Cigarette butts are gross – whether they drift onto beaches, pollute our waterways, or endanger wildlife. But many cities in the Middle East, where smoking remains common, neglect to provide outlets for residents to discard their stinky stubs. That’s why three Lebanese electrical engineering students designed Urbin – a sleek disposal unit.
When the call went out Mars One might have expected a few dozen people would be willing to accept a suicide mission to a dead planet. Instead, they were overwhelmed with more than 80,000 applicants including at least a dozen from the Middle East.
We have often lamented that people from Dubai and other Arabian Gulf countries walk around with wild cats the way Hollywood stars carry Chihuahuas. But now one of the world’s leading Cheetah experts says these people can actually help to save the species from extinction.
Tesla Motors, the California maker of prestigious and high priced total electric sports cars is still to become a true reality in most countries of the Middle East where men prefer big, gas guzzling cars. But it might fill the gap after the failure of Better Place.
It is a sad day. Better Place’s battery swap technology is an obvious and practical technological solution to a basic problem of physics and electrochemistry, it is both dangerous and difficult to rapidly charge a chemical battery.
Three Emirati men were booted from Saudi Arabia because of their smoldering good looks. If you swallow that, then you’ll also believe top scientists are scrambling to determine if heat emanating from the handsome trio may be at the center of global warming.
From a €17 pad in Sharm Sheikh to a €61 room on Gaza Beach and a cave home in Israel, AirBnB is used widely across the Middle East, but the San Francisco-based startup ran into a glitch recently which could mean trouble for the rest of the world.
Give a microscopic vegetable the right conditions of sunshine and water, and you can home-farm what some say is the world’s most nutritious food: spirulina.
While limiting children, or not having them at all, is a good way to fight global warming and the demise of our poor planet, there is nothing more inhumane in being told how many children you can have.
It seemed like a sure thing five years ago, but today Israel’s Better Place electric car company has pulled the plug on its electric car network in Israel as it files for bankruptcy today.
Students are typically advised to crawl under their desks when an earthquake strikes, but then they often become trapped when the table collapses. Israeli designers Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno designed a solution to this problem called “the Earthquake Proof Table”. It’s able to withstand one tonne of weight, and meets the needs in developing[.....]
Jordan’s magical red dessert is short on plastic bags, throwaway bottles, and paper litter. Begs the question, does raw nature shame us into better environmental behavior? If so, a stay in Wadi Rum nature reserve should be a national obligation.
New life for old oil fields? Last year Oman inaugurated a 7MW solar pilot plant that produces steam to loosen thick, stubborn oil. Petroleum Development Oman has since hailed the four acre complex of glass houses a scorching success, and the supplier GlassPoint is preparing to become the “Ikea of solar,” Forbes reports.
Head to the heart of any Middle Eastern city and find a vibrant commercial hub, usually in the shadow of a major mosque – the bazaar. An Iranian bazaar with incredible history (Marco Polo shopped there!) may now win the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
It’s a fact that Disneyland fits inside Disney World’s parking lot. Now double up Disney World and you almost match the planned footprint of Dubaiworld. That’s unimaginable, and sure to haunt my dreams.
In October 2010, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) called out oil-producing Abu Dhabi for being one of the world’s highest emitters of carbon dioxide per capita. Now, less than three years later, the government’s environmental arm has turned the emirate into the eco-police.
It is hard to find a house anywhere in the world that doesn’t have sugar in the pantry, but in Egypt, molasses is the number one sweet treat. This is particularly true of Upper Egypt (the southern half of the country), the site of many sugar cane plantations.
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.
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.
A US developer recently approached Barcelona City Hall with plans to build a soaring Dubai-style “Space Hotel” complete with a zero gravity spa, but the city mayor rejected the concept on the grounds that it would create too much of a “spectacle.”
Now that the sun is out in full force, and you’ve tried this recipe for sugar wax, it’s time to up the ante and make a paraban-free, organic, and skin-nourishing sunscreen.
In 2009 during the height of the swine flu epidemic, Egyptian law officials ordered the culling of thousands of pigs belonging to the Coptic Christian community in Cairo. The pigs were used to chomp down the city’s organic waste, which grew to disgusting new heights in garbage city when they were killed. But now they’re[.....]
