Earth Day 2017: Environmental and Climate Literacy

The campaign theme for Earth Day 2017 is Environmental & Climate Literacy, and conservationists, researchers and educators will be using this Earth Day to increase awareness about climate change and environmental issues. Earth Day has now grown into a global environmental tradition making it the largest civic observance in the world and is widely celebrated event in which over one billion people from over 190 countries will participate by taking suitable actions for saving our mother Earth.

Significance of Climate Literacy

Education is the foundation for progress. We need to build a global citizenry fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to our planet. We need to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action in defense of environmental protection.

The campaign hopes to not only educate and inspire but also advance policies geared towards defending our environment and accelerating green jobs and technologies. To achieve these aims, Earth Day 2017 encourages everyone to gather with their communities for an Environmental & Climate Literacy Teach-In.

“Education is the foundation for progress,” Earth Day Network said on their website. “We need to build a global citizenry fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to our planet. We need to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action in defense of environmental protection.”

Environmental and climate literacy is the engine not only for green growth and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies but also for accelerating green technologies and jobs.

Time for Action

Planting trees and enhancing forest cover is critical work because it has the potential to restore land, benefit local communities, and combat climate change. In fact, poverty is linked to deforestation, and without tackling sectors like agriculture and forestry, it will be nearly impossible to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

Environmental education is the foundation for progress.

To help jumpstart Earth Day education efforts, the Earth Day Network has downloadable Earth Day Action Toolkits available that explain scientific and environmental crises caused by human actions. By providing this literature, the network is hoping to help enact change and take steps toward progress.

The Earth Day movement is continuing, entering the 47th year to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people to action. Let us contribute to the best of our capabilities. This initiative will make a significant and measurable impact on the Earth and will serve as the foundation of a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet for all.

You can also get involved by making small green changes in your lifestyle:

  • Walk to work, cycle or take public transport
  • Cut back on single use plastics
  • Recycle
  • Go paperless
  • Go meat or dairy free at least once a week
  • Plant a tree
  • Buy local produce

 

Vanishing Aquifers in MENA

aquifer-menaAquifers are of tremendous importance for the MENA as world's most water-stressed countries are located in the region, including Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran, Lebanon and Yemen. However, aquifers in MENA are coming under increasing strain and are in real danger of extinction. Eight aquifers systems, including those in MENA, are categorized as ‘over stressed’ aquifers with hardly any natural recharge to offset the water consumed.

Aquifers in MENA

Aquifers stretched beneath Saudi Arabia and Yemen ranks first among ‘overstressed’ aquifers followed by Indus Basin of northwestern India-Pakistan and then by Murzuk-Djado Basin in North Africa. The Nubian Sandstone Aquifer in the Eastern end of Sahara deserts (parts of Sudan, Chad, Libya and most of Egypt) is the world’s largest known ‘fossil’ aquifer system and Bas Sahara basin (most of Algeria-Tunisian Sahara, Morocco and Libya) encloses whole of the Grand Erg Oriental. The non-renewable aquifers in the Middle East are the Arabian Aquifer and The Mountain Aquifer between Israel and Palestine. Some parts in MENA like Egypt and Iraq rely on major rivers (Nile, Tigris and Euphrates) but these surface water flows does not reach the ocean now. Needless to say, water demand in arid and dry MENA countries is met primarily by aquifers and seawater desalination.

MENA region is the most water-scarce region of the world. The region is home to 6.3 percent of world’s population but has access to measly 1.4 percent of the world’s renewable fresh water. The average water availability per person in other geographical regions is about 7,000 m3/year, whereas water availability is merely 1,200 m3/person/year in the MENA region. The region has the highest per capita rates of freshwater extraction in the world (804 m3/year) and currently exploits over 75 percent of its renewable water resources.

Primarily global exploitation of groundwater is for agricultural irrigation. In Saudi Arabia, during 1970’s, landowners were given free subsidies to pump the aquifers for improvisation of agricultural sectors. Soon the country turned out to be world’s premium wheat exporters. But as years passed, water consumption was high in such a rate that the aquifers approached total depletion. Government announced peoples demand to be met by desalination, which is an expensive approach to meet agricultural sector requirement. By end of 1990’s agricultural land declined to less than half of the country’s farm land. Saudi Arabia is no more a wheat exporter rather relies almost entirely on imported crop from other countries. Unfortunately, country has exploited nonrenewable and ancient ‘fossil’ aquifers which could not be recharged by any form of precipitation.

Key Issues

Stress on a country’s agricultural and water resources majorly cause problems in human health as well as instability and conflicts over shared resources. Climate change has also exacerbated water availability in the Middle East. Infact, water stresses has triggered brutal civil war in Syria and worsened the Palestine-Israel conflicts over sharing aquifers. The key issues, according to World Bank, in water utilization in MENA are as follows:

  • Unsustainable and inefficient use: Middle East countries have the highest per capita consumption of domestic water in the world with 40-50% leakage in the urban systems. And 50% water withdrawn for agriculture does not reach as intended.
  • Ineffective policies: the countries diverts 85% of water to grow crops which would be better importing.
  • Deteriorating water quality: contaminated water systems due to insufficient sanitation infrastructure has caused negative impacts on environment and health issues. Like, in Iran where issues associated with inadequate waste water collection and treatment cost estimated 2.2% of GDP.
  • Excessive reliance on the public investment on water accounts for 1-5 percent of GDP.

In MENA an unexpected climate change is likely to bring 20% rainfall reduction and high rate of evaporation which intensifies water stress. And proportionate climate initiated human behavior, more it gets dry, less water in the river, more tendencies to substitute by groundwater. Also depletion of water below the ground will rise to other disasters like sea water intrusion, land subsidence, especially in Arabian Peninsula, in turn destroys the constructions, infrastructures and developments of the country made-up till date.

Tips to Save Aquifers

We do not know how much water is remaining beneath, but we must understand it is vanishing at a very high rate. MENA must treasure aquifers and natural water resource as same as oil reserves are valued. Individual can play a significant role in saving aquifers in MENA by adopting these simple water conservation guidelines

  • Do not drain cooking oil or grease into sink; use adequate amount, reuse like as a shovel cleaner, polish or donate to machinery shops.
  • Effective use of tap; do not run water while brushing. During winters, store the initial cold water that runs out of the tap prior to the hot water from heater. And also know the convenient tap adjustments.
  • Maintain healthy, hygienic and sanitation practices.
  • Replace conventional water pumps and home appliances with advanced water conservative ones.
  • Avoid unnecessary products, food materials and reduce wastage; water consumed in a diet account’s 92% of water footprint of an individual.
  • Avoid sprinklers for irrigation and in garden use to avoid water loss by evaporation and substitute with efficient water distribution system.

