbanisation and to provide basic facilities like shelter, infrastructures, water, sanitation, sewerage, garbage, electricity, transportation etc. to its inhabitants.

People who live in high-density air pollution area, have 20 per cent higher risk of dying from lung cancer, than people living in less polluted areas. Children contribute to only 10 per cent of the world’s population but are prone to 40 per cent of global diseases. More than 3 million children under the age of 5 years die every year due to environmental factors like pollution.

Earth Day 2015 will seek to create awareness amongst people to act in an environmental friendly manner, promote and do smart investments in sustainable urban system transforming our polluted cities into a healthier place and forge a sustainable future. It’s exceptionally challenging for our communities and cities to be green.

Time for Action

It’s time for us to invest in efficiency and renewable energy, rebuild our cities and towns, and begin to solve the climate crisis. Most of the Middle East nations have limited land area and are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change which is affecting the social and environmental determinants of health, clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. We need to audit our actions and see what are we contributing towards your environment and community? Earth Day is a day for action; a chance to show how important the environment is to us. Earth Day is about uniting voices around the globe in support of a healthy planet. The earth is what we all have in common.

Let us be a part of this green revolution, plan and participate in Earth Day activities moving from single-day actions, such as park cleanups and tree-planting parties to long-term actions and commitments and make our city a healthier place to live as the message of the Earth Day is to “Actively participate and adopt environmental friendly habits”.

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Airports: Viable Places for Green Initiatives

Bahrain-airportCan airports ever be green? This is an overwhelming concept in a carbon-driven, and carbon-intensive industry. The reality is that air travel is often the only realistic option for the movement of both people and cargo in the current lifestyle and demands encompassed with time constraints. This is especially critical for the island nation of Bahrain that is so heavily dependent on air travel in terms of food security. With over 90% of all goods: perishable and manufactured, imported into the nation, this carbon-intensive industry is not going to disappear.

Airports themselves, may only contribute 5% to the carbon emissions attributed to the aviation industry, never the less, airport infrastructure could ensure a lowering of emissions, especially nitrogen oxide levels [1]. The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) has statistical evidence of improved fuel efficiency and better CO2 performance over the past 15 years[1]. It is viable for airports to reduce the nitrogen oxide levels around airports by developing ground transportation infrastructure for transferring passengers and deploying employees across the airport terminals, ground handling of personal baggage and commercial cargo, as well as the catering services, in a more eco-friendly mode of transportation.

Scope for Green Airports

Airports are viable places for adoption of green initiatives. A significant portion of the emissions are from vehicle transportation onsite at the airport is from moving employees and passengers between terminals and aircraft carriers. Plus all the freight movement, personal baggage and inflight catering and servicing. To secure adequate food products for Bahrain, the greater part of all food produce that is available on the market (93%) is flown in on a daily basis. The dependency on aviation is long-term but the ground handling is an option for energy efficient initiatives.

There is an opportunity to move from fossil fuel vehicles to those running on clean such as hybrid, electric, bioethanol, biogas or hydrogen-fueled vehicles. As road transportation is a major contributor of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, greener, cleaner vehicles are a desirable consideration for protecting a fragile environment.

Role of Environmental Awareness

Greater awareness of renewable energy sources is necessary before developers can even start to appeal to the business sector to adopt viable alternatives of transportation energy. New airport development and expansion projects need to assess the feasibility of alternative mode of transportation which in turn will require electrical charging locations as well as hydrogen filling stations [2]. This can also be marketed to eco-friendly rental companies to avail themselves of green initiatives.

Freight and delivery corporation could also avail themselves of alternative power sources as petrol subsides are reduced over the coming years. Ultimately, sustainable energy sources will become more attractive. Together, a sustainable transportation model along with other sustainable life-cycle models will all help reduce the carbon footprint of the airport industry.

Airports are considered ideal sites for promoting electricity-powered vehicles because one has a captive audience. If the options are already determined for the clients, the clients experience the use of electric cars in a win-win situation.

Rapid Increase in Passenger Flow

During the month of November, 2016, almost 674,000 passengers passed through the Bahrain airport [3]. There was over 8,500 total aircraft movement and almost 20,000 pieces of cargo and mail in the 30 day period. (Data source: Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications). Based on the November data, the numbers could be extrapolated out for a 12-month period with over 8 million passengers per year, over 100,000 total aircraft movement and 240,000 pieces of cargo and mail.

Similar information based on the official Airport Councils International (ACI) statistics from the World Airport Traffic Reports for the 10-year period from 2005 to 2015 [3]. The reports indicate a yearly average of 7.8 million passengers with over 95,350  total aircraft movements and over 304,000 metric tons of cargo. The steady increase in usage of airport facilities [4] is driving the modernization plans for the Bahrain International Airport to be designed for an annual passenger flow of 14 million persons [5].

Heathrow Airport – An Upcoming Role Model

Heathrow Airport in London handles more than 76 million passengers each year. Heathrow is already conducting trials for electric buses and personal electric cars, as part of a sustainable model, which requires a major input for developing recharging infrastructure. Such a large airport in the heart of a metropolitan centre has the advantage of a well developed public transportation infrastructure.

Electric vehicles at Heathrow Aiport

Electric vehicles at Heathrow Aiport

Both travelers and employees use the public transport systems which allows the advanced planning in other sustainable green technology for other transportation systems. Passenger car parks as well as company car parks have charging points for electric cars. The airport strategic plan is to have all cars and vans electric rather than fossil fuel powered by 2020.

Perspectives for Bahrain

Aviation transportation is vital for Bahrain’s survival and daily operations. Therefore, a eco-friendly infrastructure is a viable option for implementing green technology in the form of onsite transportation. However, the modernization of the Bahrain International Airport has limited its eco-friendly inclusion to ground service equipment such as the transformer substations, pre-conditioned air systems and pop-up units and the 400Hz power supply system all contracted to Cavotec Middle East [5].

This is one step towards achieving the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) decision to implement a global carbon offset for the aviation industry. It would be great to see the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications reach out to other green initiatives for the modernization of the national airport.

 

References

1. Can airports be green? http://www.airport-technology.com/features/feature100283/

2. How airports uniquely placed to boost the adoption of electric cars. https://www.theguardian.com/heathrow-sustainable-mobility-zone/2016/nov/21/airports-uniquely-placed-boost-adoption-electric-cars-emissions-reduction?CMP=ema-1706&CMP=

3. Airports Council International, World Airport Traffic Reports, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2020, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. Traffic by Calendar Year, Official ACI Statistics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahrain_International_Airport

4. Bahrain International Airport witnesses a 25% increase in passenger movement http://www.mtt.gov.bh//press-centre/press-releases/210914

5. New Passenger Terminal Building, Bahrain International Airport, Manama, Bahrain http://www.airport-technology.com/projects/new-passenger-terminal-building-bahrain-international-airport-manama/

Environmental Education: Key to a Better Future

environmental-educationTomorrow's leaders need to be equipped for tomorrow's challenges, and we must adequately prepare our children for the future they will inherit. As climate change is being felt across the globe and its long term catastrophic impacts have never been so scientifically clear, environmental education is the key to a better future. In an era where more and more children are disconnected from nature, we should recognize the importance of making a real investment in environmental education and outdoor learning. Studies have shown environmental education engages students in learning, raising test scores, and encouraging youth to pursue career in environmental and natural resources. And not only that: environmental education can help children perform better in social studies, science, language, arts, and mathematics.

