Environmental NGOs as a Trigger for Social Good – a Jordanian Perspective

While growing in number and scope with each passing year, environmental NGOs in Jordan are striving to become a model in civil society participation, collaborative governance and social impact. They are demonstrating how green advocates can lead by example and become a role model for other development leaders. Those non-for-profits are challenged to not only be the watchdogs and outreach arms but also act as community organizers and change agents that our country and region aspire for. In harmony with the overall awakening of social entrepreneurship and youth movement within MENA region, green startups and community-based initiatives are climbing to … Continue reading

CSR Perspectives for the Middle East

Corporate Social Responsibility has moved beyond philanthropy, and is rapidly undergoing integration into the company’s core business strategy. However, in the Middle East, we can find companies that are still perceiving CSR as philanthropy and yet to view it as a “core business strategy “. Is it because of the culture and religion that we should give to the poor (Zakat or charity) so they consider it as their CSR? Should it be obligatory so companies will start thinking about CSR more strategically? Over the past few years, the interest has literally exploded in regional media and business community with … Continue reading

Sustainable Development in Jordan: Perspectives

During the last few decades, sustainable development emerged as a hot topic in many reform agendas and strategic management plans in Jordan. The picture is not always optimistic where poverty, climate change and wars to name but a few of the continuous burdens, yet, some results have been successfully reaped. In this article, I will provide a reflection on the sustainable development journey in Jordan. Firstly, what the country achieved from the year 2000 to 2015 and secondly, what challenges the country has to counter from the year 2015 to 2030. Millennium Development Goals – Year 2000 to 2015 Jordan … 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

Understanding Sand and Dust Storms

Sand and dust storms are regular occurrences around the world and more common in arid and semi-arid regions, such as the Middle East. Dust storms play an important role in global dust cycle, and can alter the radiative balance. It can damage agricultural crops and retard plant growth and alter the life cycle of the marine benthic organisms due to less sun light penetration into the sea floor. Dust storms can cause social disruption, economic loss and adverse impact on human health. When the visibility is below 1000 meters on a dusty day, it is considered that dust storm is occurring. … Continue reading

Green Roof Potential in Arab Cities

Urban green roofs have long been promoted as an easy and effective strategy for beautifying the built environment and increasing investment opportunity. The building roof is very important because it has a direct impact on thermal comfort and energy conservation in and around buildings. Urban green roofs can help to address the lack of green space in many urban areas. Urban green roofs provides the city with open spaces that helps reduce urban heat island effect and provides the human population on the site with a connection to the outdoors. However, we must differentiate between two types of urban green … Continue reading

#InspireMENA Story 1: Humanizing Architecture – Through the Eyes of Abeer Seikaly

Through the jasmine-scented roads of L’weibdeh (Jordan) I navigated my way to Abeer Seikaly’s studio, an old house that resembles Jordan's genuine and inspiring identity. Abeer Seikaly is a young Jordanian architect who has been featured on several global and local media platforms because of her innovation "Weaving a Home" that was shortlisted for the 2012 Lexus Design Award. Influence of Education and Local Knowledge Top architecture schools in the Arab world are heavily influenced by international trends in built environment and sustainability, and unfortunately Arabic reference material is largely ignored in teaching. The emerging thinking around built environment and its relationship … 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

Recycling and Artwork

Art and recycling goes hand-in-hand. Eco-artists are, nowadays, transforming old, recycled and resued object into amazing pieces of contemporary art. The trend started gaining prominence in 1980s when museums and galleries in the Western world opened their doors for such innovation and creativity. In recent years, many artists in the Middle East has started expressing their support for recycling and sustainability through artworks where they merge traditional tone with contemporary themes creating attractive installation art that express local cultural heritage in the larger public interests. Artists are expressing their emotions and ideas through a wide range of recyclables glass, cans, plastics, CDs, PET bottles etc.  Installation … Continue reading

Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air pollution is considered as one of the top environmental risks to public health worldwide due to increasing number of building-related illnesses. Studies have found that concentration of indoor pollutants is significantly higher indoors than they are in outdoor environment, which is two to five times and sometimes hundred times higher than outdoor levels. As most of the people spend 80% to 90% of their lives indoor, indoor air quality has significant implication on sustainability. Decreased indoor air quality can affect quality of life of the building occupant, increase health risks and increase the liability for building owner, decrease … Continue reading

Green SMEs in Middle East: Obstacles and Challenges

With ‘green’ being the buzzword across all industries, greening of the business sector and development of green skills has assumed greater importance all over the world, and Middle East is no exception. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in eco-design, green architecture, renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainability are spearheading the transition to green economy across a wide range of industries. Green SME sector in the Middle East has been growing steadily, albeit at a slower pace than anticipated.  Regulations One of the major obstacles in the progress of green SMEs in the Middle East the has been poorly-designed regulation. According … Continue reading

Sustainability Perspectives for Amman

Is Amman a sustainable city? No, it is not. That isn't a very surprising statement if you've ever lived in or visited Amman. By all means, it's a beautiful city, with plenty to offer visitors and residents alike. It is a diverse city with a wide range of experiences to offer between East and West Amman or Downtown to Abdoun. The fact remains however that it is not a very sustainable city. We as residents are not being kind to the city we call home. When I look at Amman I happen to see all the things I like, but also all … Continue reading