By nature, water is definite in this ‘blue planet’. But when there is no right quantity of water at right quality and time it is called ‘Crisis’.

 

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Say ‘No’ to Disposables

The waste quantities in all parts of the world are increasing many folds. In the past three decades, the waste quantities have almost been doubled. The per capita waste generation is alarmingly high especially in GCC countries. The municipal and governmental authorities have to spend huge resources in collection, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of these wastes. With limited recycling facilities and absence of reusing culture, more quantities of the waste is now to be managed.

Major part of our municipal waste is still heading towards our landfill sites where it is being dumped, compacted and covered. The landfills are in quarries areas which are becoming soon filled up with the waste. In Bahrain almost 1.7 cum of space is required to accommodate 1 tons of waste.

Use of disposable cutlery has been increasing exponentially in developing countries

Despite a growing push to recycle and reuse, we must try to correct not the symptoms but the disease, and to do that, we should all avoid and reduce. The use of ‘disposables’ in the Middle East has increased exponentially in recent years and the items and quantities are increasing with each passing day. Here are few suggestions to avoid the use of disposables in our daily lives:

  • Avoid Paper Cups and Plates as paper manufacturing consume trees and are bleached white with chlorine, a process that releases dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet, and emit methane, a greenhouse gas when trashed and thrown in a landfill.
  • Avoid Polystyrene & Styrofoam which are hazardous, carcinogens, cause air pollution and can cause nervous system impairments among workers. Styrene can leach from containers into our food. Polystyrene cannot be recycled and never biodegrades; it only breaks down into smaller pieces, polluting the environment and harming the animals that mistake it for food.
  • Avoid Bottled Water and use reusable containers for water storage and drinking.
  • Avoid Plastic and Paper Shopping Bags. Keep your own cloth bag ready for all occasions.
  • Avoid Plastic Utensils, paper napkins, plastic cutlery, forks, spoons and knives. Use chinaware or glassware instead.
  • Avoid Use rechargeable batteries instead of single use batteries. •Avoid using disposable diapers and use cloth diapers.
  • Using ink pen rather than ball points and getting a refillables. •Using handkerchief rather than tissue and paper towels.
  • Avoid using disposable stirrers and individually packaged sugar, milk and creamer. Use a spoon for stirring and place the sugar and milk in reusable containers or jugs.
  • Avoid using individual sachets of chilly, mayonnaise or ketchup sauce. Store the sauce in reusable bottles and dispensers instead.
  • Avoid Gift Wrapping and put the gift in a reusable bag instead..

Each time you throw something in the trash, please consider that you have paid its cost and are contributing towards more waste at the landfill.

Please avoid disposables. Be wise and environmental friendly.

Environment as a Peace-Building Tool

The world is changing demographically, economically, politically and environmentally. The acquisition of natural resources, such as water, can be viewed as a threat to the international security. Severe environmental degradation can deepen regional divisions and trigger social conflicts for communities that depend on these resources for their livelihoods and fulfillment of basic needs. Moreover, the environment itself can be dramatically affected by such conflicts.

The unprecedented demand for natural resources is fuelling ethnic conflicts, causing large-scale displacement and is a severe threat to the lands, livelihoods and the way of life of indigenous people. Infact, many of the bloodiest conflicts in Africa and Asia in recent years have been fuelled by profits from the exploitation of natural resources, including diamonds, timber and minerals. Indigenous communities ranging from the Batwa of Central Africa to hill tribes in northern Thailand, Bedouin in the Middle East and Uighurs in China's Xinjiang province face a grave risk of being forced from their land and resources by activities taking place in the name of industrial development.

Locally, tensions over non-extractive natural resources that have an impact on livelihoods can also drive conflicts. Tension can result from the decline of limited sources and inequitable distribution and utilization within a given context; this may spill over into wider instability and violence. In the case of Darfur, one of the reasons that led to violence is competition between herders and farmers over land; historical ethnic divisions compounded this conflict.

A New Approach to Stability

Recognizing the linkages between the environment and insecurity, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for integrating environmental initiatives to solve conflict and instability into the U.N.’s conflict prevention policy. So, if environmental degradation can trigger conflict and violence, then environmental cooperation initiatives can be used as stability-sustaining tools. This can create a dialogue between parties in conflict. Environmental challenges, such as industrial pollution, are global issues that ignore political boundaries. These challenges require a long-term perspective to achieve sustainable management, encourage local and nongovernmental participation, and extend community building beyond the polarization of economic linkages. Furthermore, environment cooperation can build bridges across boundaries and between people, and enhance building a more sustainable peace and stability.

Environmental cooperation can be initial building blocks for increasing confidence and enhancing trust between communities, hence, reducing uncertainties and mitigating tensions. Cooperative sharing of resources encourages common goals, and establishes recognized rights and expectations. Moreover, initiatives of cooperation to manage environmental resources will promote peace between disputing parties and may establish sustained interaction and long-term relationships, encouraging stability. The more environmental initiatives exist, the more conflicts will be resolved in a non-violent manner. Environmental initiatives can be used to initiate dialogue between disputing parties even for non-ecological conflicts.

Shared water supply is an important domain for environmental conflict resolution. Sharing of water resources represents an opportunity to keep the dialogue alive between disputing parties such as in the Nile river case. Management of biodiversity conservation in disputed areas is a major aspect of environmental peace-building strategies. This may help to achieve win-win solutions between local communities. It is worthy to mention that NGOs can enhance the chances of sustainable peace by promoting awareness and motivation of local community participation. Therefore, their influence must be strengthened in policy decisions that are related to environmental security.

Environment and the Arab Spring

In the wake of historic Arab Spring, a new approach to sustainability is required in the Middle East. The Arab world offers a fertile ground and ample opportunities to prepare a sustainable mechanism for peace and regional security using environment as a tool. Traditional tools of conservation, such as Hima and Haram, produce a promising opportunity for environmental synergies in the region.

In order to protect land, forests and wildlife, Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) created inviolable zones in which resources were to be left untouched. Haram areas were drawn up around wells and water sources to protect the groundwater from overpumping. Hima applied to wildlife and forestry and designated an area of land where grazing and woodcutting was restricted, or where certain animal species (such as camels) were protected.

Adopting natural environmental initiatives, such as Hima and Haram, has multiple direct and indirect benefits for development in West Asia. It can enhance trust, build confidence, and reduce uncertainties in the Arab world, which may help in finding an amicable solution to multiple problems faced by this strategic region.