Engagement at Different Levels

The secret to environmental education is to act at different levels, engaging the entire school and addressing students, teachers, parents, administrators and all members of the schools community. Eventually, it will link up all the participants within the community. The components of this initiative depend on interaction and participation, with teachers undertaking a guiding role by encouraging students to discover solutions on their own.

At first students should determine and check the extent of their use of natural resources in the school. Through this, they evaluate their efforts in the field of environmental management. 

As a second step, children should set up and run Eco Clubs. Eco Clubs provide an opportunity to students to participate in environmental projects and activities. They also serve as a forum through which the students share environmental problems, along with the school staff, parents and the community surrounding the school, in order to work on finding solutions, and promote a positive environmental behavior. In this component the schools can implement internal and external projects, such as introducing efficient methods of irrigation, lowering the volume of waste, reducing the consumption of electricity and water and trying to reduce air pollution.

The third step focuses on organizing training courses for teachers and releasing educational resources in different themes and curricula, helping them to teach environmental concepts in innovative ways and through various educational materials. This will help teachers to adapt and to provide students with information about different habitats, biodiversity, climate change and other issues faced at the local level, as well as faced by the planet on a global level.

The final step should be to connect students to environmental causes and issues, and identify solutions through the provision of field trips. Additionally, such trips can be associated with the educational curriculum as they offer direct learning method. This helps boosting the understanding of various concepts by the students, and increasing the chance of using multiple senses such as eyesight, hearing, etc., which helps to raise their capacity to understand what they have learned. The success and engagement of schools to take on the environment field trips is great and extensive and it represents a set full of amazing adventures of exploration and knowledge.

Undoubtedly, the final and greatest outcome is to educate our children on the importance of becoming good environmental citizens.

Challenges in the Middle East

The Middle East region faces difficult natural conditions, and it is clear that steep population growth, poverty and the consequent degradation of natural ecosystems make it a priority when it comes to Environmental awareness and sustainability goals. One of the biggest challenges is certainly the lack of awareness. 

Most countries are blessed with high levels of education, with a large portion of the population pursuing secondary and higher education. Unfortunately however, human development and wealth are not always synonym with high environmental awareness and interest in sustainability issues… Jordan and Lebanon, for example, have their primary focus in tourism, which mostly contributes to their GDPs.

An interesting survey conducted in the Sultanate of Oman revealed that the environmental awareness of the Omani public was related to education level but also to gender and age. Males were found to have a higher level of knowledge about environmental issues than females. Males were also more environmentally concerned and tended to engage in more environmental behaviors than females. Younger and more educated respondents tended to be more knowledgeable and concerned about the environment than older and less educated respondents.

Eco Clubs provide an opportunity to students to participate in environmental projects and activities.

Eco Clubs provide an opportunity to students to participate in environmental projects and activities.

Another challenge that countries such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar are faced with, is trying to reduce their consumption patterns. Even though awareness levels seem to be higher than in other countries, these nations are notorious for their unsustainable consumption rates. For instance, KSA and the UAE’s water consumption have reached 265 and 550 liters per capita per day respectively, which significantly exceeds the world’s average. 

Participation of Emirati Youth

Educating the UAE youth and preparing them to lead the country’s sustainable future is the first goal in the UAE national environmental awareness strategy and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment encourages the youth to innovate and be part of global environmental efforts.

Recently the UAE has taken a major step including environmental education in all schools: back in November Thani Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, announced that awareness of climate change and how to help save the environment will be taught in classrooms across the country.

Under plans to tweak schools' curriculum to include learning on sustainability, schoolchildren will also be shown how to take energy-saving measures. These include schoolchildren of all ages, including in private sector schools, learning the importance of turning off lights and air-conditioning when not in use, and how to use less water. Each pupil will also be encouraged to spread the message to their family and friends. One of these initiatives, called Sustainable Schools, is an extension of a program that started in Abu Dhabi in 2009.

As a consequence to all these efforts taken by the government, I observed an increase in the numbers of UAE nationals volunteers participating in our programs: we've usually had a majority of Indians and Europeans taking part in our tree planting events or in the anti-pollution awareness drives, but lately large groups of young Emiratis have come forward to participate actively in all our programs and we continue to receive many emails asking to become long term volunteers. This is one of the biggest achievements we could wish for the UAE.

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قصص ملهمة – القصة الثانية: ربى الزعبي – ملهمة الابتكار الأخضر والريادة في العمل المجتمعي

rubaalzubi_inspiremenaالمهندسة ربى الزعبي، قيادية وخبيرةٌ معروفة في السياسات البيئية والحوكمة والتخطيط في مجال التنمية المستدامة وتعتبرُ مصدرَ إلهامٍ حقيقيٍّ للشبابِ في الأردن وخارجه. تشغل الزعبي حاليا منصب المدير التنفيذي لجمعية إدامة (EDAMA) وهي منظمة غير ربحية اردنية تمثل إحدى أوائل جمعياتِ الأعمالِ المعنية  بإيجاد حلولٍ مبتكرةٍ في قطاعات الطاقة والمياه والبيئة وتحفيز الاقتصاد الاخضر. ربى الزعبي سفيرة  (قرارات عالمية Global Resolutions) في الأردن وعضوة في شبكة النفع المجتمعي (Plus Social Good) التي تحاول تعزيزِ الوعي ونشرِ قصصِ النجاحَ المتعلقة بالأهداف العالمية للتنمية المستدامة في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا MENA.

وتعتبرُ المهندسة ربى الزعبي من الناشطين في العمل التطوعي وهي أحد مؤسسي المجلس الأردني للأبنية الخضراء  حيث نسقت مرحلة التأسيس ووضع الخطط والتوجهات الاستراتيجية للمجلس مع بقية زملائها أعضاء الهيئة التأسيسية. كما قادت الزعبي قطاع التكنولوجيا النظيفة ضمن برنامج التنافسية الأردني الممول من والذي هدف الى تعزيز القدرة التنافسية للقطاع الخاص وخلق مزيدٍ من فرص العمل وزيادة الصادرات في قطاعات الطاقة النظيفة وإدارة النفايات الصلبة و إدارة المياه.

كما تم اختيارها للمشاركة عن الاردن في برنامج زمالة أيزنهاور للقادة  للعام 2012 حيث تركز برنامجها على مجالات الاقتصاد الأخضر والمباني الخضراء وسياسات الاستدامة في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية. وتم اختيارها في زمالة وارد وييل-لوك Ward Wheelock Fellow عام 2012 لإسهاماتها البارزة في القطاع البيئي وفي مجتمعها بشكل عام. وترتبط المهندسة ربى الزعبي مع منظمة إيكومينا EcoMENA كمرشدة، حيث قدمت دعما هائلاً للمنظمة برفع مستوى الوعي البيئي وتحفيز الشباب ونشر المعرفة.

