If you have been keeping an eye on the green scene in Jordan, then there’s no chance that you could have missed Mohammed Asfour. As well as the chairman of the Jordan Green Building Council, Asfour is a talented photographer with a great eye for nature and the skill to be able to capture its beauty. At the latest TEDxAmman talks hosted in Jordan, Asfour delivered a personal presentation about his early foray in environmental action and how the country could take action on climate change.
Unfortunately the video is entirely in Arabic with no captions so I dropped Asfour a couple of questions about his work and what motivated him to do take part in the talks. “My love relationship with nature started at a young age. And when you love something it’s not easy to ask yourself why!” he explains. “Perhaps it’s because it makes me happy. I enjoy being in nature, I enjoy working with green activists and I feel my economic background helps me deliver a more practical message.” You only need to look at some of his photography to see his passion for nature emanates through all his work.
In the past, Mohammad Asfour was the Environment, Water and Energy Sector Lead at the USAID Jordan Economic Development Program (SABEQ). He has also been in key in ensuring that green spaces in Jordan are protected from further development and agricultural projects. In his talk, Asfour highlights the diverse flora and fauna that Jordan enjoys and remarks that it’s time that locals were able to enjoy this. He highlights a project in the German city of Freiburg which has transformed a former military base into a green area and says that this is something Jordanians could aspire to.
Asfour is also keen to point out that nature is not only trees and plants, it’s also about the energy we use, the buildings we live and our entire surroundings. As such, we need holistic solutions that take into consideration matters such as economic development and sustainable energy creation. Indeed this need for practical solutions is what led to the creation of the Jordan Green Building Council which works to raise awareness of green build not only in Jordan but the wider Middle East region. His final message at the TEDxAmman conference was that Jordanians need to lend their voice and support to the environmental movement – either by supporting green projects or taking practical action in their neighbourhoods and cities.
So, why take to the stage with this message? “What I hope to achieve, is simply: inner peace,” he admits. “Helping our world become a greener place and ensuring a better future for our children. Green is not only about emissions it is also about a better quality of life and about green governance. When people start thinking green, they show more respect to each other and more appreciation to God’s creation.”
For more on Green Campaigners in Jordan see: