The date palm is an important part of the religious, cultural, and economic heritage of the Arabian Peninsula and the rest of the Middle East. But now it is being decimated by a tiny invasive beetle.
Archive by category Travel & Nature
Traveling the green way is easy in the Middle East as most countries. Read this section to find the latest environmental travel and nature stories.
A new online petition has been created to curtail animal cruelty in Saudi Arabia. It calls for ending the use of violence against animals for human pleasure and currently needs around 1200 signatures in order for the petition and letter to be sent to the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture.
The safety of the balloon industry is again questioned in the wake of a hot air balloon crash near Cappadocia, Turkey today that killed two, officials announced. Some 23 other tourists from Brazil, Spain and Argentina have been injured as the hot air balloon hit another’s basket mid-air while drifting over volcanic rock formations.
Just months after announcing that the ruinous scheme to construct a land and sea bridge between Saudi Arabia and Egypt is still on track, officials from both countries have jointly pledged to protect the Red Sea and its compromised ecological bounty.
The Lower Jordan River, the baptismal river of Jesus, has been dead at its source for some time. For the first time in ages, Israel is releasing native waters via a pump back to the historic waterway.
Ice hotels are fairly commonplace in northern countries where temperatures regularly fall below freezing, but that didn’t stop the Sharaf Group from opening an ice lounge in the middle of the desert.
Over the millennia, the Mediterranean Sea has become much more than a transport hub for empires that control the region: It links nations, feeds countries, and its shores hold some of the world’s most expensive real estate and natural beauty.
When Noah was told by God to load two of all animals onto a special hand-built ark, there was no mention of the blind shrimp species found only in Israel. There probably was no need to protect the small crustacean living happily underwater – until now.
You might not be able to strut around in a thong or sun tan topless in the Middle East (unless you are at the Naked Dead Sea), but there are many beautiful beaches in the region that just don’t get enough fanfare. That’s why we have rounded up ten of the most sublime sandy destinations.
Oman is a small and increasingly popular country that borders Abu Dhabi, the home of Masdar City and the Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant, and it is hosts the world’s second largest population of Loggerhead Turtles. Listed as vulnerable by the International Union of Conservation (IUCN), these marine turtles can weigh anywhere from 300 [...]
Thousands of years ago the area around the Giza Pyramids was abuzz with activity as a throng of workers built the pyramid of Pharaoh Menkaure – the smallest of the three, and also the last. According to Live Science, researchers who have spent more than two decades studying the Egyptian archaeology site have long puzzled [...]
A couple of years ago in Dubai we interviewed the Green Sheikh – a beloved figure in the United Arab Emirates who is a devoted father and husband, hyper productive activist, and a faith leader. Plus he is smart- PhD smart. Referencing the many expatriates living (and generating wealth) in the country, he said something [...]
It’s Earth Day, which means you will see at least 100 stories in your Facebook and Twitter feeds that will list the many ways that you can become a better earthly citizen. And most of them are valid. Yet I yearned to find a more meaningful way to honor the day, so this year I [...]
Campaigners in Lebanon are asking for support to protect an ancient Phoenician coastline which is under threat due to a port project Lebanese environment campaigners are calling on nature lovers far and wide to help them protect an important piece of their natural heritage along the Mediterranean Sea. It seems that a beautiful part of the [...]
Egypt is not a country that is fond of reporting oil spills – whether they occur on the Red Sea, in the Suez Canal or the Nile. But it has managed to start clean up a worrying diesel spill into the Nile River, a spill which has leaked onto the shores of Lake Nasser, China.org is reporting. [...]
I recently spent a weekend in Istanbul, one of my most beloved cities. My hotel was based in Fatih, the run down section of the old town, and it overlooked the Little Aya Sofya mosque – also spelled Sophia, or Sofia. The morning before I flew, I thought it would be the perfect moment to [...]
Today there are a dizzying variety of wildflowers blossoming across Israel, welcoming the months of spring. Fifty years ago some of these plant species were on the verge of extinction.
Paris marathon organizers plan on ripping off its runners! Energy-harvesting tiles placed along an 80 foot section of the Champs Elysee will capture energy from the pounding feet of 40,000 racers. The technology developed by Pavegen offers a tangible way for people to engage with renewable energy generation. The flexible tiles made from recycled truck tires [...]
Researchers keen to understand the role that dust plays in climate change have discovered that 5,000 years ago, what we now think of as the vast, unforgiving Sahara desert home to nomads and camels was once a green grassland where elephants and giraffe roamed, RD Mag reports. From 11,000 to 5,000 years ago, the 3.5 [...]
Is the Red Sea shark spotted at Eilat beach, Israel escaping illegal hunters in Egypt? While it’s rare to find sharks in the Mediterranean Sea (they are almost extinct), they are not so uncommon in the Red Sea. Its warm waters and ample food source bait sharks who sometimes get personal with bathers and divers. [...]
The Birdmen of Istanbul, a film by Ali Naki Tez, follows the reclusive, fascinating old men who have devoted their lives to tending Istanbul’s songbirds. The documentary opens on two old men discussing a mysterious ailment. It alienates you from your family, your work, your regular social circle, they say, before revealing the culprit: bird disease. [...]
