France has passed a new law that bans cups, cutlery, plates, and takeaway containers made from plastic. It’s The part of the nation’s Energy Transition for Green Growth Act, which will also carry out a ban on plastic bags in grocery shops and markets beginning in July. The law comes into effect in 2020. French President[.....]
Three public spaces in downtown Amman have been temporarily re-purposed as platforms to promote contemporary design from Jordan and the wider region. This is Amman Design Week, a first-time consolidation of the kingdom’s artistic capabilities, established and emerging, and the excellent choreography of its exhibits rivals that in any world-class city. Supported by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al[.....]
Dip a dowdy dress into one of the world’s saltiest lakes and see what happens. Artist Sigalit Landau did, and ended up growing a crystalline gown straight out of Frozen. Take a look at these images. It’s unlikely you can “Let it go”.
Legalization of recreational marijuana in American states is on the upswing, spurring entrepreneurs to devise new ways to use the flowering psychoactive herb as an ingredient in retail food products. California-based chef Christopher Sayegh is taking Arab haute cuisine even higher, cooking up traditional Middle Eastern fare infused with cannabis.
People are often defensive when it comes to headscarves, which have strong links to specific religious and cultural beliefs. Now a Beirut-based architect has designed a headwrap that uses defense as the justification for wearing it: this updated version of the classic Arab keffiyeh (allegedly) deflects bullets! Functional fashion takes a remarkable turn in the hands of[.....]
Growing crops without soil, otherwise known as hydroponic agriculture, is not a recent innovation. In fact, it can be traced back to ancient times and kingdoms like Babylonia, whose Hanging Gardens were said to have been created and nurtured by use of hydroponics. The modern day Middle East, especially water-deprived countries like Jordan and Syria, has[.....]
For five years a set of unfinished twin towers have stood watch over Amman, Jordan, construction halted – allegedly crippled by lawsuits. The filthy glass facades soar above a street-level footprint ringed by old hoarding, abandoned building material and trash. The empty skyscrapers stand in silent testimony to both the 2008 world financial crisis and[.....]
A recent study released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) concludes that the current drought that began in 1998 in the eastern Mediterranean Levant – which includes Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey – is the region’s worst dry spell since 1100 C.E.
The weeks that girdled Christmas and New Year’s had me living like a fois gras goose, endlessly stuffed with food and drink as my family raced from Jordan to England to the US for clan-centric rituals ranging from a funeral to a birthday, with the usual winter holidays in between. I recently scanned the snapshots,[.....]
Earth Hour is upon us. It comes every year on Saturday 19 March, as the clock strikes 8:30 PM around the globe. It’s a worldwide movement that aims to unite the global community on a broad range of environmental issues, working on a grassroots level to enact mass behavioral change. Join the fun by turning off[.....]
Just in time for St. Paddy’s Day, scientists from Dublin and Belfast have evidence that stone age Irish settlers had genetic origins in the Middle East. Thank the Vikings for the DNA that gave rise to red hair and freckles, introduced when they invaded the island nation at the end of the eighth century. But[.....]
Green is sort of a buzzword nowadays. People will say they are going green (like Zaha Hadid), but are they as good as their word? Usually not. In the world of Middle Eastern architecture and engineering, rest assured that there are several who are fighting for green choices. Clients often see lots of green –[.....]
As the world awaits the release of the final draft agreement emerging from the COP21 climate talks – expected this morning – longtime expert in water policy, Dr. Sundeep Waslekar explores one specific aspect of climate change in the following article, providing clear insight into the future of water, not only as a critical resource for all[.....]
Each day, something terrible happens somewhere in this world. Families and communities are torn apart and thrown together in unfamiliar ways. Strangers who had found one another just barely tolerable become fellow humans, grieving needing and helping one another to survive. “My name is Sidra. I am 12 years old… I have lived here in[.....]
American media giant 20th Century Fox has teamed up with United Arab Emirates Al Ahli Holding Group to build a theme park in Dubai, set to open in 2018, that will feature attractions based on blockbuster movies such as “Aliens,” “Titanic,” “Ice Age” and “Planet of the Apes.” So the UAE builds another resource-guzzling folly for audiences[.....]
Imagine that you are a castaway on a dead planet. You only have provisions for a few days and you are absolutely alone. How would you survive? Andy Weir turned this question into his best-selling novel, The Martian. It is a tale of man versus Mars.
It’s raining cats and dogs in Amman, Jordan now, closing roads (flooded underpasses), some schools, and many offices. It’s the usual drill for a city ill-equipped for atypical weather. Now online transportation giant Uber is helping to “rain down more dogs” for a limited time today in what could be the world’s most adorable fundraiser.
Ridley Scott’s, The Martian is based on Andy Weir’s best-selling novel. It was filmed in Jordan’s beautiful Wadi-Rum desert. Hollywood loves adventure stories, especially tales of humans struggling to survive in the wilderness. The Martian has something in common with The Life of Pi, 127 Hours, Castaway, Into the Wild and All is Lost. But a[.....]