وهنا تتحدث ربى لأحد شركائنا إمباكت سكويرد Impact Squared حول خلفيتها التعليمية وأبرز إنجازاتها المهنية وكذلك  رؤيتها وتوجهاتها الاستراتيجية.

 

سؤال: هل يمكنكِ أن تُخْبرينا نبذةً بسيطةً عن نفسك وما هو مجال عملك؟

اكملت دراستي كمهندسة مياه وبيئة ، ولاحظت خلال دراستي للهندسة بعدم وجود ترابط بين ماندرسه  ويين التنمية والمجتمع. ومنذ ذلك الحين وأنا أحاول باستمرار تعزيز ذلك الترابط بينهما. عندما تم الإعلان عن تأسيس وزارة البيئة في الأردن عام 2004، حظيت بفرصة المشاركة في وضع وتنفيذ خطط التطوير المؤسسي للوزارة وتحديث توجهاتها الاستراتيجية في مجال التنمية المستدامة، حيث تلقيتُ وقتها الدعمَ والتأييدَ مباشرة من وزير البيئة انذاك والذي كان يؤمن بتمكين المرأة . ب شجعتني هذه التجربة على الحصول   على تدريب متخصص وشهادة في إدارة التغيير المؤسسي لأكون  اكثر قدرة على المساهمة في تطوير القطاع العام في الأردن. أما الآن، فأشغل منصب المديرة التنفيذية  لجمعية إدامة EDAMA ، وهي منظمة غير ربحية تهدف إلى تحفيز القطاع الخاص للمساهمة في الوصول  الى الاقتصاد الأخضر في الأردن والمضي  قُـدُماً في إيجاد حلولٍ مبتكرةٍ ضمن قطاعات الطاقة والمياه والبيئة.

سؤال: ما هي أكبر التحديات أو المشكلات التي تواجهك في عملك؟

هناك قضية كبيرة تواجه العالم بأسره اليوم وتعتبر من أبرز التحديات التي تواجه برامج التنمية المستدامة الا وهي دمج مفاهيم الاستدامة  في التنمية.، ويتضمن ذلك ادراج اهداف وتطبيقات الاستدامة البيئية ضمن مختلف القطاعات والقرارات المتعلقة بالتنمية. نضطر الى المفاضلة  في الكثير من الاحيان.   في الدول النامية  يصعب وضع الاستدامة البيئية في اعلى سلم الأولويات باستمرار، إلا أنه يجب مراعاة كلفة المفاضلة  والخيارات التي نفاضل بينها  خلال  عمليات صنع القرار.

كما أعتقد بأن مسائل أخرى  مثل تكافؤ الفرص والتطوير الوظيفي وسد الفجوة بين التعليم وفرص العمل المطلوبة في السوق جميعها تعتبر من القضايا ذات الأولوية.

حالياً، وبكل أسف لا يوجد الكثير من الابتكار في القطاعات الخضراء، حيث نفتقر إلى وجود الزخم المطلوب للمساعدة على الابتكار في هذا المجال بالذات، ويرجع السبب في ذلك ليس لقلة الموارد الداعمة والمحفزة لمزيد من الإبداع والابتكار الأخضر، بل إلى عدم فهم احتياجات السوق وقلة إدراك العوامل المؤثرة فيه. لا بد من دعم أالرياديين وصحاب المبادرات الخضراء لييتمكنوا من الابتكار من اجل تحقيق الاستدامة . ان الرؤية التي ابقي امام عيني تتضمن هذه القضايا واحاول  كلما سنحت لي الفرصة ان اسلط الضوء على كافة تلك التحديات والمفاهيم ا بهدف حشد الدعم العالمي والوصول إلى تأثير فعلي على نطاق واسع.

سؤال: ما هي  المحفزات التي دفعتك لمواصلة  مسيرتكِ المهنيَّة   وماهي العوامل التي تساعدك على الاستمرار؟

لقد عملت في القطاعين العام والخاص والمنظمات الدولية والجهات المانحة. وارغب حقيقة في العمل في أالمكان الذي يمكنني من أن اترك قيمة مضافة وأثر مستدام.  واعتبر عملي الآن لدى منظمة غير ربحية تحدياً وذلك بسبب الحاجة الدائمة إلى توفير مصادر تمويل لضمان الاستدامة المالية للمنظمة، الا انه لابد من أن نكون قريبين بشكل كبير من الناس والمجتمع حيث تكمن الاحتياجات الحقيقية. إن العمل في جمعية إدامة له ميزة إضافية تتمثل في العمل مع القطاع الخاص ويمكنني من هذا الموقع  تعزيز الربط ما بين المجتمعات المحلية القطاع الخاص وهو جانب واعد لنا في الأردن.

ruba-al-zubi

 كلما فطرنا أكثر في الطاقة المستدامة التي يمكن أن نقدمها للجميع، خصوصاً في ظل الظروف الراهنة التي ألقت بظلالها على المنطقة بشكل عام وتأثر بها الأردن بشكل خاص وتدفق مئات الآلاف من اللاجئين السوريين إلى الأردن، كلما تمكنا من تخفيف الضغط على الاقتصاد والموارد الطبيعية.

سؤال: كيف تنظرين الى موضوع القيادة ؟ وما هي المهارات والقيم الواجب توفرها في القيادِيِّ الناجح؟

قمت مؤخراً باصطحاب فريقي لتناول الافطار، حيث ذكر لي أعضاء فريقي بأنهم يستيقظون صباحاً وهم سُـعَـداء لأنهم يشعرون بالتمكين والتقدير.  نوفر في ادامة مساحة لعضاء الفريق للإبداع والابتكار والمشاركة في اتخاذ القرار بعيدا عن التنفيذ الحرفي لافكار الغير حيث أعتبر ان هذا التوجه من اهم العوامل الواجب توافرها في المنظمات غير الربحية الرائدة.   ر.  كقائدة يهمني للغاية خلق مجتمعٍ صغيرٍ يُـمَـكِّـنُ أعضاءه من خلق مجتمعات اكبر حول القضايا التي نعمل من اجل تحسينها وتطويرها.  . اذا فشلنا في خلق مجمع داخلي صغير لن ننجح في التأثير على المجتمع الخارجي الأكبر.

أردد على الدوام أنني اتمنى لو كان لي مرشد في مرحلة مبكرة من مشواري العملي- حيث لم يكن هذا الموضوع شائعاً عندما كنت أصغر سناً. لدي الآن اكثر من مرشد وانا ايضا مرشدة لعدد من الشباب والفتيات  أعتقد بأن مثل هذه العلاقات هامة جدا .  ومن المهم ايضا للمرشد  ان يعرف كيف  يوصل دعمه للشخص المتلقي للارشاد لكن دون التأثير على قراراته. أستمتع حين ارشد شخصا ما ليجد الطريق وكم كنت أتمنى لو كان لدي في بداية حياتي العملية شخصا  يرشدني  بنفس الاسلوب. كذلك فان دعم الأسرة والأصدقاء يساهم في تعزيز روح القيادة. فكلما زاد ارتياحنا في الحياة الشخصية كلما استطعنا أن نعطي أكثر للمجتمع وعلى المستوى المهني. أعتبر نفسي محظوظةً لوجود هذه الميزة في حياتي.