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Water Resource Management in GCC – Issues and Challenges

GCC countries are suffering from a huge deficit in their water resources reaching more than 20 billion cubic meter, being met mainly by an intensive over-drafting of renewable and non-renewable groundwater resources for the agricultural sector, and by the extensive installation of highly expensive desalination plants for the municipal sector, and by reusing a small percentage of treated wastewater in the agricultural and municipal sector. Furthermore, conflict between the agricultural and domestic sectors on the limited water resources in the region are rising, and as a result, groundwater over-exploitation and mining is expected to continue in order to meet growing demand in these two sectors.

If current population growth rates, water management approach, water use practices and patterns continue, annual water demand may reach more than 50 billion cubic meter (Bcm) by the year 2030.  With the anticipated future limited desalination capacity and wastewater reuse, this demand will have to be met mainly by further mining of groundwater reserves, with its negative impacts of fast depletion and loss of aquifer reserves and the deterioration of water quality and salinization of agricultural lands, of which these resources usefulness is questionable with the expected deterioration of their quality. Under these circumstances, water will become an increasingly scarce commodity, and would become a limiting factor for further social, agricultural and industrial development, unless major review and shifts in the current policies of population and adopted food self-sufficiency are made, and an appropriate and drastic measures in water conservation are implemented.

A diagnosis of the water sector in Gulf Cooperation Council countries indicated that the main problems and critical issues in these countries are:

  1. Limitation of water resources and increasing water scarcity with time due to prevailing aridity, fast population growth, and agricultural policies;
  2. Inefficient water use in the agriculture (traditional irrigation practices), and municipal/domestic sectors (high per capita water use, high rates of unaccounted-for-water);
  3. Rising internal water allocation conflicts between the agricultural and municipal sector;
  4. Rapid depletion and groundwater quality deterioration due to their over-exploitation, with multiple impacts on agricultural productivity and ecosystems;
  5. Inferior quality of water services in large cities due to fast pace of urbanization; and
  6. Weak water institutions due to fragmentation of water authorities and lack of coordination and inadequate capacity development.

Currently, there are two main challenges of water resources management in the GCC countries. These are the unsustainable use of groundwater resources with its ramification on these countries socio-economic development, and the escalating urban water demands and its heavy burden on their national budget and negative impacts on the environment.

As the quality of groundwater deteriorates, either by over-exploitation or direct pollution, its uses diminishes, thereby reducing groundwater supplies, increasing water shortages, and intensifying the problem of water scarcity in these countries. It is expected that the loss of groundwater resources will have dire consequences on the countries’ socio-economic development, increases health risks, and damages their environment and fragile ecosystem regimes.  Moreover, the development of many GCC countries is relying heavily on non-renewable fossil groundwater, and the issue of “sustainability” of non-renewable resources is problematic, and requires clear definition.

Sustainability of these resources need to be interpreted in a socio-economic rather than a physical context, implying that full considerations must be given not only to the immediate benefits and gains, but also to the “negative impacts” of development and to the question of “what comes after?” An “exit strategies” need to be identified, developed, and implemented by the time that the aquifer is seriously depleted. An exit strategy scenario must include balanced socio-economic choices on the use of aquifer storage reserves and on the transition to a subsequent less water-dependent economy, and the replacement water resource.

Despite their relatively enormous cost and heavy burden on the national budged, limited operational life (15-25 years), their dependence on depleting fossil fuel, and their negative environmental impacts on the surrounding air and marine environment, the GCC countries are going ahead with desalination plant construction and expansion in order to meet the spiralling domestic water demands – a function of population and urbanization growth.  The rapid increase in urban water demands in the GCC can be explained by two factors, rapid population growth and the rise in per capita consumption; per capita average daily consumption in the domestic sector ranges between 300-750 liters, which ranks the highest in the world. This is due mainly to the reliance on the supply side of management with little attention given to the demand management and the non-existence of price-signaling mechanism to consumers.

The other strategic issue is that, despite the current and anticipated future dependence of the GCC countries on desalination to meet its domestic/drinking water supply, desalination remains an imported technology for the GCC countries with limited directed R&D towards these technologies. Furthermore, desalination industry have limited added value to the GCC countries economies (e.g., localizing O&M, plant refurbishment, fabrication, manufacturing of Key Spare Parts, qualifying local labor to work in desalination industry, etc..).

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Food Security Strategy in Qatar

Qatar is a water-scarce and arid region which has its own share of demographic and socio-economic problems. The cultivation of food crops is a difficult proposition for Qatar due to scarcity of water supply and limited availability of arable land. The country is vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity markets because of heavy dependence on imported grains and food items. The increasing dependence on foreign food imports is leading to a growing sense of food insecurity in Qatar.

Understanding Food Security

Food security is the condition in which all people at all times have a physical and economic access to safe, adequate and nutritious food to satisfy their daily calorific intake and allow them to lead an active and healthy life. Individuals who are food secure have an access to a sufficient quantity of food and do not live in fear of hunger and starvation. On the other hand, food insecurity exists simultaneously and inhibits certain groups of individuals from gaining access to nutritionally adequate and safe food. In the case of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, food insecurity is related to poor quality diets rather than calorie-deficient diets. A typical diet in MENA region is high in saturated fats, sugar and refined foods which is a major cause for increase in chronic diseases in the region.

There are a multitude of factors which may challenge a nation from achieving food security. Some of these factors include; the global water crisis and water deficits which spur heavy grain imports in smaller countries ultimately leading to cutbacks in grain harvests. Similarly, intensive agriculture and farming drastically influence soil fertility and cause a decline in crop yield. Another notable factor limiting food security includes the adverse effects of climate change such as droughts and floods which greatly affect the agricultural sector.

The impacts of declining crop yields will include a change in productivity, livelihood patterns as well as economic losses due to declining exports. According to the Global Food Security Index, countries which are on top of the food security index include USA, Norway and China. The countries suffering from greatest food insecurity include, Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo and Chad.

Food Security Strategy in Qatar

Being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Qatar is facing large-scale influx of expatriate workers which has resulted in tremendous increase in population in recent years. Limited land availability, chronic water scarcity and constraints in agricultural growth have led to growing concerns about food security. Agriculture plays a strategic role in the nation’s food security. Qatar imports over 90% of its food requirements due to the scarcity of irrigation water, poor quality soils and the inhibitions due to climatic conditions. Infact, the country is facing an agricultural trade deficit of QR. 4.38 billion equivalent to $1.2 billion. 