Imagine for a second that Washington D.C., London, Brussels or Denmark ran out of power for up to nine hours every single day for the last week or so. And then imagine (if it will stretch that far)that most of the country has been experiencing such cuts for the last eight years. This is Lebanon’s[.....]
With the hot days, the desire to spend time cooking in the kitchen dwindles, although the desire to eat remains. This past salad recipe works for hot summer days.
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.
Cartoonist Charles Schulz wrote, “Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” A group of women in the mountains of Afghanistan, who likely never read his strip, don’t agree.
Wearing full body clothing might not be the thing for everyone in the Middle East: but cover up the very young – especially those with light skin. Middle East sun exposure in the young leads to higher rates of skin cancer later in life.
A business man in the Gaza Strip has found a lucrative way of satisfying the urge for KFC by smuggling it through underground tunnels. It may be four hours cold, with a side of soggy chips, but for Gazans it is a taste of freedom.
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.
When authorities discovered a lab full of marijuana plants in a bomb shelter beneath an all girls Orthodox Jewish school south of Tel Aviv, they proposed that outsiders must be responsible – because Haredim girls would never smoke pot, right?
James reviews a film about a very odd group of “environmentalists” in Berlin who use sex as a tool to save the planet.
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.
The irony here is clear: the first international LEED certified housing complex is built by an oil research facility in Saudi Arabia.
With Dubai’s government close to finalizing legislation, property owners in the Emirate may soon have the option to feed solar power into the grid so they can make money from feed-in tariffs.
They can’t read or write but a couple of brave Bedouin women from Jordan travelled far and wide to help their villages become solar powered.
Kuwaiti graphic designer Mohammad Sharaf serves up powerful pictures based on current events, salted with modern Middle Eastern humor and instantly provocative.
Tel Aviv’s Nir Meiri recently unveiled Marine Light – a curious lamp shade made entirely of seaweed wrapped around a spindly metal frame. Eaten by coastal people all over the world and prized for its gelatinous and nutritional properties (see bottled algae superfood), and its use is being investigated for seaweed as biofuel, marine algae is harvested[.....]
Charles David Keeling began recording CO2 levels at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory in 1958, back when concentrations hovered at around 315 parts per million. Five decades later and that number has soared to 400ppm and his son told Yale Environment 360 we’re unlikely to stop it from rising any time soon.
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.
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.
Abdullah al-Shehi from the United Arab Emirates has shown his worth in environmental technology by patenting his sea-borne water collector that he hopes will help deliver clean water to desert regions across the Middle East and the world.
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.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently issued a report calling for wider uptake of insect for food and feed.
Climate change is one of the most urgent issues of our time, yet most countries in the Middle East and North Africa continue to subsidize energy derived from fossil fuels. Seeking solutions, The Guardian launched a three part Global Public Leaders Series and sent us this recent lecture by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
While the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been outspoken about their shift to renewable energy to shore up for when oil supplies start to wane, Kuwait has largely remained in the shadows. Kuwait has the best solar irradiation along the Arabian Peninsula, which means they are well poised to bring solar energy on[.....]
Tangram Gulf recently unveiled a naturally-cooled FIFA stadium design for the 2022 World Cup in Doha, Qatar.
Turkey’s largest wind power plant has broken ground and is expected to generate enough clean energy to electrify up to 170,000 homes.
The Middle East and North Africa have faced a number of hurdles in getting what experts believe could be the greatest solar power grid in the world off the ground. From Morocco to Egypt to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), obstacles have continued to stand in the way of creating a grand solar project. Until now.
My last photo blog on Green Prophet featured one of the many sites in the Hajar Mountains from which construction aggregate is extracted. This time I’m showing a different kind of mountain on the outskirts of Dubai. This is a landfill for building rubble.
Salima Naji has been recognized by the Aga Khan Development Network for her efforts to revive a series of earth buildings in the lesser Atlas Mountains, Morocco.
Oman is a small nation bordering Abu Dhabi on the Arabian peninsula; it has a long coastline and one of the largest populations of endangered Loggerhead turtles on earth. It also subsidizes energy and water, essentially arresting any kind of sustainable development. There’s no incentive to conserve something that comes for free – until now.
The only thing more abundant than sun in the Middle East and North Africa is sand. Used in the production of Markus Kayser’s 3D printer and to make Algerian building bricks, sand is useful for a host of applications – including lighting.