 تمتعت بالقيادة من مواقع مختلفة ولم اتجاوز الثلاثين من العمر ولهذا مميزات وسلبيات. اذا لم يكن القائد على المستوى المطلوب من النضج فقد ينعكس ذلك سلبا على نظرة الناس له ولكل القادة الشباب بشكل عام.  لذلك من الأهمية بمكان أن يجد القائد الوقت للتوقف والنظر والتقييم الذاتي للتطور الشخصي والمهارات المكتسبة بين الفترة والأخرى. التعلم من التجربة الذاتية هام لتكوين قيادات فاعلة. يحتاج النضوج المهني والشخصي الى وقت … هذا ما أحاول باستمرار ان اوضحه للاجيال الشابة التي قد يقودها الاندفاع الى الرغبة في تسلق السلم بسرعة كبيرة.

سؤال: كقيادية، ما هي القِـيَـم والمبادئ التي  تقود عملية اتخاذ القرارات  لديك؟

بشكل عام، أحاول تطبيق القيم والمبادئ الاجتماعية والبيئية التي أؤمن بها. أقدر شخصيا قيم العدالة الاجتماعية وتكافؤ الفرص  والعدالة المبنية على النوع الاجتماعي، والتي أدى عدم مراعاتها  الى ما آلت اليه الاوضاع في منطقتنا العربية.

اذا لم نستطع كقادة مراعاة ودمج هذه القيم في حياتنا الشخصية ومن ثم المهنية، فلن يتم تطبيق هذه المبادئ على أرض الواقع وعبر المستويات المختلفة.

 

ملاحظة: تم إعادة نشر هذه المقابلة بالتنسيق مع شريك  إيكومينا EcoMENAإمباكت سكويرد Impact Squared، يمكنكم قراة النص الأصلي للمقابلة هنا.

 

ترجمه

جعفر أمين فلاح العمري

جعفر العمري، أردني مقيم منذ عام 2011 في الرياض- المملكة العربية السعودية، مهتم بمجال إدارة المشاريع ويخطط لتقديم امتحان شهادة إدارة المشاريع الاحترافية PMP. لديه خبرة واسعة تجاوزت 12 عاماً كمهندس في المشاريع الهندسية المتخصصة في قطاعات المياه والبيئة، في مجالات: التخطيط والإدارة والتنمية، والعمل كجزء من فريق متكامل في العديد من الشركات والمنظمات العربية والدولية.

The City of Nouakchott – Perspectives and Challenges

Nouakchott, capital city of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is the biggest city in the Sahara region. Like other major cities worldwide, the city is plagued by environmental, social and economical challenges. Sewage disposal network, dating back to 1960’s is no longer sufficient for Nouakchott. The country is heavily dependent on fossil fuels and woody biomass for meeting energy requirements, though there is good potential of solar, wind and biomass energy. Solid waste management is becoming a major headache for city planners. Population is increasing at a tremendous pace which is putting tremendous strain on meagre civic resources.

Making of a City

Mauritania is a Western African country bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Morocco, Algeria, Mali and Senegal. Most of its 1,030,700 km2 are covered by deserts. A country as wide as Egypt, it is only scarcely inhabited by some 3.500.000 people. A crossing of cultures, most of the country is inhabited by Arab nomads, the Moors, while the South is inhabited by the African Toucouleur and Soninke people.

Before the country became independent in 1960, the French founded the new capital city Nouakchott. Originally, Nouakchott was a city intended for 3.000 inhabitants. Most of the inhabitants were nomads and the city was established at a meeting place and cattle fair for the nomads. The etymology of the name may mean salt marsh or shore. The area is flat, protected from the sea by low dunes and originally bordered by savannah type vegetation.

After independence, the city grew very quickly, well beyond the expectation of its French founders. In the 1970’s Mauritania sided with Morocco in the Western Sahara war, and was badly defeated by the Polisario rebels. The war caused a massive arrival of refugees from the combat zones in Northern Mauritania. At the same time, drought and famine devastated the whole Sahel region which causes a large-scale refugee influx in the Nouakchott region.

Problems Galore

The arrival of refugees swelled the population of the city, making it the fastest growing city in the region, apart from causing a massive disruption in the environment. For decades, the majority inhabitants of Nouakchott lived in slums. The refugees came with their cattle and contributed to the destruction of existing savanna vegetation by overgrazing. The sand dunes quickly became loose and began to threaten the city from the East and North. Chaotic urbanization caused further environmental destruction, destroying the littoral zone.

The city also suffered social problems, as traditional ways of life disappeared. Former shepherds, agricultural workers and freed slaves became urban poors with little education and abilities to fit in a new economical model. The modern way of life lead to proliferation in plastics items and the landscape of Nouakchott got littered with all sorts of wastes, including plastic bags and bottles.

Nouakchott continues to grow with population reaching one million. However there is stark absence of basic amenities in the city.  Apart from several wells, there are no potable water supplies. The city had no bituminous road beside the two main avenues until recently. The city lacks urban planning, wastewater management and waste management. The construction of harbour and urbanization has led to the destruction of the littoral dunes. The city is in real danger of being flooded in case of sea storm or high tide. The most threatened place is Tevragh Zeina, the most affluent part of the city.

Sand dunes are another cause of worry for Nouakchott. In the 1990’s a Belgian project for the construction of a green belt helped in stopping the progression of dunes. However with expansion of the city, people have now started to build their dwellings in the green belt. The city is also at risk of being flooded in case of rain. In September 2013, during late rainy season, several parts of the city were flooded by rain. Parts of the city are still marked by semi-permanent sewage pools which are a major threat to public health.

Silver Lining

Environment and sustainable development has become a priority during rule of President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz. The government has built roads in Nouakchott and constructed a water abduction system for bringing water from the Senegal River. Slums have been replaced by social dwellings for the poorest.  New schools, hospitals and universities are sprouting at a rapid pace.

Plans are underway to develop the interior of the country to stop internal immigration to Nouakchott. The country is also making made ambitious climate change strategies and has banned the use of plastic bags which has led to its replacement by biodegradable or reusable bags. Mauritania has rich biodiversity, especially in its sea. Infact, the country has many biodiversity hotspots which may attract people for ecotourism. 

There are huge challenges to be tackled to transform Nouakchott into a modern city. Due to nomadic links, Mauritania’s Arabs have a special link to desert and are counted among the environmentally-conscious people of Western and North Africa. However considerable efforts are required to educate the people living in and around Nouakchott and motivate them to become an active participant in sustainable development of the city.

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Green Resolutions for New Year

green-resolutionsThis year, in addition to our personal goals, let us make another New Year resolution: to make this year the year we really ‘go green’. Supporting environmental initiatives should be one of our main priorities and needs to be reflected through our resolutions and commitment to safeguard it against all forms of pollution and to protect our fragile and finite resources. Depending on our age, work, location etc., our priorities may be different but our actions should be in unison towards environmental protection.

