Spectacular images of the Republic of Yemen have captured its vibrant and unique culture, pristine wilderness, and well-preserved antiquities, but don’t get too excited about traveling there soon. International security controls have choked tourist access, so Sanaa joins Damascus, Gaza and Baghdad as another fascinating place I’ll not get to visit despite my relative proximity living here[.....]
Photographer Beth Moon spent 14 years traveling to almost every continent taking pictures of the world’s oldest trees. Sixty of the resulting photos – printed with luminous results using a labor-intensive platinum/palladium process – form her book Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time (Abbeville Press). It’s a stunning record of nature’s majesty.
May Camelopardalis is the name given for a newly discovered meteor shower which may or may not dazzle viewers under clear-dark skies.
Terrorists probably come to mind long before honey when people think of Yemen, but the raw Yemeni honey Balqees had for sale at the recent Masdar Festival was far and away the yummiest honey I ever put in my mouth.
The world’s first 3D printed guns (like the 3D printed gun that breached Israeli security) have landed in London’s acclaimed Victoria & Albert Museum. Two prototype Liberator guns developed by self described “crypto-anarchist” Cody Wilson are now permanently displayed as – and I type this last word with difficulty – art.
A species of shark, a sand tiger shark, thought to be extinct for over a century has surfaced in a Kuwaiti fish market. Step aside, Team Zissou; looks like local fishmongers are joining the elite biological teams researching the world’s oceans.
Birds have a terrible time in the Middle East and North Africa. We’ve seen men posing with a bonnet full of dead ones, one million migrating songbirds killed for a pickled dish, and other horror stories.
There’s a new business afloat that links people to people for the purpose of sharing authentic local dining experiences. I found EatWith.com a month too late for this summer’s vacation, but there’s always next time. I’m fresh back from a few weeks in Europe, a family reunion through Paris and Venice and Rome that doubled[.....]
A particularly virulent strain of stem rust that first struck Uganda’s wheat crops in1999 before it spread up into Sudan and Yemen, Ug99 might have met its match in a 5,000 year old weed.
The online ‘zine Foreign Policy posted its “worst countries for journalism” with the Middle East grabbing three of the Top Ten slots. As we scour the media, we already see how this fares for environmental reporting which is practically non-existent in the Middle East.
The nominees for the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture were recently announced: 20 candidates – half hailing from the Middle East – all vying for a million dollar prize.
To the outside world, Yemen is an obscure distant land where Al Qaeda terrorists hang out and men sit around chewing khat, but to its own residents and others familiar with the Middle East, the land harbors a treasure trove of historic artefacts (and so much more). Not only does Yemen have one of the[.....]
Middle East city heads want to make their cities more sustainable. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is 60 percent urbanized compared to the global average of 52 percent and is home to one of the world’s most rapidly expanding populations. By 2030, a 45 percent increase of MENA’s urban population will add[.....]
Can executions be green? Laurie answers this tongue in cheek. Tardy executioners have prompted Saudi Arabia to re-evaluate their centuries-old practice of public beheadings.The use of capital punishment in Saudi Arabia is based on a hardline interpretation of Sharia (Islamic) law. The practice attracts international scorn because of the wide array of crimes which garner[.....]
Water scarcity has already become a fact of daily life for Egyptians The world’s driest region, the Middle East* and North Africa (MENA), is getting drier at an alarming rate. And yet, despite massive population growth (the Middle East’s population grew 61 percent from 1990 to 2010 to 205 million people) predictions of so-called “water[.....]
Got the Foggiest Notion How to Drive in Desert Fog? Camel caravans and soaring sand dunes demand backdrops of sun-bleached skies (or star-strewn heavens). But what happens when the fog rolls in? Dense fog is a key feature of a desert environment, a natural result of rapid temperature swings. Topography also plays a role in fog[.....]
Are you at risk? Get swine flu updates for the PA, Israel, Yemen, Iraq, Tunisia and Jordan. Health officials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) are calling on residents to get vaccinated against the H1N1 virus (“swine flu”) after 25 deaths in recent weeks.Over 700 infections of H1N1 have been reported in the West Bank[.....]
Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Myanmar and Yemen are still using leaded gasoline and many others have lead contaminated plumbing, soil, paint and household products. How can we reduce the world’s crime rate, particularly the rate of violent crime? When the crime rate rises or a horrific crime takes place, people are quick to find blame[.....]
A group of Yemeni high school girls have created a suite of solar-powered gadgets to help illuminate their country’s post-revolution darkness. When the first revolutions began to sweep through the Arab world, we were all so hopeful about the changes to follow. So hopeful, we called this time the “Arab Spring.” But for people living[.....]