In response, Qatar has begun to address the situation by aiming to efficiently utilize ‘cutting edge technology’ to establish a sustainable approach to food security for dry land countries. The Qatar National Food Security Program (QNFSP) was established in 2008 and aims to reduce Qatar’s reliance on food imports through self sufficiency. The program will not only develop recommendations for Food Security policy but intends to join with international organizations and other NGOs to develop practices to utilize resources efficiently within the agricultural sector.

Qatar has established a nation-led National Food Security Program to encourage domestic production which will lead to scientific and technological development in two specific areas to increase domestic production. These areas include development in agricultural enhancement and food processing. QNFSP’s approach to expanding the agricultural sector aims to introduce the best practices and establishing a sector which considers its economic efficiency, optimal usage of scarce resources with limited impact on the environment as well as profitable and sustainable agriculture. A key element of this approach will include the deployment of advanced crop production technologies and advanced irrigation systems. The QNFSP will require well managed stakeholder participation, revised agricultural possibilities and of course a comprehensive strategy for agricultural research.

The nation’s second approach to increase domestic production includes regulations and implementations on food processing. Food processing increases the shelf-life of food, reduces raw food losses and enables the continuity of product availability. By enhancing the shelf-life of food and reducing the amount of food being wasted improves a nation’s food security. The QNFSP aims to develop the nation’s food processing industry by taking advantage of the new industry being established in Qatar which will allow the country to sell its own processed goods on the global market. To meet this objective the nation will need to implement international quality assurance mechanism to be capable of producing high quality products as well as to expand their food reserves and storage facilities.

Sahara Forest Project

In addition to the trenchant efforts being made by the Qatar National Food Security Program, an interesting and promising pilot project named Sahara Forest Project is being rigorously pursed in Qatar. The Sahara Forest Project allows for sustainable production of food, water and energy while revegetating and storing carbon in arid areas.

A one hectare site outside Doha, Qatar, hosts the Sahara Forest Project Pilot Plant. It contains a unique combination of promising environmental technologies carefully integrated in a system to maximize beneficial synergies. A cornerstone of the pilot is greenhouses utilizing seawater to provide cool and humid growing conditions for vegetables, The greenhouses themselves produce freshwater and are coupled with Qatar’s first Concentrated Solar Power plant with a thermal desalination unit.

An important part of the pilot is to demonstrate the potential for cultivating desert land and making it green. Outdoor vertical evaporators will create sheltered and humid environments for cultivation of plants. There are ponds for salt production and facilities for experimentation with cultivation of salt tolerant plants, halophytes. Additionally, the facility also contains a state of the art system for cultivation of algae.

References

Sahara Forest Project. "Sahara Forest Project in Food Security Program on Qatar TV." Sahara Forest Project. N.p., 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://www.goo.gl/ICjuKN>.

QNFSP. "Qatar Steps up to Food Security and World Hunger." Qatar National Food Security Programme. QNFSP, 2011. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. <http://www.qnfsp.gov.qa>.

Farhad Mirzadeh. "Qatar’s Seeks Solutions to Food Insecurity." American Security Project. N.p., 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. < http://www.goo.gl/LvY2em />

Bonnie James. "Qatar Food Security Plans Get a Boost." Gulf Times. N.p., 4 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://www.goo.gl/wSc27F>.

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Reuse of Greywater

Greywater includes water from showers, bathtubs, sinks, kitchen, dishwashers, laundry tubs, and washing machines. The major ingredients of greywater are soap, shampoo, grease, toothpaste, food residuals, cooking oils, detergents, hair etc. In terms of volume, greywater is the largest constituent of total wastewater flow from households. In a typical household, 50-80% of wastewater is greywater, out of which laundry washing accounts for as much as 30% of the average household water use. The key difference between greywater and sewage (or black water) is the organic loading. Sewage has a much larger organic loading compared to greywater.

Importance of Greywater Reuse

If released directly into rivers, lakes and other water bodies, greywater can be a source of pollution which can affect marine life, human health, ecology etc. However, after appropriate treatment, greywater is suitable for irrigating lawns, gardens, ornamental plants and food crops, toilet flushing, laundry washing etc. Reusing grey water for irrigation and other non-potable water applications will help in reconnection of urban habitats to the natural water cycle, which will contribute significantly to sustainable urban development.

Reuse of greywater can help in substituting precious drinking water in applications which do not need drinking water quality such as industrial, irrigation, toilet flushing and laundry washing. This will, in turn, reduce freshwater consumption, apart from wastewater generation. For water-scarce regions, countries, such as the Middle East and Africa, greywater recycling can be instrumental in augmenting national water reserves. An increased supply for water can be ensured for irrigation thus leading to an increase in agricultural productivity.

The major benefits of greywater recycling can be summarized as:

  • Reduced freshwater extraction from rivers and aquifers
  • Less impact from wastewater treatment plant infrastructure
  • Nutrification of the topsoil
  • Reduced energy use and chemical pollution from treatment
  • Replenishment of groundwater
  • Increased agricultural productivity
  • Reclamation of nutrients
  • Improved quality of surface and ground water

How is Greywater Reused?

There are two main systems for greywater recycling – centralized or decentralized. In a decentralized system, greywater collected from one or more apartments is treated inside the house. On the other hand, a centralized system collects and treats greywater from several apartments or houses in a treatment plant outside the house.

Greywater reuse treatment systems can be simple, low-cost devices or complex, expensive wastewater treatment systems. An example of a simple system is to route greywater directly to applications such as toilet flushing and garden irrigation. A popular method for greywater reuse is to drain water from showers and washing machine directly for landscaping purposes. Modern treatment systems are complex and expensive advanced treatment processes comprised of sedimentation tanks, bioreactors, filters, pumps and disinfections units.

In order to transform greywater into non-potable water source, water from baths, showers, washbasins and washing machines has to be collected separately from black water, treated and eventually disinfected for reuse. Garden irrigation is the predominant reuse method for situations where greywater can be bucketed or diverted to the garden for immediate use. Advanced greywater recycling systems collect, filter and treat greywater for indoor applications like toilet flushing or laundry washing. Greywater from laundry is easy to capture and the treated greywater can be reused for garden watering, irrigation, toiler flushing or laundry washing.

Water-efficient plumbing fixtures are vital when designing a household greywater reuse system. Some examples are low-flow shower heads, faucet flow restrictors, and low-flow toilets. Greywater systems are relatively easier to install in new building constructions as house or offices already constructed on concrete slabs or crawlspaces are difficult to retrofit.