We need to understand that we have very recklessly plundered the global resources in a short span of time that is causing many adversities and catastrophes, but we are the only species that have to take preventive measures to avoid any such occurrences in future. Let us make sincere pledges and serious commitments towards our planet and protecting our environment.

Let us, at the least, try to support the following activities and tasks starting from this year and onward, if we have not practiced earlier:

  • Protect and enhance the green spaces, parks and playgrounds.
  • Utilizing our roof for gardening and creating green areas.
  • Enviauditing of our household and office related activities. Improving tasks that require electricity and water usage.
  • Use minimum water for our daily activities.
  • Wash clothes in normal water and washing only when full loads are in the dishwasher and washing machine.
  • Turn off the faucet while we brush our teeth or shave.
  • Watering our lawn in the morning/ evening to reduce evaporation losses.
  • Changing incandescent bulbs for C.F.L.s.
  • Conserve energy in all forms. Switch lights when not in use.
  • Unplug mobile charger and computer after use as it wastes a lot of energy.
  • Avoid fast fashion. Reduce our insatiable appetite for design apparel and related clothing that we wear for only one season and throw it in next. Only buy what you need.
  • Do green shopping and donate items/ clothes we do not use.
  • Detox your home. Only use safe chemicals and detergents as household cleaning products for furniture, bathrooms and clothes including air fresheners.
  • Reuse and recycle material
  • Plan vehicle trips to avoid peak hours and traffic congestion.
  • Avoiding wasting any food items.
  • Avoid plastic bags and taking our own bag for shopping.
  • Avoid using Styrofoam cups, disposable cutlery and other related items.
  • Avoid un-necessary print outs and photocopy.
  • Minimize using bottled drinking water. This is expensive and generates plastic bottles waste. Instead use filtering equipment at home or use large refillable and reusable bottles.
  • Avoid using paper towels and napkins. Instead use cotton clothes and old used fabrics.
  • Enhancing our awareness by reading and knowing more on environment.

Let us make sincere pledges and serious commitments towards our planet and protecting our environment (Image Courtesy: www.inhabitat.com)

Let us make sincere pledges and serious commitments towards our planet and protecting our environment (Image Courtesy: www.inhabitat.com)

Enjoy the festivities of the season and be a more responsible citizen of the world. Happy New Year!

New Fines for Littering in Bahrain

Littering is a common phenomenon both in urban and rural areas of Bahrain. Streets, sidewalks, parking lots, roads and highways are mostly covered with food wrappers, soft drink and water bottles, plastic bags, handbills, cigarette butts, tissues, papers etc. Litter has the potential to cause harm to human health, safety, welfare as well as the environment. Littering can be a fire hazard and it attracts pests and rodents. Litter also cause accidents on roads as drivers avoid litter on road. Litter also harm plants, vegetation and natural areas. The temptation to ‘litter’ is usually motivated by disrespect to the law and its enforcement as well as ignorance and arrogance in our attitude, thinking that municipalities will clean our mess.

There are several factors that may impact on littering behaviour including inconvenience and laziness, absence of ownership or pride for the area, feeling that someone else will pick it up, number, placement and appearance of litter bins at or near the site, absence of realistic penalties, enforcement of legislation, lack of social pressure and lack of knowledge of the environmental impacts of littering.

New Littering Fines in Bahrain

The local authorities in Bahrain have now taken cognizance of the situation. Now littering on Bahrain's roads could carry fines of up to BD300 if a new draft law is passed by parliament. The National Cleanliness Law was approved by the Capital Trustees Board last week and includes tougher punishments for dumping waste, leaving animal faeces on the streets, and disposing of medical or hazardous substances in public. The new law will give more judicial power to the municipal officials to penalize the offenders.

Under the existing law which is almost three decades old, offenders are fined only BD10 for littering. However, if the new rules are implemented, then fines for minor offences will range between BD100 and BD300 and for serious offences will be between BD500 and BD1,000.

Capital Trustees Board chairman has very rightly mentioned that ‘Dumping and littering have become a habit for a number of people and it needs immediate action, especially with fines not matching the offences. The fines once imposed will be monitored by the Capital Trustees Authority, and Bahrain's three other municipalities.

Thus, dumping and littering whether on main roads or neighborhoods, on pavements or alleys, at beaches or wasteland are prohibited. Also, dumping anything that may obstruct traffic or prevent people from movement is illegal whether it is garden waste, construction waste, furniture, vehicles or any other materials.

Conquering Litter

Litter can be conquered. People can make a difference. It is our responsibility to clean up the litter in an ‘earth-friendly manner.’ Clean communities have a better chance of attracting new business, residents and tourists. There is no reason for any of us to litter because we can always find a litter bin to throw the trash away.

Let us set an example for others, especially children, by not littering and by carrying a litterbag in our vehicle, securely covering trash containers to prevent wind or animals from spreading litter, when visiting parks and recreation areas make sure to leave the area clean for the next person to enjoy and restricting the distribution and disposal of handbills.

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

EcoMENA – Vision and Mission

The MENA region is plagued by a host of issues including water scarcity, waste disposal, food security, industrial pollution and desertification. Providing free access to quality information and knowledge-based resources motivates youngsters in a big way. EcoMENA provides encouragement to masses in tackling major environmental challenges by empowering them with knowledge and by providing them a solid platform to share their views with the outside world.

Salman Zafar, Founder of EcoMENA, talks to the Florentine Association of International Relations (FAIR) about the vision, aims, objectives and rationale behind the creation of EcoMENA. The original version of the interview can be viewed at http://goo.gl/dnfa4K

 

FAIR: What is EcoMENA and what is its primary mission?

Salman Zafar: EcoMENA came into existence in early 2012 with the primary aim to raise environmental awareness in the MENA region and provide a one-stop destination for high-quality information on environment, energy, waste, water, sustainability and related areas.

EcoMENA has made remarkable progress within a short period of time and has huge knowledge base in English as well as Arabic catering to all aspects of sustainability sector, including renewable energy, resource conservation, waste management, environment protection and water management.

FAIR: How did the idea of such an activity come from?

Salman Zafar: While doing research sometimes back, I noticed lack of easily-accessible information on Middle East environmental sector. EcoMENA was launched to empower masses with updated information on Middle East sustainability sector and latest developments taking place worldwide.

EcoMENA is an online information powerhouse freely accessible to anyone having an interest in sustainable development. Our articles, reports and analyses are well-researched, well-written and of the highest professional standards.

FAIR: What is the “state of the art” in the field of sustainability and environment protection in the MENA countries?

Salman Zafar: Unfortunately environment protection is not given due importance by regional countries, though there has been some high-profile initiatives like Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. Sustainability is, no doubt, making its way in the Middle East but the progress has been slow and unsatisfactory.

The MENA region is plagued by a host of issues including water scarcity, waste disposal, food security, industrial pollution and desertification. A regional initiative with a multi-pronged strategy is urgently required to protect the environment and conserve scarce natural resources.

