Unending Benefits of Wetlands

Wetlands are wonderful for numerous reasons but these wonders weren’t always known to man and it was often common to overlook the importance of this distinct ecosystem. The mention of a wetland used to bring to mind images of murky, mosquito-riddled swamps or unused lands that needed to be developed into a space which would be more useful to humankind. Wetlands were grossly undervalued which led to loss of many and provoked the Convention on Wetlands to be signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. The Ramsar Convention still serves as an international wetland conservation movement and currently holds over 160 nation … Continue reading

Introduction to Green Roofs

Green roofs are emerging technologies that can provide a wide range of tangible and intangible benefits to communities interested in enhancement of their environment.  Green roof development involves the construction of a vegetative layer on top of a human-made structure or building adding green space to areas that would otherwise be unused.  The major benefits of green roofs are reducing energy use as well as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing stormwater management and water quality, decreasing heat island effect by regulating temperature for the roof and the surrounding areas and providing aesthetic value and habitats for many species.  … Continue reading

What Every Muslim Should Do For The Planet

When it comes to our responsibilities as Muslims in protecting the planet, there are no blurred lines. As citizens of this planet, it is our obligation to do our part, both as individuals and as a community. This means, that we look environmental sustainability in the eye – that we begin to introspect our lifestyles, and make choices that are compatible with the well being of our home and the teachings of our faith. If you’re new to this conversation, then here’s my invitation for you: continue reading. Here are some of my top tips to help you embark on … Continue reading

Environmental Initiatives in Middle East – Challenges and Remedies

Environmental protection has become an increasingly important item on the social and economic policy agenda of Middle East nations. As I read last week’s piece titled “Environmental Impacts of Plastic Bags” I was struck by the succinct summary of the main problems with the ongoing use of plastic bags and how their effects can be felt in many ways, some widely publicized and others not. The article prompted a series of reflections upon other environmental initiatives emerging in the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In this article, I wish to share my … Continue reading

Environmental Perceptions and Attitudes in Qatar – A Survey

Measuring environmental knowledge, opinion and attitude is of paramount importance to the academics and policymakers for developing better policies for human well-being and protection of ecosystems. Self-reporting attitudes and behaviours are one of the ways to measure. A first-of-its-kind national opinion survey on environmental issues was conducted in 2016 in a series of three surveys including ten socio-demographic questions in each survey. The survey covered a wide range of topics from climate change to government policies to urbanization to food. The results show a large number of people are deeply aware of the local and global environmental problems. Overall, the … Continue reading

Arab Perspectives on Wildlife Conservation

The conservation of natural resources has historical depth. Archaeological findings from ancient civilizations, such as the Incas, Indians and Egyptian, show that some animals had special religious significance in their cultures and ideologies. In modern times, vested interests have made sure to increase the animal population for the pleasure of hunting although can’t be considered conservation nevertheless it did affect the number of these animals. The human activities in the past century have jeopardized the population of many animals, making the establishment of conservation crucial to the continuity of wildlife species, thus maintaining the fine balance between biodiversity and wildlife. … Continue reading

Features of a Green Building

A green building incorporates environmental considerations into every stage of the building construction and focuses on the design, construction, operation and maintenance phases. The key process difference between green and conventional buildings is the concept of integration, whereby a multi-disciplinary team of building professionals work together from the pre-design phase through post-occupancy to optimize the building for environmental sustainability, performance, and cost saving. Green buildings offer widespread benefits to a number of building industry stakeholders, including building occupants and society as a whole. Green buildings typically incorporate superior air quality, abundant natural light, access to views and noise control which benefits … Continue reading

Green Ahadith – Ecological Advice from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is one of the most, if not the only one who reached a pinnacle of success by not only verbally teaching, but stringently applying Islamic principles of ecological welfare. His concern for preserving nature was so consistent that history reports the only time he cut down plants were the palm trees in Madina to impede the Jewish tribe Banu Nadhir. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, categorically taught people to live on less, to protect animal and plant life, and to worship the Creator by being merciful to the creation. What is … Continue reading

Green Buildings Certification in MENA – Issues and Challenges

Green building rating systems are increasingly gaining attention in the building industry in the MENA region. During the last 15 years, there has been a regional trend in developing and applying green building ratings systems. In several countries such systems have been developed in an attempt to follow the international green movement. For example, the Pearl Building Rating System (PBRS) was founded in UAE in 2007, the Green Pyramid (GPRS) and ARZ Building Rating System in Egypt and Lebanon respectively were founded in 2008, the Edama was proposed in Jordan in 2009 and Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS) was founded in 2010.  … Continue reading

Water Conservation Strategies for Middle East

To deal with freshwater management challenges in the Middle East, it is important to bring a balance between both water supply and demand side. This can be done by employing strategies to increase water efficiency and conservation. Water conservation strategies for the Middle East include reducing the use of potable water where possible, find alternative source of water for various water usage and increase the water efficiency of fixtures and equipments.  Efficient strategies along with water monitoring that tracks water consumption and identifies problems can significantly reduce both indoor and outdoor water consumption in water-scarce GCC countries like UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and … Continue reading

Tips for Hot Water Conservation in Households

With the drop in temperatures and persisting cold weather in many Middle East counties, use of hot water at home, offices, commercial centers, educational buildings and institutions have increased many folds. In winter, heating water for showers, laundry and washing makes up more than a third of an average household’s water and energy use, so it is important to heat water efficiently and conserve the water and energy. This is now essential as the cost of both electricity and water are going to rise in the near future, as in Bahrain, and consumers have to pay the part cost of these … Continue reading

Making a Switch to Circular Economy

All forms of wealth and security, including climate stability, biodiversity, resource availability, soil fertility, air and water purity and health, are depleted by the systemic error of running a linear economy. Linear economics consumes the basis for future growth so what is now growing fastest is unproductive activity, inactivity and instabilities. The credit crunch marks the withdrawal of faith in growth-as-usual and any reliable revival of growth and prosperity requires a switch of vision. Circular Economics The future for growth is circular economics where more economic activity would mean a faster pace of change away from waste-making and towards looking … Continue reading

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