Protection of public health is of paramount importance while devising any greywater reuse program. Although health risks of greywater reuse have proven to be negligible, yet greywater may contain pathogens which may cause diseases. Therefore, proper treatment, operation and maintenance of greywater recycling systems are essential if any infectious pathways should be intercepted.

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Towards Effective Environmental Education

green-hope-uaeChildren are the "Future Generation" and their engagement in environmental conservation is an absolute must. Education is the key to fostering this engagement and hence , all efforts must be made in this regard. One of the main reasons for the current state of environmental degradation is the general apathy of civil society and the only way to address this issue is through intrinsic involvement of all stakeholders, in particular, children,  since it is their future that is at stake.

Involvement of children in environmental conservation initiatives will also ensure that the movement becomes "bottom-up" rather than something that is mandated by legislation — this "bottom-up" approach has always been seen to be more effective in terms of implementation.

Towards Effective Environmental Education

In order to be effective, environmental education needs to be both formally and informally imparted. Otherwise it ceases to be attractive and loses its effect. It becomes just another textbook one has to read and answer questions on. Children are inherently creative and the environmental education curriculum must try to build on this creativity. Rather than prescribing solutions, it must seek to obtain the answers from the children. After all, it is their future that is being decided upon.

Once this fundamental truth is understood, children will come forward with their views and actions to mitigate the environmental challenges. To be effective, environmental education needs to be imparted outside the four walls of the classroom. However, the weather in the Middle East, for most part of the year, is hardly conducive to outdoor activities and this should to be taken into account.

A beach cleanup campaign by Green Hope

A beach cleanup campaign by Green Hope

Green Hope – A Shining Example

My youth organisation, Green Hope, engages and educates young people through our "Environment Academies" which are tailor-made workshops on environmental issues. Till date, we have interacted with several hundred school and university students following all curriculum — our attendees are from all nationalities including native students. I have found them to be immensely concerned and motivated on environmental issues. Being from the region, they also have a lot of traditional knowledge about adapting to the natural environment which is a learning for those who have recently moved here. 

Education for Sustainable Development: Key Challenges

education-for-sustainable-developmentThe basic aim of 'Education for Sustainable Development' is to nurture an individual who is capable to solve environmental challenges facing the world and to promote the formation of a sustainable society. The first challenge is to have an ethos in schools that openly and enthusiastically supports the development of ESD (Education for Sustainable Development). This is partly down to the curriculum the school follows, but is mainly as a result of the interest and effort shown by senior management in promoting integration and whole school engagement; a critical element being teacher training. It is also down to the expectations that are put upon schools by education authorities when it comes to ESD.

With trained and motivated teachers, it is far easier to inspire and motivate students. Teachers can often use the environment as a vehicle for teaching certain concepts in their own specific subject. Once teachers have decided that this is something they feel is worthwhile, they will increasingly find ways to do so.

Using environmental issues in student learning shows students the bigger picture, which can significantly improve motivation. By letting pupils know why the work they are completing is important, and showing them where it fits in on a local and global scale, you’re enabling them to see its value.

Another challenge is being able to bridge the gap between what happens at home and what is taught in schools. For example, if a child is learning about recycling at school, but parents are not open to supporting their learning by adopting recycling practices at home, then the child, especially at a young age, receives very conflicting messages.

Schools are busy places and there are increasing pressures on teachers within the workplace. These can create additional challenges such as gaps between awareness and understanding; motivation to and knowledge of how to become more sustainable; individual to collective empowerment; finding time; budget restraints; linking infrastructure change to mind set change and whole community engagement.

However, with a more directed focus and commitment towards ESD in schools, children generally need very little motivation to care for their environment. You just have to give them a voice and they are away! The problem often comes from adults not understanding the bigger picture about caring for the long term future of the planet.

Strategy for GCC Countries

When it comes to educating locals and expats in the GCC, it can be categorized into three parts:

The physical change: looking at how schools, households and businesses can reduce their waste, water and energy and focus on more sustainable resources in general.

The mind set change: this is all about raising environmental understanding, awareness and action programmes throughout the school and business communities through workshops, cross-curricular activities and presentations, so that everybody is on the 'same page', as well as giving students and employees a voice. This leads to a fundamental change in attitudes and the choices people make.

Learning to respect others and appreciate the environment, as well as giving back to society: this is focused around the opportunities to learn beyond the workplace and home, and connect back to nature, as well as help communities in need. In a nutshell, it about being more caring.

Partnerships and action orientated behaviour within all 3 parts are crucially important to their success. Environmental awareness in itself is not enough, simply because awareness without leading to meaningful action and behaviour change goes nowhere.

Using environmental issues in student learning shows children the bigger picture

Using environmental issues in student learning shows children the bigger picture

This approach can be illustrated in the Beyond COP21 Symposium series that I am currently running globally with the support of Eco-Schools. The event consists of themed high impact presentations from, and discussions with, guest speakers on the SDGs Agenda 2030 and climate negotiations in and beyond Paris; individual & community action; pledge- making and practical activities/workshops.

Local sustainable companies and organisations are invited to showcase their initiatives and engage with students from a variety of schools, both local and expat, in each city or region. Successfully run in Dubai twice and with an upcoming event in Jordan, the Middle East region has certainly embraced the partnership approach when it comes to supporting environmental education initiatives that benefit all those involved.

Role of Technology and Social Media

The greatest role it can play is through the spread of information and ideas, as well as the sharing of good practice within the GCC. Sometimes the hardest thing is to know where to start and how to become motivated, and certainly both can help. Also technology can help to source important resources for teachers. Bee’ah’s School of Environment, which I have been recently developing new online resources for, is a very good example of how well this can work.

Please visit my website http://www.target4green.com for more information about my organization and its activities.

The Concept of Environmental Education

Unlike traditional forms of education, Environmental Education is a holistic, lifelong learning process directed at creating responsible individuals who explore and identify environmental issues, engage in problem solving, and take action effectively to improve the environment. As a result, individuals develop a deeper awareness and understanding of environmental issues and have effective skills to make informed and responsible decisions that lead to resolute the environmental challenges.

Environmental Education is neither environmental advocacy nor environmental information; rather, Environmental Education is a varied and diverse field that focuses on the educational process that has to remain neutral by teaching individuals critical thinking and enhancing their own problem-solving and decision-making skills in a participatory approach. The guiding principles of Environmental Education include awareness, knowledge, attitudes, skills and participation.

Environmental Education can be taught formally in schools classrooms, colleges and universities, or it can take place in informal learning contexts through NGOs, businesses, and the media, natural centers, botanic gardens, bird-watching canoeing, and scuba diving. Besides, Environmental Education takes place in various non-formal education programs such as experiential outdoor education, workshops, outreach programs and community education.