FAIR: What are EcoMENA aims and initiatives for the future?

Salman Zafar: One of the major objectives of EcoMENA is to provide a strong platform for Middle East youngsters to showcase their talents. We are mentoring young students and providing them opportunities to display their innovativeness, creativity and dedication towards environment protection.

Providing free access to quality information and knowledge-based resources motivates youngsters in a big way. EcoMENA provides encouragement to people in tackling major environmental challenges by empowering them with knowledge and by providing them a solid platform to share their views with the outside world. With soaring popularity of social media, networking plays a vital role in assimilation of ideas, knowledge-sharing, scientific thinking and creativeness.

We have a strong pool of expert writers from different parts of the world, and remarkably supported by a handful of volunteers from across the MENA region. Apart from being an information portal, EcoMENA also provide expert guidance and mentorship to entrepreneurs, researchers, students and general public.

FAIR: Do you think there is enough attention and sensitiveness in the sustainable development?

Salman Zafar: Things are slowly, but steadily, changing in most of the MENA countries and a more concerted and organized effort is required to bring about a real change in the prevalent environmental scenario.

A green MENA requires proactive approach from all stakeholders including governments, corporates and general public. Strong environmental laws, promotion of clean energy and eco-friendly projects, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, institutional support and funding, implementing resource conservation, raising environmental awareness and fostering entrepreneurial initiatives are some of the measures that may herald a ‘green revolution’ in the region.

FAIR: In your opinion, what is the “added value” of your mission?

Salman Zafar: EcoMENA endeavor to create mass awareness about the need for clean and green environment in the Middle East through articles, projects, events and campaigns. EcoMENA is counted among the best and most popular Middle East sustainability initiatives with wide following across the world.

Our goal is to transform EcoMENA into a regional cleantech and environmental hub by providing quality information, professional solutions and high level of motivation to people from all walks of life.

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

الاستدامة البيئية في الإسلام

إن المعتقدات، التقاليد والقيم الإسلامية وفرت حلول فعالة وشاملة لمواجهة العديد من التحديات البيئية الحالية التي تواجه الجنس البشري. لقد أكد الإسلام على أهمية المحافظة على البيئة وحماية الموارد الطبيعية. ووفقا لتعاليم الشريعة الإسلامية, فإن العناصر الأساسية للطبيعة – الأرض، الماء، النار، الغابات والضوء- تعود ملكيتها إلى جميع الكائنات الحية وليس فقط للجنس البشري.

إن القرآن الكريم والسنة النبوية الشريفة يعتبران نبراسا في تعزيز مفهوم التنمية المستدامة في الدول الإسلامية، وكذلك في جميع أنحاء العالم. أمر الله سبحانه وتعالى البشر بتجنب إلحاق الأذى وهدر الموارد الطبيعية والذي من شأنه تدمير وتدهور البيئة. إن الله سبحانه وتعالى ميز الجنس البشري باستغلال الموارد الطبيعية وجعله كوصي عليها، وهذا يندرج تحته ضمان الحق في استخدام كافة الموارد على أن لا يلحق بها الضرر  والتدمير.

القرآن الكريم والبيئة

أشار القرآن الكريم في العديد من السور والآيات الكريمة إلى مفهم البيئة والى بعض المبادئ الهامة للحفاظ عليها, حيث وضع قواعد عامة تحدد مدى استفادة الإنسان من الموارد الطبيعية المختلفة. المبدأ الأول الذي يوجه التعاليم الإسلامية نحو الاستدامة البيئية وهو ما يرف بمفهوم "الوصاية". كون الإنسان يعتبر الخليفة أو "الوصي" حيث يمكنه الانتفاع بما خلق الله من خيرات دون إسراف أو تبذير لانها ليست خاصة به وحده بل للمجتمع وللأجيال القادمة.فيجب عليه اتخاذ جميع الخطوات والتدابير اللازمة لضمان حفظ وصيانة تلك الممتلكات والتأكد من تمريرها إلى الأجيال اللاحقة بأفضل شكل ممكن. لذا اعتبر الإسلام أن الإنسان هو خادم للطبيعة ويجب أن يتعايش بانسجام مع كافة المخلوقات الأخرى. لذا فمن واجب المسلمين جميعا احترام ورعاية والحفاظ على البيئة.

إن الفساد بجميع أنواعه، بما فيه الفساد البيئي والذي يشمل التلوث الصناعي، الإضرار بالبيئة، والتهور وسوء إدارة الموارد الطبيعية مكروه من الله سبحانه وتعالى.

قال الله تعالى في القرآن الكريم:

"ويسعون في الأرض فساداً والله لا يحب المفسدين" – سورة المائدة، آية – 64

"ولا تفسدوا في الأرض بعد إصلحها ذلكم خير لكم إن كنتم مؤمنين" – سورة الأعراف، آية  – 85

"يبني آدم خذوا زينتكم عند كل مسجد وكلوا واشربوا ولا تسرفوا إنه لا يحب المسرفين" – سورة الأعراف، آية – 31

"ولا تبغ الفساد في الأرض إن الله لا يحب المفسدين" – سورة القصص، آية –  77

وفقا للقرآن الكريم، فإن الحفاظ على البيئة يعتبر واجب ديني وكذلك التزام اجتماعي، ولا يعتبر مسألة اختيارية. إن استغلال أي من الموارد الطبيعية يدرج تحت بند المسآلة والحفاظ على تلك الموارد.

الحديث النبوي الشريف والبيئة

إن الأحاديث النبوية الشريفة وتعاليم وتقاليد سيدنا محمد (صلى الله عليه وسلم) تناولت بشكل واسع العديد من الجوانب البيئية كالحفاظ على المصادر الطبيعية، واستصلاح الأراضي، والحفاظ على نظافة البيئة، حيث نهى سيدنا محمد (صلى الله عليه وسلم)  عن الإسراف في الاستهلاك والبذخ والترف وحث على الاعتدال في جميع مناحي الحياة, وهذا ما أكد عليه القرآن الكريم.

كما نهى سيدنا محمد(صلى الله عليه وسلم)  عن قطع الأشجار وتدمير المحاصيل حتى في أوقات الحرب وإن كان وجودها ذا فائدة للعدو. وأولى سيدنا محمد أهميه كبيرة للزراعة المستدامة للأراضي وكيفية تعامل الإنسان مع الحيوانات والحفاظ على المصادر الطبيعية وحماية البيئة البرية.  إن من أقوال الرسول محمد (صلى الله عليه وسلم) بشأن الاستدامة البيئية:

 قال انس رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: ( ما من مسلم يغرس غرسا او يزرع زرعا فيأكل منه إنسان أو بهيمة إلا كان له به صدقه)

قال أبي أيوب الأنصاري رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: ( ما من رجل يغرس غرسا إلا كتب الله له من الأجر قدر ما يخرج من ثمر ذلك الغرس)

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ( من نصب شجرة فصبر على حفظها والقيام عليها حتى تثمر كان له في كل شيء يصاب من ثمرها صدقة عند الله عز وجل)  .