Jordan’s plastic bags enjoy more freedom than most of its people. Bags fly free. They don’t need visas to cross borders, and they sidestep beach fees to get into the sea. Shops here hand out an endless stream of non-biodegradable sacks and there’s no penalty for dropping used ones, anywhere. Until the government steps up[.....]
Why blow your wedding bucks on one extravaganza when you can hold two for the same price? Jordanian newlyweds Mutaz Mango and Basma Omar opted to split their celebration, hosting a private party for family and friends and a second for Iraqi and Syrian refugee children living in the old Hashemi al Shemali neighborhood of[.....]
Marie Antoinette has nothing on the wealthy Arab clients who commissioned a cake commemorating their daughter’s combo birthday and engagement party. The confection whipped up by a British dress designer cost a whopping $74 million USD. That’s a lot of bread for a cake.
Are you a green entrepreneur? Need to grow a business model that creates environmental and social value? Want to launch your new green service or product but don’t know where to begin? A new entrepreneurship program is seeking participants from Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan for their November training event. It’s free – but you need[.....]
A massive sandstorm swooped down on Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan today – a small part of an extreme weather pattern descending on the region. Strong winds sent desert sand airborne, darkening skies across the kingdom and causing near blackout conditions in Jordan’s capital city.
If I had a head’s up that the world was ending, I’d pack up a decent book and head to Jordan’s Wadi Rum where ancient granite and sandstone rocks – set in a giant’s sandbox – warp all sense of time. It looks as it looked a century back when British officer T.E. Lawrence camped[.....]
“My God, it’s full of stars!” Fans of Arthur C. Clarke’s classic science fiction novel 2001 A Space Odyssey might recognize these as the words of astronaut David Bowman, awestruck by revelations of the deep mysteries of space. A team of astronomers from Tel Aviv University and UCLA discovered more than a million newborn stars[.....]
A consortium of leading environmental groups released a Regional NGO Master Plan for Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley. They announced the action – the first of its kind – earlier today at a conference held on the Jordan side of the Dead Sea. The strategy is akin to a modern Marshall Plan, it aims[.....]
“The Largest Cleanup In History” – will Boylan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Array scour plastic from the seas?
World Oceans Day is June 8th – here’s someone who could be it’s Grand Marshall. Two years back, Green Prophet ran a story about a Dutch engineering student who devised a way to siphon off the gargantuan plastic garbage patches (called gyres) growing unchecked in our seas. Then-19-year-old Boyan Slat claimed his floating “Ocean Cleanup Array”, developed with classmate Tan Nguyen,[.....]
Jordan will waive its 40 dinar ($57) visa fee for incoming tourists to make visits to Jordan “more convenient and affordable for people of all nationalities,” according to a government press release. The action aims to boost tourism to kingdom attractions such as Petra, Pella, and the protected area of Wadi Rum. It’s just one of several new initiatives to reinvigorate Jordan’s[.....]
Cannes Film Festival is in full swing this week, but here in Jordan every day is a film festival thanks to vendors who hawk bootleg DVDs for a dinar apiece. That’s less than two bucks for a new release that would otherwise set you back $20 in a Manhattan theater. The downside with Amman’s cheap movies[.....]
Mayors from 114 North American cities entered into an agreement to rehabilitate an endangered river halfway across the world. Launched at the recent Water After Borders (WAB) summit in Chicago, the partnership brings expertise in transboundary water system management to the Jordan River, a waterbody long embroiled in regional politics.
Oil prices have fallen considerably over the past two years. But this isn’t the first time the price of a core society resource has dropped so drastically. The economic history of salt is an interesting lesson for our time. Middle Eastern countries spend millions of dollars and consume more than one hundred million kilowatt-hours of[.....]
Take four minutes to get smart about what happens when you fail to recycle plastics. Emphasis intended on the word “fail” because you know better than to toss the stuff in with regular trash. You also know what a plastic ocean gyre is. And you’ve seen the stomach-turning photo of that turtle whose adult shell[.....]
The population at Jordan’s Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees has dwindled. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) counts current residents at 83,000, down from over 200,000 in April 2013. People are relocating to communities across Jordan, electing to return to Syria, or simply bailing out of the refugee program. Meanwhile, those that remain – many in[.....]
Seven designers teamed up on a project to transform an ancient Egyptian pyramid into a green skyscraper that works to reverse desertification. Their Bio-Pyramid concept won an honorable mention in the 2015 eVolo Skyscraper Competition, an award that recognizes outstanding ideas that challenge the way architecture relates to both natural and built environments. Could up-cycling the Great[.....]