Environmental educator should deliver Environmental Education in a unique way as it is not only based on science, but also concerned with historical, political, and cultural aspects with the human dimension of socio-economic factors. It is also based on developing knowledge on socio-ecological systems.

Environmental Education provides opportunities to kids to build skills, including problem-solving and investigation skills. Qualified environmental educators should work in the field, conducting programs, involving and collaborating with local communities, and using strategies to link the environmental awareness, building skills, and responsible action. It is through Environmental Education that citizens, especially children, can test various aspects of an issue to make informed, science-based, non-biased, and responsible decisions.

Environmental Education in Islam

Islam considers seeking knowledge as an obligation. Islam teaches its followers to keep streets clean, to help animals and any living being, prohibits the pollution of water, prohibits cutting down a fruitful tree and preserves the components of the environment. Islam also sets legislation for cultivating land and benefiting from it. Additionally, Islam has strict teachings to prevent environmental deterioration caused by industrial development, urbanization, poverty etc. Islam organizes the relationship between humans and nature where it calls for its protection and enrichment through a comprehensive educational process. Islamic teachings in preserving environmental components hold the sense of responsibility and sensitivity. Such teachings were extraordinary at a time when the environment was not suffering the pressures it is suffering nowadays.

Environmental Education in Jordan

As far as Jordan is concerned, National Environmental Education efforts remain largely focused on programs organized by NGOs. For example, JREDS is a Jordanian NGO which became the national organization for the Foundation for Environmental Education. JREDS is implementing three international eco-labeling programs – Green Key, Blue Flag and Eco-SchoolsRSCN is another Jordanian NGO that designed Environmental Education programs to improve peoples’ general understanding and awareness of environmental issues. Activities of nature protection organizations have been instrumental in fostering significant cultural change.

Environmentally-literate citizens take active part in solving and reducing the impact of environmental problems by buying "green" products and using natural alternatives to pesticides to name two. However, the success of environmental programs adopted by NGOs will be difficult to sustain for future generations without continuing Environmental Education.

Eco-literacy Outlook for Jordan

Jordan has typically centralized education system where teachers aren't consulted about curricula. School curricula are mono-disciplinary, making interdisciplinary learning hard to apply. Despite environmental topics incorporation into curricula recently, still it is fragmentary. Jordan has a long way to go before a national strategy of environmental education can be totally implemented in its educational system.

Jordan should employ a holistic Environmental Education program adopting sustainable development principles, and presenting green ideas that perceive handling the environmental issues as important target and offers various solutions to different environmental problems which has become a national scourge. Ministry of Education should merge the eco-traditional knowledge effectively with leadership due to the link between the two, and empower the youth to participate in solving their own environmental problems as well as affecting the actions of public towards the desired goal, which is participating in solving the grim reality of environmental problems in the country. The scientific community should also get involved in public relations efforts that enable communication of its research, in effective and understandable ways, to the organizations responsible for education.

Additionally, Jordan should adopt a holistic approach of zero-emission eco-schools throughout the country, eco-schools that relies entirely on renewables for their energy supply and be completely self-sustaining. The design shall adopt Earth building and be constructed out of locally sourced materials, while the geothermal energy will cool and heat it.  Furthermore, school garden and cleaning routines will use the harvested rainwater. Such an eco-school model, hold a bright future where students will eventually have access to a bright green education thereby facilitating a sustainable future.

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أنسنة العمارة – بعيون معمارية أردنية: سلسلة قصص ملهمة من منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال افريقيا – القصة رقم 1

Abeer's Studioعبر شوارع اللوبيدة (في عمان – الأردن) العابقة برائحة الياسمين، وجدت طريقي إلى ستوديو عبير صيقلي، في منزل قديم يعكس الهوية الأصيلة والملهمة للأردن. عبير صيقلي هي معمارية أردنية شابة برزت مؤخرا على  العديد من المنصات الإعلامية المحلية والعالمية بسبب ابتكارها "حياكة منزل weaving a home" والذي رشح لجائزة LEXUS Design  2012.

تأثيرالتعليم والمعرفة المحلية

تتأثر افضل كليات الهندسة المعمارية في الوطن العربي الى حد كبير بالتوجهات  العالمية في مجالي البيئة المبنية والاستدامة. ولسوء الحظ فان المراجع العربية مهملة بشكل كبير في عملية التدريس. ان التفكير الحديث حول البيئة المبنية وعلاقتها مع الناس والطبيعة تعتمد بشكل اساسي على التطبيقات الرقمية والافتراضية (الحاسوبية) تاركةً تفاعلا محدودا للطلاب  مع المجتمعات ومواد البناء . ضف الى ذلك عدم المواءمة بين البحث العلمي ومتطلبات السوق في معظم الدول النامية مما يعظم الفجوة ما بين الهندسة والتنمية المستدامة. الاعتراف بتفرد  العمارة العربية التراثية واهميتها التاريخية في تشكيل مبادىء البناء المستدام  يدعونا الى القلق اليوم على الدور المتناقص للمعرفة المحلية في التصدي لتحديات الاستدامة المعاصرة.

بالنسبة لعبير، فقد زودتها دراستها في الخارج برؤى جديدة ليس فقط حول الهندسة المعمارية ولكن وبشكل خاص حول طاقاتها وقدراتها ضمن سياق اكبر. وما قدمته لها البيئة الغنية بالثقافة  والتي نشأت فيها هو احترام وتقدير الفن والابداع والبيئة المحيطة. بمرور الوقت واكتساب الخبرات والتجارب طورت عبير الاسلوب المعماري الخاص بها. مشيرة الى المعنى الحقيقي للتكنولوجيا وهو الحرفة والحياكة والصناعة، تعرف عبير العمار المبتكرة بأسلوب يدمج كلا من الحداثة والقدم، التراث والتجديد. واخيرا فهي ترى الهندسة المعمارية كتكنولوجيا اجتماعية.

إعادة تعريف النجاح

عندما نركز على المنتج النهائي، عادة ما نميل كأشخاص إلى إهمال المتعة والفائدة  من العملية أو الطريقة بحد ذاتها.ان التركيز على العملية (الطريقة)  يعزز الثقة بالنفس والوعي الذاتي كما ويتطلب  ذلك الاجتهاد والتفكير العميق بينما نستمتع بالتجربة. بذلك يمكننا الانخراط بشكل أكثرعمقا مع الحاضر، وبالتالي التعلم بشكل أسرع وتجربة الحياة على أكمل وجه.

