A weekly Green Prophet series that looks at the Arabic “green” blogosphere and online communities
After looking at “The Forum of the Ornithological Society of Kuwait, the Saudi Green Blog, The Oman Eco Group Blogs, and the UAE Environment & Life Blog, we are continuing our journey through the Gulf countries, arriving now at the Yemenite Blog for Sciences and the Environment.
Written in Arabic and initiated in June, 2008, this is a personal blog administered and written by Omar al-Hyani. According to his profile, Omar is a journalist and a correspondent of the Arab Agency for Scientific News. He is also a member of the Arab League for the Scientific Journalists. The blog deals with scientific issues, mostly connected to the internet, computers, media, and the crisis of the Arab sciences. However, it includes many environmental posts as well, which can be divided into three subjects: articles on general environmental issues, articles on environmental events and issues in the Arab world, and articles on environmental issues in Yemen.
Environmental Events and Issues in the Arab World
Through his blog, Omar al-Hyani has been updating his readers on environmental campaigns taking place in the Arab world. One such campaign is the one day without a paper event, which took place in the UAE on June 3, 2010. Organized by the Environmental Society – Abu Dhabi, more than 100,000 people and institutions took part in this campaign, the aim of which was to decrease paper consumption and make businesses more environmentally friendly.
Omar al-Hyani also updates his audience on environmental events and developments in the Arab world. For example, on July 11, 2010, the Arab Water Academy in Abu Dhabi organized the Arab Leaders Forum to discuss solutions for Water Problems. The aim of this forum was to organize a meeting between decision makers from the Arab world and international water experts in order to discuss how the Middle East and North Africa will deal with 21st century water challenges.
He updates his audience on future environmental events as well. On September 25-30, 2010, Abu Dhabi will host an international conference on green buildings and renewable energy. The conference is organized by the Environmental Society – Abu Dhabi and is expected to include more than 600 experts on renewable energy from 100 countries.
Articles On General Environmental Issues
The blog includes also many posts and articles that Omar al-Hyani has written himself or taken from others on general environmental issues such as: the importance of the forests for humans and the environment and the ways to protect them, natural biodiversity, plastic bottles and their health impact, and so on.
The aim of these articles is to raise environmental awareness among his readers in the greater Arab world, though he focuses on Gulf countries.
Environmental Issues in Yemen
In my opinion, the most important environmental information one can find in this blog concerns the environment in Yemen.
One such article is about Gat in Yemen, which finishes its ground water – a very important and serious issue in Yemen, since most of its inhabitants chew ghat. Omar al-Hyani wrote another post on this issue titled “The gat and the Water in Yemen: Which will outlive the other?”
The post climate change scenarios in Yemen until 2050 addresses the first national report on climate change in Yemen from 2001. In the next 50 years, according to the report, temperatures will increase between 1.4 to 2.8 Celsius degrees, and Yemen should expect much less rain.
The report also notes that Yemen is experiencing a lot of floods as a result of surprisingly strong rains as well as a lot of dryness and heat. The mix of floods, dryness, and heat is damaging the livelihoods of the inhabitants – most of them agriculturists – who face several problems that result in damages to their agricultural products: plant diseases, sand storms, and desertification. All of these phenomenon are threatening the country’s food security and food production.
According to Fahmi Shubraq, the vice-chairman of the climate unit within the General Association for the Protection of the Environment, the problems caused by climate changes in Yemen are loss of land and its erosion because of the strong rains in very short periods, which cause floods to happen. Water is also rare, especially in the mountain areas, where ground water is the main source of water.
Moreover, climate change in Yemen causes the spread of diseases, such as malaria, to places where they have not been known before. Farmers are also unable to grow traditional Yemenite crops, damaging the main sources of the Yemenites’ livelihoods. And because of the rise in sea level, Yemen has been losing its historical heritage located on the coasts.
Also in Yemen, the use of natural gas is saving trees. According to this article, gas was discovered in Yemen in 1984 and has since been widely used in houses and cars. People have used gas more and more in houses for heating food, sparing trees and vegetation. However, the rise in gas prices has caused many to return to using trees for heating at home. The use of gas does not only save trees, but also the Yemenite woman, whose traditional role is to carry logs from far away places to their homes.
Omar al-Hyani also describes natural places in Yemen, such as the Jabal Mahjar Forest, which is located 2,500 meters above sea level. The forest covers 2 square kilometers.
Omar al-Hyani’s Blog in Sum
The aim of this blog, like many others, is to raise awareness among Yemenites of environmental and scientific issues. It provides much information concerning environmental challenges facing Yemen in the 21st century, and also serves as an important source of information about other Gulf countries.
More On Environment in Yemen
Waterless by 2017? Yemen Capital Fails To Harvest Its Summer Rain
How Does Noise Pollution Impact the Red Sea?
Yemen’s Economic and Environmental Problems Blamed on Chewing Gat