In 2010 Arafet Ben Marzou, like an increasing number of Tunisians, began to reach his personal limits of frustration when he saw his home country digress towards a political, religious and economic system that was draining Tunisians from their liberty, thoughts and creativity.
Frustrated and suffocated, he decided to leave Tunisia for the first time and crossed the Sahara desert in a personal quest to gain a better perspective on life.
The desert did just that, Arafet began to see the changes that needed to happen in him and for Tunisia, and soon enough, following the 2011 Jasmine Revolution, a second trip was planned- this time on a bike and with an environmental goal.
In 2012, 10 months, 9015 km of the earth, a bike, and a Tunisian passport (with its shortcomings) are the beginning feats of a change-maker in Tunisia’s current generation: which needs to become more environmentally conscious.
His original idea was to stop at all the wetland sites along the route, and promote environmental protection for wetland areas in association with RAMSAR and WWF Tunisia.
Unfortunately he did not gain much traction from such organizations and soon had to abandon the idea, telling Green Prophet: “One of the sad aspects of my bike trip in 2012, is that this environmental feature of the project did not materialize and given the trip has been highly mediatized, it was a missed opportunity to speak about the environment to Tunisians.”
But not all is lost, thanks to the bike trip, his published book and several interviews, Arafet has attracted substantial support and followers which provides huge opportunities to promote environmental awareness in Tunisia.
Although still in the secretive stage, 2015 promises to be a great year for environmental awareness in Tunisia- so watch out!