أكد سيدنا محمد (صلى الله عليه وسلم) على ضرورة الاقتصاد والاعتدال  وعدم الإسراف والإفراط  في التعامل مع الموارد الطبيعية. ومن اجل حماية الأراضي والغابات والحياة البرية، أنشأ سيدنا محمد (صلى الله عليه وسلم)   مناطق محمية عرفت بـ "الحرم" و " الحمى" والتي ضمن حدودها لا يتم المساس بالموارد الطبيعية خلال فترات زمنية محددة. إن ما يعرف بـ "الحرم" هي المناطق المحيطة بمصادر المياه أنشئت بهدف حماية المياه الجوفية من الاستنزاف والاستخدام الجائر، أما بالنسبة للـ "الحمى" يطلق على البيئة البرية والغابات وهي مناطق يمنع فيها الرعي وقطع الأخشاب وفيها يتم حماية أنواع معين من الحيوانات مثل الإبل.

انشأ سيدنا محمد(صلى الله عليه وسلم)  ما يسمى بـ "الحمى" إلى الجنوب من المدينة المنورة ومنع خلال أوقات معينة في تلك المناطق الصيد داخل دائرة نصف قطرها أربعة أميال، ومنع فيها قع الأشجار والنباتات داخل دائرة نصف قطرها اثني عشر ميلاً. إن إنشاء تلك المناطق المحرمة يدل على الأهمية التي أولاها الرسول للإدارة والاستخدام المستدام  للموارد الطبيعية وحماية البيئة البرية والأراضي الزراعية.

 

ترجمة: مها الزعبي, طالبة دكتوراه( كلية التصميم البيئي –  جامعة كالجري, كندا)

للمزيد من المعلومات:  (http://evds.ucalgary.ca/profiles/maha-al-zu-bi)

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Green Girl’s Message to the World

These are strange times indeed. Children today are bombarded with phrases such as global warming, carbon footprint and deforestation. These scary terms were totally alien a hundred years ago, but we only have ourselves to blame for their importance now. I ask you a simple question “What kind of future are you leaving for children and youth like me?”

Every day, every minute we are writing an epitaph for a lake, or a wetland or a forest. The mighty river Ganges which once flowed, pristine and pure, from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, is now a cesspool of filth. The roaring Yangste River has forgotten its original trail thanks to the numerous dams and barrages which it encounters.

The Himalayas, shorn of their glacial cover, look like dull pieces of chalk. The historic Dodo is now rejoicing at the thought that it may soon have tigers, lions and pandas for company. The Caspian Sea is now more of a lake than a sea. Caviar may soon be just a word in the dictionary, given the rate at which sturgeons are being fished out.

Every day, while millions go hungry, we let tons of food rot in warehouses. Thousands of children walk miles in the scorching heat to collect a bucket of brackish water because the world does not take note while the rivers dry up.

The questions that arise are: by the time my child goes to school, how many more such species, lakes, forests, rivers will disappear? What kind of environment will the future generations inherit? Isn’t now time ripe to institute ombudspersons for our future generations so that we can prevent reoccurence of environmental disasters? The question that we ask is when, instead of why.

In the words of Robert Swan, “The Greatest Threat to Our Planet Is the Belief That Someone Else Will Save It”. I implore you to take action and turn back the clock before it is too late. We urge you not to ignore us. Listen to us, involve us, allow us to help you in framing the policies that will deliver the future we want.

In the the words of Mother Teresa – “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Thank you.

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الحرب في معادلة السلوك البشري والتنمية المستدامة

الأهمية الاستراتيجية لمعادلة السلوك البشري والتنمية المستدامة صارت في مقدمة أولويات مبادئ المشروع الدولي البيئي، وتمثل تلك المبادئ توجهاً مهماً لبناء النهج الدولي المؤسس في بعده الاستراتيجي لمنظومة السلوك البشري الرشيد الذي يُكون الأركان الرئيسة لمعادلة خطة العمل الدولية لإنجاز أهداف التنمية المستدامة. ويتجسّد ذلك في النظرة الاستراتيجية في معالجة العوامل المكوّنة للخطر البيئي على الأمن الإنساني وتحديد الاتجاهات المنهجية لاستبعاد مؤسسات السلوك البشري غير الرشيد كعامل رئيس في منظومة ذلك الخطر.

الحروب المتصاعدة وآثارها التدميرية في العديد من البلدان والمناطق في العالم، من أكثر السلوك البشري غير الرشيد خطراً على صحة الإنسان والبيئة، وتشكّل أداة التدمير بعيدة المدى في آثارها السلبية على منظومة الأمن الإنساني والبيئي، وذلك جانب تنبهت إلى مخاطره البشرية وعملت على إقرار المبادئ والإلتزامات القانونية للحد من مضاعفاته السلبية على الأمن البشري قبل التنظيم الدولي الحديث لضبط الممارسات والأنشطة السلبية، والحد من تداعيات مخاطر السلوك البشري غير الرشيد على الأمن الإنساني والبيئي.

ويمكن الإشارة إلى عدد من الوثائق الدولية التي تعالج في قواعدها القانونية علاقة السلوك البشري بالبيئة، ومنها على سبيل المثال، اتفاقيتا لاهاي 1899 و1907 الخاصتان بقوانين وأعراف إدارة الحروب البرية والبحرية، وبروتوكول جنيف الخاص بحظر استعمال الغازات السامة والوسائل الجرثومية في إدارة الحروب للعام 1925، والقرار رقم (2603) الصادر عن الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة في دورتها الرابعة والعشرين المنعقدة في 16 ديسمبر/ كانون الأول 1969، الذي أكّدت فيه على «أن استخدام المواد الكيماوية والجرثومية في العمليات العسكرية يتعارض وقواعد القانون الدولي المعروفة والمحدّدة في بروتوكول جنيف للعام 1925».

وكذلك اتفاقيات جنيف الخاصة بحماية المدنيين في ظروف النزاعات المسلحة للعام 1949، والبروتوكولات المكملة لها للعام 1977، واتفاقية حظر استحداث وإنتاج الأسلحة الجرثومية والكيماوية 1973. وتعد مبادئ هذه الاتفاقيات من القواعد القانونية الدولية المهمة التي تتناول علاقة الإنسان بالبيئة وقضايا أمن وسلامة الإنسان في ظروف النزاعات المسلحة.

المجتمع الدولي وأخذاً في الاعتبار بالحقائق المحيطة بواقع المعضلات الدولية وتطور التقنيات العسكرية وما يمكن أن يؤدي إليه ذلك من استخدام تلك التقنيات في التعدي على منظومة البيئات الطبيعية في عملياتها الحربية، جرى التوقيع على اتفاقية حظر استخدام تقنيات التغيير في البيئة لأغراض عسكرية أو لأية أغراض عدائية أخرى (1976)، وتضمينها بالالتزامات التي تحرّم الأنشطة ذات الأبعاد السلبية على الإنسان والبيئة، والتأكيد في الفقرة (1) من المادة الأولى، على أن «تتعهد كل دولة طرف في هذه الاتفاقية بعدم استخدام تقنيات التغيير في البيئة ذات الآثار الواسعة الانتشار أو الطويلة البقاء أو الشديدة لأغراض عسكرية أو لأية أغراض عدائية أخرى كوسيلة لإلحاق الدمار أو الخسائر أو الإضرار بأية دولة طرف أخرى».

