Climate Change Activism in the MENA Region

Sara AMAR 2019-08-08 00:00:00 Social
Climate Change Activism in the MENA Region

Climate change is the major threat facing the life on the planet earth. Recent reports from all international organizations dealing with energy and climate change (IPCC), energy efficiency (IRENA) and others are ringing the alarm about the big changes in the temperature and high rates of pollution. Moreover, no community is immune to the consequences of climate change, including the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA region) (World Bank).

 

The ecological and geological characteristics of MENA region are putting it in high risks. In fact, the MENA region is one of the world’s most rapidly transforming regions, politically, economically, demographically and environmentally (Demographic and economic material factors in the MENA region by Musa Mckee). Land degradation, water stress, droughts, food insecurity, heat waves and trends of urbanization will have significant impacts upon the future development of this region. These impacts are already being witnessed in most countries of the region. Young people plays a major role in the climate change activism, they have a big ability to drive change as the inheritors of this planet.

As the voice of youth is growing on a daily basis in developed and underdeveloped countries and the rise of youth activism for climate change as for example the school strike act entitled “Friday For Future”. Young people are becoming important stakeholders in driving change. However, the youth activism in the MENA region is categorized in the beginning stages. According to the world bank, the reason behind the slow activism movement in the MENA region is due to the lack of awareness about the issue, and particularly among young people who might be able to speak up for regional and global climate action.

Despite this low knowledge and awareness rate, we have noticed recently an increase of youth activism in climate change. Among the oldest youth movement is the Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) that was established in September 2012 to lead up the UNFCCC COP18 negotiation in Doha. The AYCM is defined according to their official website as an independent body that works to create a generation-wide movement across the Middle East & North Africa to solve the climate crisis, and to assess and support the establishment of legally binding agreements to deal with climate change issues within international negotiations. The AYCM is serving 15 Arab countries.

In our quest to evaluate the MENA region youth activist in Climate Change. We did ask three youth activists from different countries in the region on their opinion on the problem and their expectation for the future of activism and sustainable change.  

Gamaleddin TARAKHAN from Libya

Gamaleddin is young activist in environmental protection, he is an architect and a member of the Libyan council of the green building; he is a graduate of Benghazi Univesity in 2018 with a degree in Architecture and Urban Planning and the winner of the Libyan Innovation Prize for Architecture and Urbanism. According to Gamaleddin, the council was established in 2013 and their objective is to create a checklist that will include a set of a key performance that should be implemented in each new building in Libya in order to reduce the energy consumption. This checklist as it was described should include the amount of natural light and ventilation of a building, recycling and energy consumption for example. As it is difficult to reach out to the government, the council is trying to define a set of conduct between architects of the country as a first step. The aim of the council that is considered an NGO and volunteer community is to be recognized by the government as an institute regulating the buildings in the country, as it is the case in the United State and Great Britain. 

According to Gamaleddin, the climate change activism is not considered as the first concern for the Libyan youth. The country is trying to move to more stable state, however, youth activists are trying to organize conferences and seminars to enhance awareness regarding the climate crisis and even some citizens are shifting to renewable energies as the use of solar panels for hot water is increasing in the country. Gamaleddin is hoping to improve the situation of Libya and motivate more citizens to embrace a sustainable behavior.   

Youssef LAMNAOUAR from Morocco

Youssef is a 28 years old young entrepreneur; he is the founder of the social enterprise Virtus that is operating in the treatment of trash and recycling. According to Youssef, the raison behind his initiative is his care about the future of our planet and youth. 

“I am aware of the problem of climate change that’s why I created Virtus C.E.L to participate in the protection of the environment while creating sustainable jobs for people experiencing difficulties in finding work.” Youssef LAMNAOUAR

Climate change is a crucial issue that everybody need to take seriously. It is not limited to a scientific research anymore but we are noticing the increasing impact in our daily life year after year. According to Youssef, youth are aware of the climate change crisis since it is becoming a trending issue on social media. The main areas in which young people tend to get involved with when it comes to climate change and environmental protection is waste management. Youth are facing this problem from the first step they take outside their homes; they see bins too full and waste on the ground witch is pushing them to find creative solutions to the problem of waste in their neighborhoods. 

