Egypt’s youth are an inspiring bunch. They have taken down a dictator, and withstood the subsequent uncertainty, but their hardest battle may come in convincing the country that the natural surroundings are worth saving. But they are not being deterred. A few dedicated environmentalists in the country gathered this month to continue to build the country’s first National Coalition on Climate Change, which will look at a range of issues from recycling and trash to global rises in temperatures and how Egyptians can help the battle.
With the COP18 conference kicking off in Doha, Qatar, where over 15,000 environmental leaders from across the globe have descended upon the Gulf country to push for an agreement on how to combat and mitigate the rising impacts of climate change, Egypt is beginning to see their efforts manifest in a concerted and unified effort to put the environment on the agenda.
One environmentalist, who asked not to be named as he was not a spokesperson for the new coalition, told Green Prophet that “this is a way to bring people together in a way that does not antagonize or patronize Egyptians. We believe strongly that Egypt can be a place where environmental issues take hold. It just takes time.”
But time might not be on Egypt’s side, as reports suggest that as global temperatures rise and ocean levels increase, Egypt could see a dramatic rise in potential famine and flooding as a direct result. But these predominantly young activists believe they can combat climate change by focusing on what people can do now and at home.
Although Egypt only emits less than one percent of all global greenhouse emissions, its location as a transit point for the world makes it a key player in the debate over how to combat climate change. And its position as a regional leader could be of substance when countries look for renewable energy sources.
According to local reports, top environmentalists Lama el-Hatow and Sarah Rifaat are leading the charge for the National Coalition on Climate Change in the country.
Already, even before they get to work on developing positions and public campaigns, the group joining forces includes biogas experts, sanitation experts and students with an interest in green energy, as well as Nile River researchers and activists, urban planners, marine life specialists and many more.
What looked like a dormant and almost non-existent environmental movement only a few months ago has picked up steam this month in Egypt and the future could be bright and fertile.
Image via 350 Egypt Facebook Page