Consequences of climate change especially acute in the Arab world, and traditional methods for coping with climate are severely stressed finds new World Bank assessment. All eyes are on Qatar now as the country hosts the UN-sponsored climate change event COP18. We’ve been reporting on COP18 before it began and during, and recently posted about[.....]
The poorest country in the Arab world is addicted to chewing catha edulis or khat leaves, which gives men, women and children, an amphetamine-like high. Abdulmalik, a 13-year-old boy from Yemen’s capital city Sana’a, started chewing khat leaves at the age of seven. “My father would pass me small handfuls at weddings,” he told The[.....]
The logistical headaches of keeping daylight savings year-round in Jordan. Last week in Amman, the Jordanian Cabinet reversed a decision to switch to wintertime, sticking with daylight saving time for the entire year. Our extended daylight hours are good for the environment (and coveted by many Israeli neighbors), but the late decision is causing logistical[.....]
This time of year marks one of Islam’s most sacred holidays, Eid al-Adha. The four-day holiday corresponds with the height of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which draws two million Muslim pilgrims a year. Eid began Friday and will end Monday, the last day of the Hajj. When traveling in Palestinian[.....]
Crunchy, tasty popcorn, made on your stove top, with nothing but goodness in it. My friend was amused that I have no microwave oven. How can I deal with food all day long and not own one? And how were we going to pop the popcorn she’d brought over? The health risks associated with microwave[.....]
According to the latest findings by global risk-analyser Maplecroft, Arab Spring countries are at greater risk of rising food prices in the coming year It’s no secret that the high price of basic food staples were a contributing factor to the revolts which began in Tunisia and Egypt and sparked the ‘Arab Spring’. The protesters[.....]
Find out how Middle Eastern and North African nations fared in the recent global Ocean Health Index (I’ll give you a clue – not very well) With a recent Greenpeace report urging action to tackle the toxicity of Lebanon’s waters due to trash, now seems the perfect time to look into the health of the[.....]
Yemen isn’t as hot as Saudi, but the temperatures this Ramadan have been high enough to make waiting out the long daylight hours without food and drink very, very hard. But that’s not the worst of the country’s troubles. Such spirutally-motivated hunger and thirst would be bearable if families had some nice dates and juice[.....]
Khat addiction in Yemen has reached epic proportions and not only among adults. A recent report released by the World Health Organization shows that up to 20% of the nation’s children under twelve are also addicted to chewing the bitter stems of the Catha edulis plant, which produces a mild high akin to the effects[.....]
On Tuesday thousands of Turkish women and activists sent government ministries a petition protesting the bill proposed by the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) that would ban abortions not taking place between the fourth and sixth week of pregnancy. Turkish law currently allows abortion until the tenth week. With dwindling environmental resources and rampant[.....]
An illuminating article in Haaretz describes how certain industrious Israelis realized the marketing potential of khat juice – an exhilarating stimulant made from extracts of Catha edulis and other ingredients – and turned the potent drink into one of the most highly sought after drugs in all of Tel Aviv. Dafna Arad goes into significant detail[.....]
Green Prophet’s reports on happenings in the Gulf region have increasingly been using the acronym GCC, which stands for Gulf Cooperation Council. Perhaps a bit of an explanation is in order. GCC is a political and economic alliance between Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Saudi Arabia (KSA). It was formed in 1981 following[.....]
Who was Hassan Fathy, the earth based architect who inspired the Middle East? Exactly forty years ago, Hassan Fathy published his groundbreaking book on community-inspired mud architecture in Egypt. To mark his book’s 40th anniversary and commemorate his green legacy, we spoke to Salma Samar Damluji who worked with Fathy in Cairo in 1975 and[.....]
Award-winning architect Salma Samar Damluji speaks to GreenProphet about her mud architecture work in Yemen and why Dubai’s property development mentality is ruining the Middle East The Middle East may be a fascinating place politically but architecturally, it’s on its last legs. Years of corruption and poor governance mean it’s slowly becoming one of the[.....]
Iraqi architect Salma Samar Damluji has won the ‘Global Award for Sustainable Architecture’ for her mud-brick renovation work in Yemen Mud. Muck. Dirt. Clay. Earth. Call it what you like – it’s the stuff of life and also of sustainable architecture. From the stunning mud mosque of Djenne in Mali to the clay tower homes[.....]
Following violent protests in February, Cairo police stacked 10-feet-tall masonry walls around the Ministry of the Interior to cut access to that hated symbol of Egypt’s ousted regime. New barriers appeared after subsequent riots, turning nearby communities into a labyrinth of roadblocks and checkpoints. Recently, artists “removed” them, overpainting concrete with images of the streetscapes they blocked. In a few days,[.....]