The majority of youth activism is done through NGOs that is targeting citizens and also occasionally decision makers and government officials. According to Youssef, youth do not get excited about getting involved in politics and even collaborate with politicians, since the majority of officials and political parties do not consider working with NGOs. It is actually a very sad reality.

To lookout the work of Virtus: https://www.facebook.com/VirtusRecycle/

The Orenda Tribe from Jordan

The Orenda Tribe is a Jordanian lifestyle brand that was founded in 2016 by Zaid Souqi to empower youth across the world through art and story-telling. As described in the website the vision of the Orenda Tribe is to create a world where youth are empowered to make positive change in their own communities. Their focus is to raise awareness on social issues through story-telling; the three main values of Orenda Tribe are: Empowerment, Community and Sustainability.
According to Zaid SOUQI, the founder of The Orenda Tribe. Through his first school of beautification project with The Orenda Tribe at Gaza Refugee Camp, he realized the power of integrating art with civic engagement in breaking barriers between people. Since then The Orenda Tribe adopted a giving back model that is inclusive of community members and uses art and storytelling as a tool for empowerment; reaching now more than 3000 young people through its Art for Hope initiative in 9 different communities.

https://www.theorendatribe.com/

Currently Moroccan Youth are seeking to present a request to the Prime Minister Mr. Saad Eddin EL OUTHMANI, the Secretary of State to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development, in charge of sustainable development Mrs. Nezha El Ouafi and the Government of Morocco. Mr. Youssed Aoujil a young activist did start a petition as part #AllinforClimateAction. The requests of the Moroccan youth are:

  1. Declaring a climate emergency as a way for awareness. Raising our children to be good servants of nature and to recognize their role in the global ecosystem.
  2. Immediately stop funding and subsidizing fossil fuels and destroying climate. Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and make it illegal for any bank, market, government, or lending institution to finance, trade, or secure fossil fuel projects, deforestation, or climate destruction.
  3. Fair transfer of the economy, including industries related to fossil fuels and climate destruction. Ensure that workers are at the heart of this transformation taking into account the dignity of all types of work, paid or unpaid, for men or women.
  4. Allow renewable energies to flourish. Remove all obstacles to the development of renewable energies and create support programs to enable everyone to have access to clean and renewable energy.
  5. Construct coherent public transport systems and non-gas emission transport.
  6. Ensure that our diets support global systems of survival. Nutrition will promote minimal impact - agricultural methods seek to reduce carbon emissions, reduce meat consumption, more plant food, and eliminate food waste.
  7. Respect the lungs of the earth. End deforestation and deforestation from our production chains. Recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities as custodians of their land.
  8. Large-scale reforestation. Reimagine the role of nature in our world, our nations and our cities - or the role of humanity as part of nature.
  9. Drastically reduce consumption and implement tight plans for ecologically sustainable economies, including halting community-centered growth. Recommend circular and waste-free economies.
  10. Implement robust adaptation plans on climate impacts, especially for those most vulnerable. Engage in comprehensive impact forecasting and participate in global planning to address these changes and provide adequate adaptation funding.

 

To sign the petition: Change.org; Morocco ; #Climate Emergency – #AllinforClimateAction

 

References:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/the-arab-worlds-best-weapon-against-climate-change-its-youth/

https://www.boell.de/en/2016/08/29/perspectives-issue9-region-heating-climate-change-activism-middle-east-and-north-africa

http://www.iai.it/sites/default/files/menara_wp_3.pdf

https://theglobepost.com/2017/11/09/women-morocco-climate-change/

https://africatimes.com/2018/04/30/moroccan-activists-create-human-sun-to-press-for-renewable-energy/

 

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Climate change is the major threat facing the life on the planet earth. Recent reports from all international organizations dealing with energy and climate change (IPCC), energy efficiency (IRENA) and others are ringing the alarm about the big changes in the temperature and high rates of pollution. Moreover, no community is immune to the consequences of climate change, including the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA region) (World Bank).

