Let’s face it, the environment in Jordan is the least of anyone’s concern. Poverty, unemployment, corruption, standards of living; these are the main issues facing the average Jo. This year alone we nearly had a chunk of our most treasured (and rare) forests, the Dibbin forest, uprooted for a tourist complex. Thankfully, that catastrophe was avoided but it was an example of various things. It was an example of how the new business atmosphere in the country has pushed environmental issues in Jordan from the backseat and straight into the trunk. But it also demonstrated that a small group of individuals could make an impact on big business, if and when the will is there.
For Blog Action Day, I didn’t want to talk about specific environmental issues in Jordan. I didn’t want to talk about numbers or rant about the usual suspects. I wrote a feature in this month’s Jordan Business entitled Global Warnings that is a pretty decent (and succinct) primer on the main (global) issue at heart.
What I wanted to talk about instead is the lack of debate in the country when it comes to anything environment-related. There’s really no lobby or interest group the likes of which we see in various other nations such as the U.S., and that’s troublesome. Like the Dibbin case, the broader message being sent is that the environment is something dispensable. And just like the Dibbin case, the other broader message being sent is that some things are worth fighting for, and must be fought for.
Which is why I feel that at the very least, the debate should always be put on the table, and on behalf of the citizenry, not just politicians. And while I understand that the average Jo has more immediate issues to deal with, as mentioned before, I think even a minority that has various socio-economic tools at hand, can make a difference.
I think this is what Blog Action Day is about; talking about the issue, putting it on the table.
The country has committed many sins at the expense of the environment. From the big business polluters, to the average Jo that flicks his or her garbage on to the street, or trucks and their uncontrollable cloud of exhaust fumes. At times I’m even convinced that one may be just as bad as the other.
Though I think the biggest sin would be neglecting the debate, avoiding the issue altogether; not talking about it or brushing it off as completely unimportant. It would be a sin against God, country, and future generations. Because by engaging in it we are by default starting a chain reaction that would inevitably lead to altering our culture. If that alone is accomplished during my lifetime, it would be a proud moment.
“the average Jo that flicks his or her garbage on to the street…”
A beginning might be to simply ask businesses to have large trash cans on the sidewalk so people can use them. I would regularly put trash in my pocket and wait, but most people don’t want to do that. Also, there are little trash cans at the bus stops, but they are tiny and almost always overflowing with trash.
el hawa hawaya …after years of hearing that everyone in jordan is taking B12 shots and supplements (actually it seemed like everyone to me Dr. Hareega says it’s only half the population)it turns out that nitrous oxide which is emitted from vehicles causes the breakdown of B12 in the body
“I think this is what Blog Action Day is about; talking about the issue, putting it on the table.”
that’s pretty much it, increase awareness, tech people about how small things can accumulate and do serious damage to the planet. and then teach them how to take baby steps towards making this planet safer to live on.
I have worked ihn environmental awareness with civil society for more than 10 years now and I can be pretty positive to say that the current situation is much better than the past.
Maybe there is no overall indicator of environmental awareness but I can see changes in attitudes from avergae people to decision-makers to businessmen gradually happenning. I guess it is both an issue of international pressures for sustainability and an internal drive for the need to protect the quality of life that has strengthened the environmental movement.
The environmental NGOs in Jordan are fragile due to their dependence of foreign aid and the competition between various organizations. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature is THE only NGO in the Arab world that runs protected areas and I can dare to say one of the very few in the world to do so. Other NGOs are weaker but collectively can form a good movement.
I am still optimistic about the future of environmental advocacy in Jordan. I have seen change happenning infront of my eyes.