10 Weird and Wonderful Uses for Olive Oil

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Humans have been plucking the fruit off olive trees for over 10,000 years, so it’s no surprise we’ve found creative ways to use olives and their oils.  They’re native to the Mediterranean-basin, and probably first domesticated in Crete, but who first hatched the recipe for extracting olives’ oils remains an mystery. We know the stuff is tasty, and […]

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Israel Floods Replenish the Med and Dead Sea

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Israel, like other rich countries in the Middle East, has had to rely a lot on desalination plants to supply much of its drinking water. Desalination now supplies Mideast countries like Saudi Arabia, which is said to have the world’s largest desalination plant. The country receives almost all its fresh water supplies from this energy-intensive process. […]

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Live Art and Political Polemics On Eco-Boat Journey Along Lebanese Coast

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“The Sea is Mine” is a unique live art piece and interactive theatrical production bringing awareness to Beiruti’s on the tragic history and destiny of its seashore A familiar ongoing struggle along Beirut’s waterfront is that between those who want free access to the sea and the privatization of the Mediterranean seashore. “The Sea is […]

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Toast Chateau Ksara’s Traditional Wine Making in Lebanon

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Jesuit brothers at the Ksara wine press in 1910: Lebanon’s oldest wine growing domain Following the footsteps of a wine trading tradition started by Phoenicians, modern Lebanese wine-making re-starts in 1857 when French Jesuit missionaries at Ksara (today the site of Château Ksara) introduced new viticulture and viniculture methods as well as new vines, from French-governed Algeria. Sixty years […]

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Lebanon to Restore Forests

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Lebanon celebrated its Arbor Day on December 7. Activists, students and environmentalists gathered in open spaces to plant trees. Recent years have seen growing grassroots and government efforts to preserve Lebanon’s famed cedar forests, but there has been scant attention paid to rare juniper trees. There is currently no law to protect the vanishing Lebanese […]

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Green Abu Dhabi Film Festival Raises Ecological Awareness

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Movie stars shone on Abu Dhabi red carpets, where the curtain rose on a pair of green films connected to the Middle East. This year’s Abu Dhabi film festival featured two green-themed films aimed at raising awareness of a decidedly un-Hollywood subject: global waste management. Both movies, Trashed and Polluting Paradise, were sponsored by sustainable […]

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Recycling Yourself When Green Projects Go Bust

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Live long enough and we all know heartbreak, but what happens when a well-loved sustainable project walks away? Looking for day trips to explore modern Middle East architecture, I stumbled across Jordan’s The Aqaba House (TAH). This ambitious little house was the first modern home fully based on green building principles specific to its Aqaba location.  Oriented […]

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Will Building Catastophes Make Smarter Occupants?

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Laurie escaped from the Trade Towers 11 years ago and as a building expert looks critically at standards in the Middle East.  Building codes ensure that a  properly constructed building will safely stand up to predictable wear and tear. Codes specify fire-resistant performance for materials and prescribe safe exiting requirements for occupants. But what guides […]

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Syrian Desert People In Need of Sustainable Tents

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Aid groups accused of profiting from Syrian crisis. Jordan hosts 150,000 displaced Syrians. These are documented figures; other estimates number refugees closer to 500,000. Syrians are also pouring into Lebanon and the GCC states. Critics assert that while hosting refugees is pressurizing Jordan’s economics, the government is also looking to benefit from the situation by overestimating […]

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Reconstructing Beirut by Demolishing its Identity

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Far from being Paris of the Middle East, traditional red tiled roof and sandstone houses suffocate inside the “other” vision of Beirut The Lebanese housing market is a bit of a strange phenomenon. A largely unregulated construction market coupled with grandiose projects from ambitious rich gulf state developers and Lebanese expatriates has created a surplus […]

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Hashish Field Wars Between Soldiers and Lebanon’s Locals

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Why grow apples in Lebanon when hashish and cannabis is hundreds of times more lucrative? An overview of Lebanon’s unsustainable drug business in the Bekaa Valley.  Escalating clashes between armed tribesmen trying to protect their cannabis fields and the Lebanese armed forces are pushing Lebanon to readdress the long-standing issue of cannabis cultivation in the […]

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Lebanon’s Severe Pollution Contaminates Cheese and Meat – Watch What You Eat!

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Lebanon is suffering from a serious crisis of E. Coli and listeria contamination thanks to unhygienic conditions and polluted waterways. Following the national uproar in Lebanon when large amounts of rotten meat and dairy were found at some of Beirut’s top restaurants and supermarkets, researchers at the American University of Beirut (AUB) carried out a study on […]

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