A Whirlwind Guide to Palestinian Guesthouses

Get your fill of tasty, local food at the Sebastia Guesthouse in Palestine- one of many great guesthouses in Palestine

If you want to get off the beaten track, eat great food and meet locals in Palestine than a stay at a Palestinian guesthouse could be the thing for you. Rather than staying with huge, impersonal hotels that don’t connect with you or reflect your views, you could stay at a number of small guesthouses which support everything from Bedouins, women’s right, environmental conservation to community arts and culture.

A new website by Green Prophet’s very own eco-tourism guide Sarah Irving has been launched with a comprehensive list of guesthouses in Palestine. As Sarah points out, the guesthouses are important ways for the local communities to generate income and jobs, to build personal connections between diverse communities and also help tourists see a little bit more of the real Palestine. More

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Palestine’s Green City Tackles Water and Wastewater Management

The Arab region is believed to be one of the driest in the world– 70% of the land is dry and rainfall is sparse and the effects of climate change will only exacerbate the situation. As today is World Water Day, as well as highlighting the problems the region faces, here at Green Prophet we also want to celebrate the success stories of the region.

The planners behind Palestine’s first planned and green city called Rawabi (or ‘Hills’ in Arabic) have recently given the go-ahead for a feasibility study for a new regional wastewater facility which strengthens their commitment preserving water.

Despite initial reservations about the projects lack of solid waste and wastewater management, the recent announcement has gone someway toward alleviating environmentalists’ concerns.  The feasibility study will help plan for a wastewater treatment plant for the city and will also be “instrumental in identifying permanent solutions for the treatment of wastewater in a regional context.” More

Is the Middle East Buying into Disastrous Biofuels?

From solid gold biofuel Mercedes in Abu Dhabi to biofuel-producing algae lakes in Iran, it seems that biofuels are destined to play a part in the region’s future development. Now, Jordan has announced that it will be experimenting with planting Jatropha, a tree which produces high-quality biodiesel to be used in standard diesel cars.  But are biofuels really the solution to the Mideast’s dependency on gas and oil?

The recent announcement from the Jordanian government that it will be cultivating an oil-producing plant no doubt received a mixed reception.  On the one hand, anything which challenges the country’s heavy dependency on petroleum is surely a good thing.  On the other hand is the whole issue of whether biofuels are actually sustainable or ‘green’ fuels that should be encouraged. More

Bedouin Women Bring Solar Power To Their Villages

For many living in the harsh and desolate deserts of south Jordan, life without electricity is the norm. Either the infrastructure which provides electricity doesn’t reach them or they simply don’t have the money to afford it. However, all that looks set to change as two women bring to light the advantages of solar energy.

Two Jordanian Bedouin women have recently returned from a six-month course at a unique college in India where they were trained as solar engineers. The two women, who are illiterate and have never been employed, were carefully selected by the elders in the village to attend the course at Barefoot college in India which helps poor rural communities become more sustainable.

“We’ve been taught about solar energy and solar panels and how to generate light,” explains Rafi’a Abdul Hamid, a mother of four who lives in a tent in the deserts of south Jordan. “Hopefully when we return we will be able to teach others and use everything we’ve learnt here in India to improve our village.”

For full article see Green Prophet.

Restoring Iraq’s ‘Garden of Eden’- The Mesopotamian Marshlands

Marsh Arabs poling a traditional mashoof in th...

Image via Wikipedia

 

For over 7,000 years the Iraqi Marshland- also known as the Mesopotamian Marshlands- played an important role in global ecosystems by supporting rare wildlife and rich biodiversity. Located in south Iraq, the marshlands stretched to over 6,000 square miles and are believed by many to be the location of the Garden of Eden. In the 1980′s, however, Saddam drained the marshland to punish the Marsh Arabs who rebelled against him and turned their green lush wetlands into dusty deserts.

Following the 2003 war in Iraq which had its own destructive impact on the environment, a unique opportunity emerged to restore the marshlands in what has since been dubbed as ‘the largest habitat restoration project in the world’.

At its peak the Iraqi Marshlands were considered to be the largest wetland ecosystem in the Middle East but after the devastating draining projects under Saddam, the Marshland shrunk to just 10 percent of its original size. The Marsh Arab population dropped from around quarter of a million to just a few thousand.

One Iraqi who had fled the country under Saddam returned to find that the wetlands he knew as a child had been destroyed beyond recognition. Azzam Alwash, decided to change this and set up Nature Iraq to help re-flood and so restore the marshlands.

For full article see Green Prophet

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