The ecological and geological characteristics of MENA region are putting it in high risks. In fact, the MENA region is one of the world’s most rapidly transforming regions, politically, economically, demographically and environmentally (Demographic and economic material factors in the MENA region by Musa Mckee). Land degradation, water stress, droughts, food insecurity, heat waves and trends of urbanization will have significant impacts upon the future development of this region. These impacts are already being witnessed in most countries of the region. Young people plays a major role in the climate change activism, they have a big ability to drive change as the inheritors of this planet.

As the voice of youth is growing on a daily basis in developed and underdeveloped countries and the rise of youth activism for climate change as for example the school strike act entitled “Friday For Future”. Young people are becoming important stakeholders in driving change. However, the youth activism in the MENA region is categorized in the beginning stages. According to the world bank, the reason behind the slow activism movement in the MENA region is due to the lack of awareness about the issue, and particularly among young people who might be able to speak up for regional and global climate action.

Despite this low knowledge and awareness rate, we have noticed recently an increase of youth activism in climate change. Among the oldest youth movement is the Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) that was established in September 2012 to lead up the UNFCCC COP18 negotiation in Doha. The AYCM is defined according to their official website as an independent body that works to create a generation-wide movement across the Middle East & North Africa to solve the climate crisis, and to assess and support the establishment of legally binding agreements to deal with climate change issues within international negotiations. The AYCM is serving 15 Arab countries.

In our quest to evaluate the MENA region youth activist in Climate Change. We did ask three youth activists from different countries in the region on their opinion on the problem and their expectation for the future of activism and sustainable change.  

Gamaleddin TARAKHAN from Libya

Gamaleddin is young activist in environmental protection, he is an architect and a member of the Libyan council of the green building; he is a graduate of Benghazi Univesity in 2018 with a degree in Architecture and Urban Planning and the winner of the Libyan Innovation Prize for Architecture and Urbanism. According to Gamaleddin, the council was established in 2013 and their objective is to create a checklist that will include a set of a key performance that should be implemented in each new building in Libya in order to reduce the energy consumption. This checklist as it was described should include the amount of natural light and ventilation of a building, recycling and energy consumption for example. As it is difficult to reach out to the government, the council is trying to define a set of conduct between architects of the country as a first step. The aim of the council that is considered an NGO and volunteer community is to be recognized by the government as an institute regulating the buildings in the country, as it is the case in the United State and Great Britain. 

According to Gamaleddin, the climate change activism is not considered as the first concern for the Libyan youth. The country is trying to move to more stable state, however, youth activists are trying to organize conferences and seminars to enhance awareness regarding the climate crisis and even some citizens are shifting to renewable energies as the use of solar panels for hot water is increasing in the country. Gamaleddin is hoping to improve the situation of Libya and motivate more citizens to embrace a sustainable behavior.   

Youssef LAMNAOUAR from Morocco

Youssef is a 28 years old young entrepreneur; he is the founder of the social enterprise Virtus that is operating in the treatment of trash and recycling. According to Youssef, the raison behind his initiative is his care about the future of our planet and youth. 

“I am aware of the problem of climate change that’s why I created Virtus C.E.L to participate in the protection of the environment while creating sustainable jobs for people experiencing difficulties in finding work.” Youssef LAMNAOUAR

Climate change is a crucial issue that everybody need to take seriously. It is not limited to a scientific research anymore but we are noticing the increasing impact in our daily life year after year. According to Youssef, youth are aware of the climate change crisis since it is becoming a trending issue on social media. The main areas in which young people tend to get involved with when it comes to climate change and environmental protection is waste management. Youth are facing this problem from the first step they take outside their homes; they see bins too full and waste on the ground witch is pushing them to find creative solutions to the problem of waste in their neighborhoods. 