Geoffrey Dabelko at the 12th National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment in Washington D.C. A couple of months ago a friend of mine studying at the Monterey Institute of International Studies engaged with a Green Prophet post about the link between water and security. As it turns out, she is studying with adjunct[.....]
Born in an economic boom, kids in oil-rich Arab Gulf States use their silver spoons to up caloric intact. Blame laziness, love of Western brands, or ample disposable income, but children across the Gulf region are getting fatter. Recent studies tag 20 percent of children in Dubai as overweight, and another 12% as obese. Their Gulf nations’[.....]
All suited to the Middle East climate and budget, here are 6 green buildings that just about anyone can build without a mortgage. People often say of green building projects that they aren’t affordable. This is true if you’re shooting to live in a glittering LEED certified urban high rise in Dubai or Saudi Arabia,[.....]
10,000 years after inventing agriculture, will we 7 billion take this strange next step?
Through his free movie First Earth David Sheen is passing on the positive transformation that occurred in his life after learning about ecological architecture. When David Sheen first decided to make a film that depicts the history, necessity, and straight-up sensibility of ecological architecture, he had no idea what a massive task he had[.....]
Jordanian Nadia Lawton, a permaculture teacher tells Green Prophet why she believes permaculture could be the region’s silver green bullet. “Permaculture made total common sense to me,” insists Nadia Lawton, “it also fitted with my life ethics a a Muslim.” While the first part of Nadia’s statement may not be considered unique, her remark about[.....]
From vertical farming to rooftop gardening, here are 7 of the best agricultural projects put in practice in the Middle East. There’s no getting around it: the world is becoming a much less secure place in which to live. Economies are tanking, geo-political systems are in turmoil, weather events such as wintertime drought are becoming[.....]
Frankincense burners such as those depicted above could eventually become unnecessary as frankincense supplies dwindle. We all know the story. The Three Wise Men (Magi) traveled to Bethlehem upon the birth of baby Jesus and laid gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh at his feet. The story is so engrained in the consciousness of Christians[.....]
If you have lost faith in earth architecture, take note: Yemen’s Manhattan of the desert boasts 400 habitable clay towers! Yemen has a UNESCO World Heritage Site secret, but it’s not so well-kept anymore. One of the most impressive examples of earth architecture that has survived for hundreds of years, the Shibam district in Hadramaut[.....]
Tawakkol Karman accepting the Nobel Peace Prize last Saturday in Oslo, Norway. Photo via the NY Times. Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni journalist and political activist instrumental in the Arab Spring is the youngest peace prize laureate to accept the prize in a ceremony over the weekend. She is one of three women including Leymah Gbowee[.....]
CDM funding for renewable energy in emerging nations is endangered in Durban, South Africa With the increasingly likely non-renewal of the Kyoto Accord after 2012 at this week’s international climate talks at the seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa, renewable energy project funding throughout[.....]
Had a busy week? Well, why not stop and sample the delights of Sunday’s news nuggets It’s been a busy week here at Green Prophet headquarters and we’ve all been hard at work highlighting the green and not-so-green news of the Middle East. Personally, finding out that Mekkah wouldn’t be replicating the mistake of building[.....]
Yemen may be water poor but the country has a rich heritage of managing scare water resources effectively through community co-operation The arid and water scarce environment of Yemen makes life very difficult for the average Yemeni. Malnutrition and poverty are real problems which are only exacerbated by a widespread addiction to the narcotic, qat,[.....]
Akko in Israel is just one important World Heritage Site in the Middle East region that could suffer from the United States’ decision to withhold funding to UNESCO following the admittance of Palestine as a member state. Department of State spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that the United States will “refrain from making contributions to UNESCO”[.....]
The world population hits seven billion and the Middle East is playing its role with one of the fastest growing cities on earth According to UN estimates the world population will reach seven billion today. It’s a pretty big feat considering that we hit six billion a little over a decade ago and the world[.....]
Yemeni activist Tawakul Karman has become the first Arab woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Today, Yemeni activist Tawakul Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her role in the Arab Spring along with two other Liberian women who mobilized a women’s ‘sex strike’ which ended a 14-year civil war in their[.....]
I speak to the recently arrested environmental author Bill McKibben, who insists that campaigners need to be more confrontational about their demands (and start wearing ties) I think it’s fairly safe to say that Bill McKibben has had an eventful couple of weeks. As well as being imprisoned for three days at the end of[.....]