How Mindfulness Can Support Sustainability

Though the two may seem to lack connection, mindfulness and sustainability can actually go hand-in-hand. This may be especially true if you wish to adopt new sustainability practices or change various habits that affect the environment. So, how do they go together, and what can you do if you need help with mindfulness? About Mindfulness To understand how mindfulness can support sustainability, it may be helpful to first define mindfulness as a standalone concept. The American Psychological Association or APA dictionary describes and defines mindfulness as, “awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings.” Mindfulness is a common tool employed in … Continue reading

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

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 … Continue reading

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 … 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

SEA as Sustainability Mainstreaming and Planning Tool in Jordan

Seeking to find its own recipe for sustainability planning, Jordan is piloting Strategic Environmental Assessment as a tool for planning and managing development zones or special economic areas. Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a systematic process for evaluating the environmental consequences of proposed policy, strategy or master plan in order to ensure they are fully included and appropriately addressed at the earliest appropriate stage of decision-making on par with economic and social consideration. Using a unique model, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has prepared Strategic Environmental Assessment and Strategic Environmental Management Plan (SEMP) for the Dead Sea Development Zone which was … Continue reading

Greening Your Business

With growing awareness among consumers for eco-friendly products, it is becoming highly important for businesses in the Middle East to adopt and implement green strategies. It is not only the requirement of customers but also compliance to regulations and reduction in operating costs that drive the implementation of environment-friendly methods in business. Corporate social responsibility (or CSR) is now driven by pollution prevention, energy efficiency, eco-friendly design, and industrial ecology across all industrial sectors.  Components of a Green Business A green business appears to be an expensive and cumbersome process. On the contrary it is quite easy to have a green … Continue reading

Top 3 Trends in Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability occupies an increasingly important position on the corporate agenda around the world. The major ingredients of environmental sustainability are elimination of waste and emissions, maximizing energy efficiency and productivity and minimizing practices that may adversely affect utilization of natural resources by coming generations. More and more companies are realizing the importance of environmental initiatives in business development and brand promotion. Decrease in energy and raw material usage combined with reduced emissions and waste generation can tackle a host of environmental challenges facing the world. Leading IT companies, like Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Google, are investing in renewable sources of … Continue reading

4 Things 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 every Muslim embark … Continue reading

Paper Bag Boy’s Message to the World

Abdul Muqeet, also known as the Paper Bag Boy, has risen from being just another ordinary student to an extra-ordinary environmentalist. Ten-year old Abdul Muqeet has demonstrated remarkable commitment to saving the environment in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere, and has been a poster-boy for environmental campaigns in the Middle East. Here he shares his views on environment, recycling and public awareness. It is said that you should break your goals down into small steps which you can accomplish each day. Set a goal, and approach it in a simple and basic manner. When I started my environmental campaign couple of years … Continue reading

Environmental Sustainability in Qatar: Perspectives

In recent years, the concept of environmental sustainability is slowly, but steadily, getting prominence, both in the public and private sectors in Qatar. Mounting environmental pressure has led to the development of new initiatives in several state-owned and private companies. As a major fossil exporter and one of the wealthiest countries, Qatar should do its fair share in reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions and developing strong climate adaptation plans. Many companies are investing heavily in replacing old turbines, boilers, and furnaces, minimizing GHG and non-GHG emissions, and wastewater discharge. The new companies that were set up in last decade are adopting … Continue reading

منهاج النظام التربوي البيئي في المملكة العربية السعودية

تمت مناقشة المادة السادسة ضمن الإتفاقية الإطارية للأمم المتحدة بشأن تغير المناخ, و التي تُعنى بالتعليم البيئي و بالأمور المناخية ,في مؤتمر بون المناخي2013 و التحضيري لمؤتمر الأعضاء في نسخته التاسعة عشر ببولندا. تنص هذه المادة على نشر ثقافة التصدي لآثار التغييرات المناخية بين الشعوب عبر إدراج مواد مخصصة في المناهج التعليمية و إشراك الطلاب في إيجاد خطط و حلول للتعامل مع هذه العوامل المناخية. بالإضافة إلى ذلك يتم عقد ورشات عمل و ندوات لتنمية المعاهد و المدارس المعنية بهذا المفهوم من حيث تبادل الخبرات, و في تسهيل مهمة إيصال المعلومات و نشرها بين شرائح المجتمع. يقتصر دور التوعية البيئية … Continue reading