The majority of youth activism is done through NGOs that is targeting citizens and also occasionally decision makers and government officials. According to Youssef, youth do not get excited about getting involved in politics and even collaborate with politicians, since the majority of officials and political parties do not consider working with NGOs. It is actually a very sad reality.

To lookout the work of Virtus: https://www.facebook.com/VirtusRecycle/

The Orenda Tribe from Jordan

The Orenda Tribe is a Jordanian lifestyle brand that was founded in 2016 by Zaid Souqi to empower youth across the world through art and story-telling. As described in the website the vision of the Orenda Tribe is to create a world where youth are empowered to make positive change in their own communities. Their focus is to raise awareness on social issues through story-telling; the three main values of Orenda Tribe are: Empowerment, Community and Sustainability.
According to Zaid SOUQI, the founder of The Orenda Tribe. Through his first school of beautification project with The Orenda Tribe at Gaza Refugee Camp, he realized the power of integrating art with civic engagement in breaking barriers between people. Since then The Orenda Tribe adopted a giving back model that is inclusive of community members and uses art and storytelling as a tool for empowerment; reaching now more than 3000 young people through its Art for Hope initiative in 9 different communities.

https://www.theorendatribe.com/

Currently Moroccan Youth are seeking to present a request to the Prime Minister Mr. Saad Eddin EL OUTHMANI, the Secretary of State to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development, in charge of sustainable development Mrs. Nezha El Ouafi and the Government of Morocco. Mr. Youssed Aoujil a young activist did start a petition as part #AllinforClimateAction. The requests of the Moroccan youth are:

  1. Declaring a climate emergency as a way for awareness. Raising our children to be good servants of nature and to recognize their role in the global ecosystem.
  2. Immediately stop funding and subsidizing fossil fuels and destroying climate. Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and make it illegal for any bank, market, government, or lending institution to finance, trade, or secure fossil fuel projects, deforestation, or climate destruction.
  3. Fair transfer of the economy, including industries related to fossil fuels and climate destruction. Ensure that workers are at the heart of this transformation taking into account the dignity of all types of work, paid or unpaid, for men or women.
  4. Allow renewable energies to flourish. Remove all obstacles to the development of renewable energies and create support programs to enable everyone to have access to clean and renewable energy.
  5. Construct coherent public transport systems and non-gas emission transport.
  6. Ensure that our diets support global systems of survival. Nutrition will promote minimal impact - agricultural methods seek to reduce carbon emissions, reduce meat consumption, more plant food, and eliminate food waste.
  7. Respect the lungs of the earth. End deforestation and deforestation from our production chains. Recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities as custodians of their land.
  8. Large-scale reforestation. Reimagine the role of nature in our world, our nations and our cities - or the role of humanity as part of nature.
  9. Drastically reduce consumption and implement tight plans for ecologically sustainable economies, including halting community-centered growth. Recommend circular and waste-free economies.
  10. Implement robust adaptation plans on climate impacts, especially for those most vulnerable. Engage in comprehensive impact forecasting and participate in global planning to address these changes and provide adequate adaptation funding.

 

To sign the petition: Change.org; Morocco ; #Climate Emergency – #AllinforClimateAction

 

References:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/the-arab-worlds-best-weapon-against-climate-change-its-youth/

https://www.boell.de/en/2016/08/29/perspectives-issue9-region-heating-climate-change-activism-middle-east-and-north-africa

http://www.iai.it/sites/default/files/menara_wp_3.pdf

https://theglobepost.com/2017/11/09/women-morocco-climate-change/

https://africatimes.com/2018/04/30/moroccan-activists-create-human-sun-to-press-for-renewable-energy/