وفقا لعبير صيقلي، لا تتمحور العمارة حول المبنى نفسه وانما الدخول الى ذلك المبنى وتجربة طبيعتة الميتافيزيقية (الغيبية) مع مرور الزمن. "المهندسين المعماريين التقليديين في الوقت الحاضر يميلون الى استخدام برامج الكمبيوتر لتصميم المباني بينما يجلسون في مكاتبهم المغلقة. وبالتالي فان ذلك يبقيهم بعيدين عن الناس والطبيعة. كمعماري حقيقي، عليك أن تتواجد فعليا في المكان الذي تصصمه لتشعر به وتتفاعل معه وتختبر تصميمك على ارض الواقع". تتابع صيقلي: "الابداع يكون في العملية التصميمية بمراحلها وليس في النتيجة النهائية."

التفكير من خلال التطبيق: الخيمة

عبير صيقلي وهي احد المؤمنين بهذه المنهجية حيث عملت على مدى عدة سنوات على تطوير نسيجها الانشائي الفريد من نوعه (مادة نسيجية ذات خواص معمارية وانشائية) بشكل مستمر.  وفي الوقت المناسب، قامت عبيرباستخدام هذا العمل الابداعي لسد حاجة انسانية غاية في الاهمية. ان مشاركتها في مسابقة LEXUS Design  كانت جزءا من عملية تقديم منتجها للناس ودمجه  مع الطبيعة. 

صممت مآوي الكوارث عبر العصور من مجموعة كبيرة من المواد، ولكن عبير توجهت في اختيارها للمواد التي تستخدم في حياكة المأوى  الى "الانسجة التي تمتص أشعة الشمس" كما ستزود المآوي المستوحاة من ثقافة البدو الرحل  بالطاقة الشمسية. ان استخدام النسيج الهيكلي يشير إلى عادات قديمة متمثلة في ربط الألياف المستقيمة لتكوين منتج معقد  ثلاثي الأبعاد.

View of tent structures

ان معالجة مشكلة هامة  مثل مشكلة تأمين المأوى المناسب للانسان هي بالتأكيد من المواضيع والقضايا المرتبطة بمفهومي العمارة المبتكرة والتنمية المستدامة. وفي الاردن بشكل خاص كأكبر الدول المستضيفة لللاجئين السوريين بما يزيد على 1.4 مليون لاجىء، لا يمكن اعتبار هذا الاختراع مجرد منتج متوفر بالاسواق. بل ان هذا الابتكار سيلبي ابسط الحاجات الإنسانية ويسهم في أنسنة الهندسة المعمارية او يمكن القول إضفاء الطابع الانساني عليها.  تتحدث عبير بشكل مفصل عن نسيجها واستخدامه في الاغاثة الانسانية على مدونتها ولكنها كانت اكثر شغفا بمشاركتنا  في #InspireMENA  بالهامها الاساسي وهومبدأ التفكير من خلال التطبيق. "التجربة العملية، مراقبة اداء المادة، التحليل وبشكل بطيء ستجد نفسك هناك". وتضيف صيقلي " يتأتى الالهام الحقيقي من خلال العمل الجاد لسنوات طويلة والاستمرارية والمثابرة في العمل".

وصفة للإبتكار

لا يوجد وصفة موحدة للابتكار ،  توضح عبير صيقلي، لكن المهندسين والمعماريين الأردنيين بحاجة لأن يسألوا أنفسهم الأسئلة التالية: مالذي يميزني أنا؟ ما هو تعريف المحلي أو المستدام؟ ومالذي يميز الأردن من ناحية معمارية ومستدامة؟
وعندما سألناها عن دور الشركات الهندسية، شددت صيقلي على حقيقة أن أكثر المؤسسات في هذه الأيام لا توفر للشباب بيئة للتعلم والنمو. مؤكدةً على أهمية الإبتكار  قالت عبير:بدون اهتمام شخصي وتدريب سوف ينفصل المهندسون عن أنفسهم وعن المجتمع من حولهم. بغض النظر عن كل الصعوبات التتي نواجهها في بلادنا، يعتمد الإبتكار على قوة المحرك والدافع الشخصي: إذا احتجت شيئا، سوف تصنعه ."

"اعرف دورك كمعماري في دولة نامية. لقد اكتشفت دوري وأصبحت انسانة أكثر وعيا: أن أخدم المجتمع وأحسن نوعية الحياة – هذه هي أنا" – عبير صيقلي.

العمارة والتنمية المستدامة

الرابط المباشربين العمارة وأهداف التنمية المستدامة هو الهدف العالمي رقم 11؛ المدن والمجتمعات المستدامة؛ الا أنه وبنظرة أكثر تعمقا على  العمارة وكيف تؤثر وتتأثر بالعناصر الأخرى، سيقودنا ذلك إلى ما يربطها  بأغلب الأهداف العالمية السبعة عشر. ان العلاقة الفريدة بين البيئة المبنية والناس والطبيعة توفر فرصة  لتوضيح مفهوم التنمية المستدامة الحقيقية، كما تَوَضَح في ابتكار عبير.

بحلول عام  2030، سيعيش 60% من سكان العالم في المدن، مما يستوجب ايجاد طرق جديدة ومتكاملة للتفكير بالعمارة والتصميم الحضري.

ترجمة

معاذ  وحيد الزعبي درس هندسة الطاقة المتجددة من الجامعة الالمانية الاردنية، يعمل حاليا كمهندس تصميم لمحطات الطاقة الشمسية. تدرب في احدى اكبر شركات الطاقة المتجددة العالمية وهي JUWI. وعمل سابقا في غرفة صناعة الاردن على المساعدة في انشاء وحدة الطاقة والاستدامة البيئية.

يهتم بمصادر الطاقة المتجددة بشكل عام وكيفية الاستفادة منها بشكل مستدام.

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الاقتصاد الاخضر في الأردن..حاجة وخيار استراتيجي

أثار الركود المالي العالمي نقاشا جادا بين العديد من البلدان حول الكشف عن أسباب الفشل وابتكار حلول معقولة. لقد بات البحث عن نمو اقتصادي "تحولي" أمرا مألوفا جدا في الوقت الحاضر، حيث الطاقة النظيفة والاستثمارات الخضراء تتصدران الواجهة كحل لمستقبل أفضل. وفي البلدان التي توجد في قلب التغيير بالعالم العربي، جلب "الربيع" الشهير نكهة مختلفة إلى التغيير والإصلاح المنشودين. ففي الأردن، يشكل الاهتمام بقضية الاستدامة (سواء بيئية أو اجتماعية) حاجة وأيضا خيارا استراتيجيا. ولأن الموارد الطبيعية محدودة جدا والطلب متزايد، فإن استجابة الدولة لاحتياجات المواطنين والبيئة ليست مجرد التزام سياسي، بل علامة فارقة لم تستغل بعد من شأنها أن تجعل الأردن منصة إقليمية للتنمية الموجهة  بالمجتمعات المحلية وللاستثمارات المستدامة.

