A weekly Green Prophet series that looks at the Arabic “green” blogosphere and online communities.
After looking at a personal Iraqi environmental blog, and at “The Forum of the Ornithological Society of Kuwait, we are arriving at the Gulf countries. This time, we are flying to Saudi Arabia and to a blog called “Green Papers”. Written in Arabic by a young Saudi woman named Faten, who has a Masters Degree in Environmental Management Technology, this blog has been active since April 26, 2010.
According to the post called “Who Am I”, this blog deals specifically with environmental issues in Saudi Arabia and generally with environmental issues throughout the world. Faten hopes to create a unique environmental awareness in the Arab society. This, in order to take even a limited part in the protection of the earth.
Environmental Institutions in Saudi Arabia
The blog includes some information on environmental institutions in Saudi Arabia.
One of the most important environmental institutions in Saudi Arabia is the Saudi Society for Environmental Sciences, established on February 28, 2006. The Society was established as a result of the resolution of King AbdulAziz University’s Council in order to level up the environmental sciences and develop scientific thought in the environmental fields. This Society aims also at spreading environmental awareness and facilitating the means of communication and exchange among the concerned experts. The society also gives consultancy services to other Saudi institutions.
Another important institution is the Saudi Green Building Council (SGBC), chaired by Sultan Faden and comprised of environmentalists and environmental engineers. This council has encouraged the concept of green building by disseminating information about building materials which are less damaging for the environment, waste recycling, heat insulation, and making the energy consumption more efficient.
On April 27, 2010, Prince Turki bin Naser, the general manager of the Coucil for Meteorology and the Protection of the Environment, announced that environmental societies will be established all over Saudi Arabia. He also announced that the first court which deals only with environmental issues has been in existence since 2001.
In addition, the General Council for Meteorology and the Protection of the Environment established stationary and mobile environmental laboratories in order to have more information on the pollutants in general. This is part of the plan that the General Council for Meteorology has been preparing in order to increase environmental awareness.
Environmental Projects in Saudi Arabia
On July 22, 2010, a post titled “School Sens” describes the School Sens project, which was launched by the Saudi Environmental Society in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. The project includes a number of kindergardens and schools. The aim of this project is twofold: to make children aware of the environment and its protection and to train teachers on the environmental principles that will make this project a success. It is being implemented in Jeddah and ‘Anizzah.
In a post published on June 25, 2010, Faten reported that the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Environment in Riyadh, under the chairman Sutam bin Abd al-Aziz, conducted its sixth meeting in the headquarters of the Higher Association for the Development of al-Riyadh City.
This meeting focused on an implementation plan for the protection of Riyadh’s environment, which includes 48 environmental projects divided into 5 categories: pollution, waste, water resources, natural resources, the open areas and natural life, and environmental management.
In another post titled “The Global Gardens of King Abdullah… The Peak of Magnificence…, Faten describes the Global Gardens of King Abdullah’s giant project in Riyadh, considered to be one of the most important environmental projects globally, as well as an historical achievement.
The Gardens will be located in the west part of Riyadh, near the Riyadh-Jeddah Highway, on approximately 2 million square meters of desert land; they will use recycled water and renewable energy systems and include trails for people to walk and enjoy. According to the post, the second phase of the project will begin after Ramadan and the whole project will take 30 months to complete.
During the last two months, demands to establish an environmental police have been raised in Saudi Arabia. The General Manager for the Protection of the Natural Life in Saudi Arabia, Prince Bandar bin Muhammad Al Sa’ud. Also, and businesswoman Khadija Bukhari are among those calling for an institution that will police environmental protection.
Environmental Developments and Events Throughout the World
On July 24, 2010, Faten announced the annual environmental conference organized by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development to be held on 4-5.11.2010 in Beirut.
The Arab Forum for Environment and Development was established in 2006 in Beirut as a regional NGO. It includes environmentalists, civilian society organizations, and businessmen. Its aim is to encourage environmental policies and projects throughout the Arab world. According to the 2010 annual conference brochure, this year’s event will focus on water.
Saudi’s Blog in Sum
Although this blog is relatively new, it includes a lot of important material on the current environmental situation in Saudi Arabia and on the efforts of the Saudi government to raise the environmental awareness among the public.
It has the potential to reach a lot of people throughout Saudi Arabia. According to Saudi Arabia Internet Usage and Marketing Report, the number of the Saudi internet users as of June 2010 is 9,800,000, who comprise 38.1% of the overall Saudi population totaling 25,731,776.
Since the number of Saudi internet users has been rising dramatically in the last few years and this tendency might continue, this blog and others might reach more and more people and hopefully make a difference in the country’s environmental situation.