A weekly Green Prophet series that looks at the Arabic “green” blogosphere and online communities.
After looking at a personal environmental blog from Lebanon , at a Syrian environmental blog that raises environmental awareness among the Syrian public, and at a personal Iraqi environmental blog, we are flying this time to Iraq’s neighbor, Kuwait. Here, we will take a little break from environmental blogs and review a unique environmental forum, which is all about birds.
Called “The Ornithological Society of Kuwait’s Forum,” this site is dedicated to birds only, and is administered by the Ornithological Society of Kuwait. It is written in Arabic and has been active since January 2008.
According to its website, the aims of the Ornithological Society of Kuwait include “bird studying, protecting, watching, and identifying for all the free flying birds in Kuwait; establish and run bird reserves in important bird areas and liaise with government officials; publish a bilingual full annual bird report to include all sightings of birds and the status of their habitat; educate the public by lectures and meetings; publish flyers, posters to educate the public for the protection of birds; and establish a library to include most important birding books and magazines.” If you’re a birder, this site is for you.
The Ornithological Society is divided into 4 forums, which are divided in their turn to several smaller forums. The big ones are: Bird Forum, Bird Monitoring, Wildlife, and Environment Protection.
The Bird Forum includes several smaller forums, which are: the general forum, bird photos & comments, ID forum, books and literature, bird equipment, and bird photography and editing.
The Bird Monitoring Forum includes two smaller forums: Rare Birds and Bird Sightings.
The Wildlife Forum includes three smaller forums, which are: the Plants Forum, the Wildlife Forum, and the Insects Forum.
The Environment Protection Forum includes one small forum with the same name.
As can be seen from the subjects of the different forums, the forum includes posts on every subject which one might have on his mind and has to do with birds. It includes photos of many birds that can be sighted in Kuwait; travels to different parts in Kuwait in order to photograph birds and go bird sightings; the various kinds of cameras which are best to photograph birds; questions on kinds of birds and birds’ identification; books about birds in Arabic and English
Recruiting the Public to Support Environmental Campaigns
In addition, the site serves to inform and ask for the support of the Kuwaiti public in the environmental campaigns run by the Ornothological Society of Kuwait. For example, on August 9, 2009 a post titled “Together We Will Stop A Project which Ruins Our Environment,” calling thw Kuwaitis to support the Ornothological Society of Kuwait in its demands to stop the building project of 5,000 housing units in Jaber al-Ahmad City, as well as the building project of 1,750 housing units in the northern part of al-Dawha City and, to build there a national garden instead, which will be a tourism site.
According to the Ornothological Society of Kuwait, these sites are unique in the framework of all the Arab Gulf. They are encircled by shallow sea beaches comprising of mud sediments, which serve as the main food of the fish and birds who are in the area.
It is also a place of rest and stopover for the migrating birds and a place where rare plants can be found, which are fed by the sediments found in the area. In addition, the establishment of human presence near these beaches might pollute the ground water, which is naturally flowing into the sea and will pollute it due to its shallow waters, and, thus, will cause the death of the animals and plants, which, in their turn, serve as food for the human being.
This post includes also pictures of the area, pictures of the birds and plants that can be found in the area and more information on the ecological importance of the area.
This post is not the only one which campaigns to save the area of the Western Jadiliyat, where the cities of al-Dawha and Jaber al-Ahmad City are located.
During the years 2008 and 2009, the Society posted more posts calling the public to support its campaign to save the area and informing the Kuwaitis about the area and what happens there.
Informing the Public On Kuwait’s International Green Conventions
The Society also uses its blog in order to inform the Kuwaitis on international environmental conventions that Kuwait has joined.
In a post published on July 18, 2009 –– “The CITES Convention” –– The Ornothological Society of Kuwait told the Kuwaitis that Kuwait signed the Convention On International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora only in 2002.
The post includes links to the CITES website, the clauses of the convention in English, and the Kuwaiti people who are responsible for the implementation of the convention in the country.
The Ornothological Society has used its forum not only for the purpose of informing the public concerning international environmental conventions that Kuwait is part of, but also concerning the conventions that it is not part of, but should be.
One such post –- “Convention On the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals” –– which was posted on July 18, 2009, the Ornothological Society of Kuwait mentioned that Kuwait, Iraq, and Qatar are the only Arab countries that have not signed this convention or a MoU on this issue.
Oman and the UAE signed an MoU on this issue. This, according to the author, shows the low environmental level of Kuwait in contrast to other Arab countries. In order to stress its point, the post includes also a link to the clauses of the convention in Arabic and two maps showing the signatory parties and the non-signatory parties on the convention.
Kuwait’s Forum In Sum
The Ornithological Society of Kuwait’s Forum is rich in details concerning the birds in Kuwait and together with the Ornithological Society of Kuwait’s website, it serves as a complementary source to know more about the birds in Kuwait and on other issues that the Society is involved in. It also serves as a forum where the participants may ask questions and be given answers concerning every issue which has to do with birds in Kuwait.
Indeed, as we saw in previous blog reviews, also in this case the Ornithological Society of Kuwait uses the forum as a means to educate Kuwaitis through the internet on birds and on why it is important to protect the birds and the environment.
In Kuwait, unlike in its neighbor Iraq, the number of internet users in Kuwait (according to Kuwait Internet Usage and Marketing Report) is just less than half of its population –– 1,100,000 out of an over all population of 2,789,132 –– which is almost 40%.
This means that many Kuwaitis are potentially exposed to this forum. As the number of the internet users in Kuwait is expected to rise even more, then the forum will have a lot of exposure.
Hopefully this exposure will help the Ornithological Society of Kuwait in realizing its aims and in making this unique forum, which is the only one in the country which is dedicated only to birds, a platform for raising the awareness of the Kuwaitis to the importance of protecting the birds as well as protecting the environment.