Green Prophet: How to Live a Car-Free Existence

My latest post at Green Prophet about why I chose not to drive a car and why I think going ‘car-free’ should be encouraged.

Although people seems to think that driving a car is as natural as.. well walking, the fact is that driving cars is a pretty new phenomena in the wider scale of things and everyone owning a car is an even newer trend. How did we get here? Well it wasn’t a coincidence, we were guided here by a number of factors: advertising, rising income, growing consumerist culture and the crafty work of some car manufactures.

According to the No-Nonsense Guide to Climate Change by Danny Chivers (which I recently reviewed), back in the early 1900′s companies like General Motors and Firestone aggressively bought out public transport systems in the US and then shut them down. Over a hundred commuter rail systems were closed and thousands of kilometres of rail tracks were pulled up. In fact, the poor state of public transport seems to be a (rather short-sighted) motivation behind why most people resort to driving cars. As Chivers points out, “the US love affair with the motor car was really more of an arranged marriage.”

See full post at Green Prophet.

Image via ecastro on flickr.

Can Planting Trees Really Solve the Israel-Palestine Conflict?

by Arwa Aburawa

There is this strange place where the green environmental movement and the Israel-Palestine conflict meet which I find simultaneously inspiring and problematic.

Inspiring because some good must come out of the tree-planting co-existance stuff even if it is hard to quantify and mostly seems to be feel-good vibes for international funders. Problematic because there are sinister undertones to some of the ‘green’ actions that, for example, diminish the gulf of inequality between Palestinians and Israelis, ignore the political dimension (causes) of the ecological conflict or fail to see that some tree-planting is just plain old ‘greenwashing’.

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What Happened To Islam’s Environmentally Friendly Architecture?

My latests musing on why so Muslim countries have abandoned Islam’s simple and sustainable architecture in favour of brash Gulf-style monstrosities. Here’s a snippet:

From luxury architecture in Mecca to the blinged-out buildings of Dubai, it seems that Islamic architecture is all about opulence and grandeur. The bigger and the more lavish- the better but it hasn’t always been like this. In the past, Islamic architecture relied on natural materials and some of the most iconic Islamic buildings were ones of simplicity and modesty– think the Kaaba in Mecca. Mud was something that was heartily used and architecture sought to reflect the environment rather than to outshine it…

Full article ‘What Happened to Islam’s Environmentally Friendly Architecture‘ at Green Prophet.

 

Animal Rights In Islamic Tradition

Well, I finally got round to doing the review of the book I posted about here (Islam, Climate Change and Frat Boy Elites) by Richard Foltz  called Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Culture and it’s now up on GreenProphet. Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite..

A Change On The Horizon?

 

Whilst highlighting the real potential within Islam to build on animals rights, the author is careful to distinguish between the existence of Islamic beliefs and their ability to translate into real action. In the fifth chapter which looks at contemporary Muslim attitudes on animal rights and chapter six which is dedicated to Islamic vegetarianism, Foltz is cautious to overstate the popularity of beliefs which focus on animal rights in the Muslim world.

Whilst acknowledging their existence, he states that these practices remain firmly outside the mainstream despite strong Islamic arguments for their adoption. Furthermore, the seventh chapter dedicated to the notorious negative treatment of dogs in the Muslim world is explored and although the argument behind the widespread notion that dogs are impure is challenged, Foltz admits that the predominant attitude remains one-sided and unchanged.

For full article see here.

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