For Green Prophet, I often write about (let’s face it) depressing issues such as climate refugees and environmental conflicts in which everyone pays the price but I do sometimes get to write about some fun stuff too. That’s basically what is going into my top 5 Green Prophet blog stories of the year. These are the odd and uplifting stories of 2012 and the inspiring people behind them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and all the best for the new year inshalla!
In no particular order:
1. Senad Hadzic. The Bosnian man (above) who walked 3,600 miles and crossed six borders over 314 days to get to Mekkah in time for Hajj. Putting aside the agonising blisters, seriously cold European weather and having to slum it for almost a year, this actually sounds like a lot of fun… wait a minute. Yep, you got to hand it to Senad Hadzic for the dedication.
2. Water Portraits by photographer Peter Holmes in which he basically dumps the amount of water a person uses in an hour on them based on the national rates of water use. And all in the name of water conservation too. The Moroccan guy above got splashed with 4.5 litres which is actually nothing compared to the literally eye-watering 32 litres the average person from California uses. There were however no second takes which I am sure the subjects appreciated!
3. Rafea – Solar Mama. An award-winning documentary has being made about the inspiring woman from Jordan who travelled to India to learn to become a solar engineer. Back in 2011, I spoke to Rafea Abdul Hamid who is the focus of the film, so you may recall that she is in fact still struggling to establish solar power in her village. But you can help by donating via the Barefoot College website. Seriously, you have to consider it for an Xmas present or an new year’s gift (‘cos they really do exist), or maybe for someone’s birthday…
4. Easkey Britton, a surfing champion and passionate environmentalist, became the first women to surf the Iranian waves. That’s all you need to know.
5. Muslim Beekeepers Start Project in London Mosque. When Kingston mosque in London introduced between 10,000 and 15,000 bees onto its premises last summer, the congregation was naturally quite concerned. Would it be safe? Would bee swarms gather at the mosque? Would it be dangerous for children? However, once local beekeeper Munir Ravalia explained that the beehive wouldn’t be a health and safety risk on the roof, they were pretty eager to find out more…
My top five shout out also goes to some truly inspiring people including: Mario Cucinella and all those working on Gaza’s green schools, the newly formed Arab Youth Climate Movement, the award-winning Iraqi mud architect Selma Samar Damluji, the Jordanian campaigners who worked to stop nuclear power and also Comet-ME for all their hard work under very difficult circumstances. Keep your heads held high.