لذا، لا ينبغي أن نبقى حبيسي حجة "البيئة مقابل الاستثمار"، فكلاهما يلتقيان  لدعم أهداف التنمية، وخاصة في بيئة هشة مثل التي تتوفر في بلدنا. لقد أدت أزمة الطاقة الكبرى التي أصابت مؤخرا الشعب الأردني إلى حدوث نقلة نوعية في التصور والممارسة. فلم يحصل أن كنا أكثر وعيا بتكلفة الطاقة والقيود الصعبة المفروضة على الميزانية مثلما نحن عليه اليوم. كنت أتمنى لو أستطيع قول الشيء نفسه بالنسبة للمياه، وهي حقيقة أخرى مقبلة علينا بالكاد نحن مستعدين لمواجهتها في الأردن.

تعلمنا الدرس بالطريقة الصعبة، فقد أدرك الأردن بأن التنمية المستدامة والروابط الفعالة بين الأهداف الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والبيئية لا يمكن بلوغها بدون استهداف قطاعات التنمية وادراج الاستدامة ضمن الخطط والعمليات للقطاعات المختلفة. ذلك أن اعتماد النهج الأخضر لوحده في صنع القرار لم يعد قابلا للتطبيق، لأنه يختزل البيئة ويضعها بعيدا عن السياسات والإصلاحات التنموية الأخرى.

لقد فرضت مطالب الإصلاح الذي يضمن المنافع طويلة الأمد للمجتمعات المحلية اعتماد نهج التنمية المتكاملة. بات الأردنيون بحاجة إلى أن يكونوا على وعي بما يجري وبأن يتمركزوا في قلب عملية صنع القرار. وبينما يدعون لتوفير مزيد من فرص العمل والرعاية الاجتماعية؛ أصبح الاردنيون  أكثر وعيا بالضغوط التي تتعرض لها الموارد الطبيعية للبلاد بسبب النمو الاقتصادي. إن على بيئة الأعمال والمناخ الاستثماري أن يقدما قيمة مضافة للاقتصاد، فالأراضي والمياه والطاقة والبنية التحتية والحوكمة الرشيدة هي جميعها مدخلات في عملية التنمية، وبالتالي، إذا كان الأردن سيدخل غمار المنافسة في السوق، يتعين علينا أن نجد الوصفة الصحيحة.

وفي حين أصبح الأردن عارفا بموارده غير المستغلة، وجه اهتمامه إلى قطاعات جديدة للاستثمار في الطاقة النظيفة والخضراء لتعزيز التنمية الاقتصادية وتوفير فرص العمل الخضراء والحفاظ على الموارد الطبيعية. وباعتباره أول دولة في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال افريقيا (مينا) تجري دراسة وطنية استكشافية لتقييم نطاق الاقتصاد الأخضر، حدد الأردن عدة فرص لإطلاق القطاعات الخضراء، بما في ذلك الطاقة المتجددة وكفاءة استخدام الطاقة والمياه وإدارة المياه العادمة والنفايات الصلبة،والمباني الخضراء والسياحة البيئية والنقل إلخ. ومع ذلك، لا يزال ادراج إمكانيات الاقتصاد الأخضر في تلك القطاعات محدودا.

لقد بلغت تكلفة الطاقة المستوردة ما يقارب 20٪ من الناتج المحلي الإجمالي عام 2006. وبلغ إجمالي الطاقة المستوردة 96٪ من إجمالي احتياجات الأردن من الطاقة. ويقدر حجم الاستثمار المطلوب في قطاع الطاقة المتجددة بحلول عام 2020 حوالي 2.1 مليار دولار، وفي قطاع كفاءة وحفظ الطاقة  بنحو 152 مليون دولار.

ويأمل الأردن بتوليد ما يقرب من 1200 ميغاواط من الكهرباء من مشاريع طاقة الرياح و600 ميجاوات أخرى من الطاقة الشمسية، بالإضافة إلى 50 ميغاواط من قطاع النفايات لاستثمارها في مشاريع الطاقة بحلول عام 2020. ومن الضروري إنجاز هذه المشاريع لإنتاج 10٪ من الطاقة المتجددة من خليط الطاقة الكلي.
إن إنجازا كبيرا تحقق مؤخرا مع توقيع أولى الاتفاقيات  ما بين الحكومة ومطوري ومستثمري الطاقة المتجددة لبدء أولى مشاريع توليد الطاقة الشمسية وطاقة الرياح والتي جاءت محصلة لصدور الإطار التشريعي والتنظيمي الشامل للطاقة المتجددة مؤخرا.

ومن المتوقع أن تسهم هذه الاستثمارات في تحقيق أهداف لأمن الطاقة، وايجاد وظائف خضراء للأردنيين، وتخفيف العبء عن ميزانية الحكومة ووضع الأردن على خريطة الطاقة النظيفة. بيد أن الأردن يحتاج لسياسة استباقية مبادرة لمتابعة وتطوير العناصر الأخرى من سلسلة القيمة، خاصة التعليم والابتكار والتكنولوجيا والتدريب وريادة الأعمال.

وفي وجود أكثر من 70٪ من السكان في المملكة تحت سن الثلاثين، لا شك أن الاستثمار الأكبر بالنسبة للأردن يتعين أن يكون في طاقاته البشرية. إن إدماج احتياجات السوق المتعلقة بالاقتصاد ا الاخضر ضمن أنظمة التعليم والتدريب المهني سيعزز القدرة التنافسية للقطاعات والعناقيد الخضراء وسيضمن استدامة المنافع الاجتماعية والاقتصادية.

إن بناء إطار تنظيمي فعال وحاكمية رشيدة اضافة الى جمع جهود القطاعين العام والخاص ومنظمات المجتمع المدني، سيمكّن الأردن من خلق قدرته التنافسية في عالم الاقتصاد الأخضر بينما يواصل سعيه لتلبية طموحات شعبه في التنمية.

 

ترجمة: نادية بنسلامصحفية ومترجمة مهتمة بشؤون البيئة – المغرب

منسقة شبكة الصحفيين الأفارقة المختصين بقضايا التصحر والجفاف وتدهور الاراضي –REJALDD

للتواصل عبر  nadiabensellam07@gmail.com

 

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