Climate Change Impacts in MENA

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is known for being one of the hottest places on Earth, and highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. In an IPCC special report on regional climate change, models projected that average temperatures in the region will increase by 1-2˚C by 2030-2050. Decision makers and citizens in all 21 countries realize that they are faced with an immediate need to reshape energy, agriculture, water and environmental policy to adapt to changing climate conditions. Steep Rise in Temperature Satellite data provided by Climate Engine from 1979 to present shows the mean max (average maximum) temperatures … Continue reading

A Message on World Water Day

Water is the major driving force of sustainable development. World Water Day aims to increase people’s awareness of the water’s importance in all aspects of life and focus on its judicious use and sustainable management. In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March as the first World Water Day (WWD). Since then the WWD is celebrated to draw wider public attention to the importance of water for mankind. Globally the day is celebrated to focus attention on water conservation, carrying out appropriate concrete measures and implementing the UN recommendations at individual, local and national level. WWD is a global day … Continue reading

Islamic Teachings on Animal Welfare

During the last few decades, agriculture and animal-rearing has become commercialized and industrialised. The breeding and slaughtering of farm animals in Muslim countries has become an unethical money-making business. In addition, the halal label  has lost its real meaning due to focus on maximum productivity and minimal compassion towards animals. The consumption of meat products  has increased manifolds in recent years which has led to significant increase in public health issues. Moreover, it is having harmful effects on the environment and on animal health as well. Animals and the Holy Quran Long before the emergence of the animal rights movement, … Continue reading

World Habitat Day – Shelter for All

World Habitat Day is observed every year on the first Monday of October throughout the world. It was established in 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 40/202 and was first celebrated in 1986 with the theme “Shelter is My Right”. The purpose of the day is to reflect on the state of our urban areas and the basic human right regarding provision of adequate shelter to all human beings. World Habitat Day (or WHD) also aims to remind the planners and government officials of the collective responsibility for the habitat of future generations and a day to encourage grassroots … Continue reading

The Dangers of Asbestos

The use of asbestos has been a widespread issue that continues to impact countries on a global scale. As a favored material used in buildings and construction projects throughout the 20th century, asbestos held an incredible appeal as a mineral known for its heat and fire resistant properties. For decades, this substance was synonymous with manufacturing and development. However, it was soon discovered that once asbestos was disturbed or damaged, the fibrous material could have a fatal effect on those that came into contact with it. Asbestos in the United States Despite its known dangers, asbestos continues to pose a … Continue reading

Waste Management in Morocco

Solid waste management is one of the major environmental problems threatening the Mediterranean Kingdom of Morocco. More than 5 million tons of solid waste is generated across the country with annual waste generation growth rate touching 3 percent. The proper disposal of municipal solid waste in Morocco is exemplified by major deficiencies such as lack of proper infrastructure and suitable funding in areas outside of major cities.  According to the World Bank, it was reported that before a recent reform in 2008 “only 70 percent of urban MSW was collected and less than 10 percent of collected waste was being … Continue reading

Fracking – A Risk Analysis

Recent events in the Europe and the United States have propelled fracking up the public and political agenda. Is the case for drilling full of holes? Despite apparent economic benefits, fracking has got entangled in a good deal of controversies with some countries outrightly banning or suspending it. Public health concerns, environmental issues, geomechanical risks, groundwater contamination, air pollution and waste management are some of the issues are coming under increasing public scrutiny.   No Sense of Well-being The oil and gas industry does not inspire huge public confidence, as attention focuses on major incidents like the Deepwater Horizon blowout, which have cost lives, caused … Continue reading

Environmental and Spiritual Benefits of Ramadan Fasting

Our environment is more than trees, water, land, and air. It is a sense of peace, an understanding of our place in our society. It sustains our satisfaction in life and our interest in caring for the life around us. Recognizing the sustaining forces that make up our environment sometimes requires a time of deep introspection. Few practices in the human repertoire can guide us to deep introspection like the profound practice of fasting in the holy month of Ramadan. For one full month in every year, fasting is required for Muslims all over the world. The day-long fasting process in … Continue reading

Deleterious Impact of Tire-Burning Kilns

Decorative arts such as woodworking, weaving as well as ceramics and other pottery have a long and honored tradition.  In fact, some of the earliest examples of pottery originate from the Middle East from the time of 6500 BC. In order to meet the ceramic industry’s high energy demand, much of the developing world, MENA in particular, is resorting to cheaper alternatives such as fueling kilns by burning tires and other harmful materials. Though modern technology has led to clean and efficient kiln usage in the developed world, these options come with a high price tag when referring to industrial … 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

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

Sickness of Buildings – Causes, Risks and Solutions

Environment is not only important for its own sake, but also as a resource for healthier living conditions and well-being. Poor environmental quality and its current and future impact on human health is a significant concern worldwide. Air pollution causes significant health problems. In fact, knowledge about the links between health and air quality has considerably improved in the last few decades. According to a WHO report, more than 30% of new and renovated buildings worldwide may generate severe complaints related to indoor air quality. What is Sick Building Syndrome Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is used to describe situations in which … Continue reading

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