Eating at unique restaurants around the world is just one of the perks of a traveler’s life, but these experiences are always more fun when shared with our readers – especially when it involves subterranean spaces, that brought to mind these 700 year old cave homes in Iran. Thought to be up to 180,000 years [...]
With the advent of modern agriculture and technology, it is no longer necessary for most people to shoot their dinner. Yet the taste for the sport of tracking and shooting an animal has persisted, and in some countries, hunting is carefully regulated to maintain a sound balance between predator and prey. Working with the local [...]
Super-sized rats infesting Tehran are so huge that a special team of sharpshooters using night-vision-equipped rifles have been tasked with extermination. It sounds like a sci-fi B movie, but the problem is real. Rats have long plagued Iran, and the problem worsens when springtime arrives: melting mountain snows flood the critters’ nests, and millions are [...]
Springtime in Jordan brings ferocious sandstorms and a nose-clogging meteorological phenom called “khamsin”. Grab your Michael Jackson face masks and the decongestant of your choice, close the windows tight and stockpile tissues. The dry, dusty winds of khamsin are blowing across the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa and right into your sinus canals. That image [...]
The fig: over 750 varieties and native to the Middle East The strong grey trunk, the wide velvety leaves, the sticky itchy white milk resin that leaks from the cracked leaves, its round crimson fruits with their bellies filled with honeyed goodness. In my opinion, nothing beats a fig tree. The fig (which tastes great [...]
Up to 100,000 people died in Somalia during the 2011 famine that devastated the Horn of Africa, and British scientists have reported that climate change is partly responsible. The short rains at the end of 2010 failed as a result of natural variations in weather caused by La Nina, Peter Stott of Britain’s Met Office [...]
Two thousand years ago, Lake Bafa was a bay in the Aegean Sea, known as the Gulf of Latmus. The remains of ancient Byzantine monasteries can still be found on its islets and nearby mountains. Today, the lake in Turkey’s Muğla Province is home to remarkable biodiversity: 261 bird species, 25 plant species, 22 reptile [...]
Roughly half of the world’s population lives in resource-rich countries, and yet the same number survives on less than $2.50 per day. How can this be? Partly, the answer lies with irresponsible resource extraction. Giant corporations move in to communities, suck up their oil, gas, or minerals, make shifty deals with corrupt governments, and leave [...]
Locusts that bred in southern Egypt first swarmed Cairo, causing panic in Israel and Jordan, and now Lebanese farmers are battling the pests as well. Farmers in the north and south of Lebanon reported locust clouds over the weekend and expressed concern over the impact the insects would have on their crops. But the Agriculture Ministry [...]
Is red tide a man-made pollutant or a natural phenomenon? Is it a plant, animal or chemical? The answer is all of the above. The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Environment and Water indicates that red tide may be present in the waters of the Gulf of Oman. As a precautionary measure, Sharjah Electricity and [...]
Mediterranean sharks risk extinction while “serious implications” feared for marine ecosystems and beyond. Accidental catches and sharks for fin soup are to blame Shark populations in the Mediterranean and Black Sea have dropped dramatically over the last two centuries and now risk extinction, with serious implications for the region’s entire marine ecosystem and food chains, [...]
An artist’s impression of the Arctic camel. Illustration by Julius Csotonyi via The Guardian Millions of years ago, the ancestor of modern-day camels once roamed the Arctic, according to scientists from the Canadian Museum of Nature. While working in Ellesmere, a cold and unforgiving place that lies within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Dr Natali Rybczynski [...]
Making Ecocide a crime and legally punitive could be one way of getting corporations to respect the environment Unlike humans, nature does not have a voice. It cannot voice its concerns for being mistreated, overused and abused and it cannot stop the harm it often undergoes; however, this may change soon. In April 2010, Polly [...]
Officials have confiscated 37 lions and tigers in Saudi Arabia, according to Arab News. The paper said that the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development will be transferring the wild cats that had been illegally smuggled into the Kingdom over the last two years into facilities that comply with the Convention on International Trade in [...]
When he first began his career as a young biologist, Allan Savory basically ordered the culling of 40,000 elephants. He and other scientists in Zimbabwe observed that former grasslands set aside as national parks were turning to desert and decided, after considerable research, that elephants were responsible. But it didn’t help to kill them. In [...]
Israel has set up a special task force to prepare for the possibility that a locust swarm may migrate from Egypt and destroy precious crops. Already some sources are saying that a small swarm of locusts has been spotted in the southern Gaza strip after millions of locusts descended upon various Cairo neighborhoods over the [...]
Only 177 countries behind the times, Lebanon has finally joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), The Daily Star reports. One of the last Middle Eastern countries to get on board, Lebanon has not done well to protect the 100 or so species in the country that are [...]
At 7am on Tuesday, a frightful explosion rocked Luxor, where ancient Egyptian antiquities draw scores of tourists each year. The blast that engulfed a hot air balloon in mid air was heard and felt several kilometers away. One Egyptian and 18 foreign tourists are said to have died and the Civil Aviation Minister told Reuters [...]
New underwater photos from five different locations around the Gulf of Izmir confirm that life is returning to the once-blighted water. The gulf was used as an open sewer system from the 1960s until 2000, when the city of Izmir initiated the Big Gulf Project to clean it up. Those efforts are paying off, according [...]