وبينت المادة الثانية أنه «يقصد بعبارة «تقنيات التغيير في البيئة» كما هي مستعملة في المادة الأولى، «أية تقنية لإحداث تغيير- عن طريق التأثير المتعمد في العمليات الطبيعية – في دينامية الكرة الأرضية أو تركيبها أو تشكيلها، بما في ذلك مجموعات أحيائها المحلية (البيوتا) وغلافها الصخري وغلافها المائي وغلافها الجوى، أو دينامية الفضاء الخارجي أو تركيبه أو تشكيله».

القضايا المحيطة بواقع الآثار السلبية المحتملة للأنشطة الحربية على منظومة المعالم البيئية والأمن الإنساني، دفعت المجتمع الدولي للعمل على إحاطتها بمنظومة من المبادئ والالتزامات التوافقية ضمن استراتيجية المشروع الدولي البيئي، وجرى معالجتها منذ الخطوة الأولى للدول المتمثلة في حرصها المشترك على العمل على تنظيمها للمؤتمرات الدولية التي تعالج المعضلات البيئية العالمية، حيث جرى في مؤتمر الأمم المتحدة المعني بالبيئة (1972) التأكيد في المادة (26) على أنه «يجب أن يكفي الإنسان وبيئته الآثار المترتبة على الأسلحة النووية وأسلحة التدمير الشامل الأخرى. ويجب أن تسعى الدول جاهدةً، في إطار الهيئات الدولية المختصة، إلى تحقيق اتفاقٍ في أقرب الآجال بشأن إزالة هذه الأسلحة وتدميرها بالكامل».

وبالاتساق مع ذلك النهج، جرى الحرص في إعلان ريو بشأن البيئة والتنمية (1992) بالنص على جملة من الالتزامات، تمثلت في ما نص عليه المبدأ (24) الذي أكّد على «أن الحرب بحكم طبيعتها تدمر التنمية المستدامة، ولذلك يجب أن تحترم الدول القانون الدولي الذي يوفّر الحماية للبيئة وقت النزاعات المسلحة، وأن تتعاون في زيادة تطويره عند اللزوم».

وبالتوافق مع ذلك شدّد المبدأ (25) على أن «السلم والتنمية وحماية البيئة أمور مترابطة لا تتجزأ»، والتأكيد في المبدأ (26) «على الدول أن تفض جميع منازعاتها البيئية سلمياً وبالوسائل الملائمة، وفقاً لميثاق الأمم المتحدة». وفي السياق ذاته تؤكد الدول في المبدأ (56) من وثيقة مؤتمر القمة العالمية للتنمية المستدامة (2002) على «أن النزاعات المسلحة والحروب هي بطبيعتها مناوئة للتنمية المستدامة»، وتتبنى في المبدأ (67) عدداً من الالتزامات، وتنص «نحن ملتزمون بالعمل على جميع المستويات اللازمة لحماية كوكبنا، والنهوض بالتنمية البشرية، وتحقيق الرفاه والسلم العالميين».

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Waste Management Implications of 3D Printing

The rapid deployment of 3D printing is one of the most exciting developments since the appearance of the smart phone. This is technology with some serious potential to change how and where goods are manufactured, transforming supply chains. The New Scientist has gone so far as to herald 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, as ushering in a second industrial revolution. But is anyone thinking about how what this new development means for the waste sector?

Whilst the technology is already being put to some dubious uses, the ability to manufacture pretty much anything wherever and whenever it’s needed is certainly appealing. Interest isn’t confined to those frustrated inventors whose imaginations have been constrained by the tools they can fit in the garden shed; there’s likely to be take-up from businesses, householders – and even space agencies, apparently.

Insights into 3D Printing

By building up layer upon layer of material, a 3D printer can produce objects to any pattern, up to the maximum size it can handle. However, the applications to which these objects can be put to may be limited by the physical properties of the materials that will inputted in to 3D printers – the equivalent of the ink in the printers we’re all familiar with. Clearly, you can’t print a toaster if your 3D printer only uses plastic – but an oven knob, or even a wind-powered robot with dozens of moving parts, is no problem.

A quick scan of 3dprinter.net helpfully outlines the different methods 3D printers are able to deploy, which I’ve summarised here. Each appears to require its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym). Perhaps in the future terms such as Stereolithography (SLA), Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and PolyJet photopolymer will become as ubiquitous as DVD and VHS have been in the past. Each of these techniques is compatible with a selection of materials, primarily plastics – but some are able to use metals, ceramics or even play-dough.

Environmental Implications

Moving significant amounts of manufacturing away from factories (predominately in Asia) to our own door steps will no doubt have profound impacts on the balance of goods and services across the globe. The economic and social implications of the technology have the potential to be significant– as do the environmental implications.

There is potential for greenhouse gas emissions savings from reduced shipping – not just cutting the number of products that make the long journey across the seas from China, but also reducing road freight. Fewer trucks on the motorways could be one of the unexpected effects 3D printing. But what are the waste management issues associated with mass deployment such technologies. And if we are future gazing, is their deployment consistent with the ‘zero waste economy’ envisaged by governments across the Middle East?

For those who haven’t yet thought too hard about what the technology is; think of it like the ‘replicator’ devices as featured in Star Trek. The replicator was a machine capable of creating objects by voice command, from what appeared to be thin air. 3D printing is only a shade less magical.

Waste Management Perspectives

3D printing is something of a double-edged sword when it comes to waste. It creates new recycling problems, but has considerable potential to help prevent waste. It could even be an outlet for recycled plastics. The opportunity for DIY repairs, especially to everyday items that we might otherwise decide were uneconomic to fix, appears enormous.

But with the higher profile that waste management has these days, I feel that we ought to be making 3D printing the first technology to be designed with recycling in mind. The waste management industry is a service industry; and typically it has had to adapt retrospectively to technology changes that it has not been able to influence. After more than a decade, we’re still catching up with the introduction of plastic milk bottles in lieu of glass. But this reactive approach clearly isn’t the best way to achieve a zero waste economy.

3D printing offers numerous challenges and opportunities to the waste management industry. As we, as a society, become more aware of material security, I’d suggest that the best approach would be for the waste management industry to engage positively with the designers and manufacturers of the 3D printing devices, trying to identify opportunities to ensure that the circular economy doesn’t become an afterthought.

The most appealing possibility would be if the machines could recycle waste polymers themselves, and re-use them as feedstock. Could we see a scenario where the machines become the recycling facility, thus greatly reducing the need for even the print medium to be transported? Bringing the nascent 3D printing industry together with experts in waste management could help to make this new technology contribute to rather than challenge our ambitions for a zero waste economy.

Note: The article is being republished with the kind permission of our collaborative partner Isonomia. The original article can be viewed at http://www.isonomia.co.uk/?p=2512

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