Travel to the Middle East has never been a better deal than now – in terms of economics (deep-discounted hotels and holiday packages), weather (blizzards have all blown by and crushing heat is still months away), and – in most of the region’s top touristic venues – political stability. All my view based on four[.....]
For the past two decades a 70-year old man lived in a cave in northern Jordan, alone with no water or power or reliable access to food, exposed to the elements and wild animals. An unidentified caller contacted radio station Amen FM to alert them to the modern caveman. Last Thursday the kingdom’s Public Security Department[.....]
Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources announced a new initiative that will convert all 6,000 of the kingdom’s mosques to solar generated power beginning this year. It’s part of a five-year program to decrease the nation’s reliance on crude oil while diversifying its energy portfolio to include more renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power.
Israel and Jordan have signed a historic deal to press ahead with a plan to save the Dead Sea. The ‘Red-Dead’ project will build a plant near the Jordanian tourist resort of Aqaba that will desalinate water to be shared by Israelis and Palestinians. The brine left over from the desalination process will be channeled[.....]
Collateral Repair Project (CRP) is a scrappy nonprofit in Amman, Jordan that brings critical help to people commonly referred to as “collateral damage” – urban refugees, victims of war and conflict, and those on the lowest rung of the local economic ladder. Read on to learn how a group of Amman’s most marginalized women are giving back to[.....]
What are the worst things we do to the environment without realizing we are causing harm?
It might not have the archaeological marvels of Petra or the adventure of Wadi Rum, but a two-hour drive from Amman’s dusty streets, you’ll find something special that you won’t find elsewhere in Jordan. Nestled in the hills and landscape of north-western Jordan, lies a green oasis with an eco-minded philosophy: Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark (SHE.)[.....]
Today’s another official “city-shut-down” day for government offices and many businesses in snowy Amman, Jordan; even the US embassy issued alerts to stay off the roads. My teen’s been attending online classes, and the internet allows me to work from home – but what about events that demand we be somewhere specific? This storm dropped on[.....]
A winter storm is banging around much of the Middle East. Precip’s teamed up with gale force winds, causing first-world headaches like clogged transport, school closures, power outages and the promise of steep heating bills. But mostly people are rocking a few days respite from the usual grind, and – judging from the flood of[.....]
Last May, Lebanese lawmaker Walid Jumblatt called for marijuana to be legalized in Lebanon. While he never touched the weed himself, he said, “I support growing cannabis for medical use and to improve the living conditions of farmers in north Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley,” according to the Daily Star. Now he’s back in the[.....]
A hidden pleasure in ex-pat life in Amman, Jordan is the relative ease in which I can sidestep a steroidal Christmas (and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa – the trifecta of Big Business holidays that muscled into my former New York City life every December). Here there are no TV reruns of Mid-Century classics like Frosty the Snowman or[.....]
NASA scientists are using the Suomi NPP satellite to photograph the earth at night. They are studying natural phenomenon as well as light pollution. They found that manmade lights shine noticeably brighter during the holidays of Ramadan, Christmas and New Year. Some Middle Eastern cities shone more than 50% brighter during Ramadan. Find out how[.....]
An Italian design student dreamed up a gizmo that he claims can heat a room for 10 cents a day. I just paid $700 to half-fill an oil tank that, if I’m Scrooge-like with that “on” switch, will heat my 3-bedroom Amman flat for maybe 6 weeks. Could Marco Zagaria’s Egloo heater really work? As I[.....]
The most powerful family in Jordan is tapping into the most powerful energy source in the Universe to electrify their private residence. Prince Muhammad bin Talal, brother of Jordan’s King Hussein I, has installed what is the largest, self-use photovoltaic (PV) array in the Middle East. Prince bin Talal is an active pursuer of environmental solutions. Below[.....]
Hummus, the centuries-old Middle Eastern bean paste, is ready for its close-up. According to a report released by food industry trend-trackers Baum and Whiteman, hummus will emerge as America’s “it” food in 2015. “Once a niche product here, eaten primarily by Arab and Israeli immigrants,” says the report, hummus is matching the meteoric trajectory of Greek yogurt[.....]
A stunning series of portraits by American photographer Kevin Horan casts barnyard regulars into supermodels, resulting in anthropomorphic images that capture the personalities of these oft-overlooked animals. I showed them to a Jordanian photographer friend – he says he’ll never eat goat tagine again. Look into the faces of these animals and tell me if you[.....]
Second (and third!) – hand marketplaces offer some of the greenest shopping options available – especially in the run-up to frenzied winter holiday consumerism – but in developing countries, they are also an economic necessity for both buyers and vendors. In early October, the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) closed down a popular souk in the Abdali[.....]
Open a newspaper in the Middle East and expect to be whacked with some bad news. Still, I wasn’t prepared to read that – according to the World Misery Index (the name was a tip-off to what was coming) – Jordan (where I live) is the fourth most miserable country in the Arab world. Regionally, only[.....]