Written by Amena Adel – International Youth Climate Ambassador
On January the 3rd 2013, 18 media enthusiasts from all over Egypt came together in Zad Al Musafer in Tunis- Fayoum to explore possibilities of communicating climate knowledge. From Sinai in the east to Alexandria in the west, and from governorates all over Egypt, they had each experienced the indirect and in some cases the direct impacts of climate change. With the help of Frank Thor Straten, Danish media and communication consultant, Mostafa Hussein, trainer in the field of Environmental professions, the Egyptian DEMENA team and 350.org volunteers, they went through a 3-day workshop to sculpt their skills and utilize them to encourage citizen journalism on Climate Change.
The global climatic crisis is the most demanding issue facing humanity in this era of environmental oblivion, and that’s why there’s a need for strong Media products communicating the issue, the ramifications, the consequences and the solutions.
Egypt is one of the countries most vulnerable to Climate Change, even though the river Nile passes through Egypt, in a lot of places water is an extremely scarce resource. Egypt’s share of the river Nile water has been 55 million cubic meters since 1995, which wasn’t enough for the entire population then, and it sure is not enough now that the population tripled. Add to that rising water levels of salty sea water submerging parts of the Nile Delta, and salinating massive parts of agricultural land and submerging parts of the coastal cities. Other than water issues, Egypt faces a lot of health challenges as a result of deteriorating air and water quality and escalating energy insufficiency issues.
The current political and economic scene in Egypt is very turbulent, which gives very little space for climate change and environmental issues in the public arena. But if we fail to draw the connection between environmental issues and economic issues then we fail to solve either problem, Egypt has recently changed from a gas exporting to a gas importing company, which will take an incredible toll on the national economy and clearly shows that our dependency on conventional energy resources no longer works.
There’s a grave need for localized climate solutions in Egypt including spreading environmental awareness, which pushed for having a Media workshop, and Fayoum was the best place to do it. Fayoum is an Agricultural governorate overlooking Qaroun Lake, a salt water lake. An extremely peaceful Tunis city in Fayoum was definitely an inspirational and resourceful place to hold a workshop to spread the word about environmental problems in Egypt. Participants went through a 3-day training and brainstorming to come up with the best topics to tackle and the methods to tackle them with, and here’s what they came up with!
The enormity of the problem makes it surprising how simple the solutions are. Mobilizing local communities towards a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly ways of living would soon enough change national tactics. And what is the world but a community?
Interviews with two of the Egyptian Climate Ambassadors about being part of the project:
Interviews with one of the Egyptian Climate Ambassadors about the project:
Some people find it rather impossible to depend on Arab Countries in the UNFCCC negotiations, especially that amongst those very countries are oil and natural gas exporters, and the top emitters per capita. Surprisingly though, approaching the end of the first week of negotiations, and while Australia pledges an “embarrassing” -as referred to by Australian activists- 0.5% decrease in emissions, and while the US continues to try to block the negotiations in any way possible, the UAE announced that they’ll be producing 100 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP), and they are preparing the next 100 MW tranche which will be solar Photovoltaics (PV). That announcement was rather a surprise to negotiators on one hand and civil society on the other. It’s highly expected that a chain reaction of some sort will take place in the second week, especially amongst the Arab countries, which is a valid point but other things need to be taken into consideration. While some of the countries are trying to mitigate, a negotiator from Saudi Arabia, which is THE highest emitter worldwide and an oil exporter said that Climate Change is “a merely Economical and Political issue” which might sound like an innocent statement to the naked eye, but it’s a very dangerous statement, not only does it deny all the Climatic catastrophes taking place right now, it also denies all the scientific evidence that Climate Change is the epidemic of this era. Also, an Egyptian negotiator talked about the obstacles that face Egypt and other Arab countries that would make it difficult for those countries to take mitigation actions against climate change, and it’s valid on some level that many countries in the Arab region are going through difficult economic and political conditions, but that raises the question, why didn’t those countries take any actions before they went through those unstable conditions? Or is it just another excuse for countries that have caved in to the power of oil?
Between promises, statements and endless sessions, the vision stays hazy and unclear to a lot of people and the painful reality stays the same, the decisions that are being made right now are too little and too late, even if positive. It’s going to be very hard for us to undo the damage that we have done so farm and it’s going to be impossible for us to make this world livable for future generations if we do not start acting this very instant because we, have created a time bomb.
In an attempt to introduce youth to the green market and teach them how to capitalize on their potential, the DEMENA Youth Climate Ambassadors, along with environmental organizations icecairo, Nawaya and the Wadi Environmental Science Center, hosted the Green Innovation Cup ceremony Sunday.
Read more here:
According to the World Wildlife Fund Denmark is in the top 5 countries consuming the most of Earth’s natural resources compared to the amount of renewable resources used. [Link]
I just got back home after two amazing days in Dana for national climate ambassadors training, the two days training was great, full of energy, hot topics, Jordan environment challenges and creative idea.
In the first day when I have meet the participant most of them they were guys! I was worried about it as it’s so hard to make guys setting and listing! But the opposite happen and they were so interested to get the knowledge, discuss, share ideas, ready to apply project action and hit the ground!
During the training we have discussed Jordan most environment challenges which are: waste, energy and water scarcity. Then we have presented theory and knowledge about campaigning, this was helpful for the participant to think about campaigning idea to solve Jordan challenges.
In the second we have talked about the Innovation cup, where there is going to be competition between participant to get 1000$ as prize to start apply their own project. In order to plan for the Innovation cup, participant got the knowledge about the innovation, brain storming about ideas, categories the projects and then planning for the project. The participants come up with 5 projects and four of them were match the C SMART criteria.
The overall experience was very good as the feedback from the participant was good and I have notice that they starts seriously about the environment challenges, their life style of consuming and their behaviors. The hope always exists and I am sure that youth in Jordan are smart and can protect their country and do an action!
Every time I participated in training as participant but this time I was as facilitator, it was a very good experience for me as I have got the chance to see things from different angel, as I could see the energy in the participant and this make me more insist to continue what I have started from last 5 years ago by get people attention and flashing the environment challenges, In addition appreciate every the environment around us! Can’t wait for the Innovation Cup and see what kind of successful project the participant will present
The cultural experiences of Danish Climate Ambassadors traveling to the Middle-East.
Climate Ambassadores packing to catch up there plans to fly all the way to Jordan and Egypt. I am leaving Denmark but holding with me skills knwledge , experiance and the enthusiaum to start we have planned for it during the last 13 days.
YCA meeting all of you was great keep the spirite up and for sure see all of soon its one small world
Take 20 newly educated climate ambassadors; put them together in a room with a laptop, a data show and a white board, and within minutes you will have a highly engaged discussion going on! This was what happened Friday 3rd June 2011 when we gathered 20 of our national climate ambassadors at MS ActionAid’s facilities in Amman to share achievements and experiences from the first month of their lives as climate ambassadors. Several of the ambassadors had been very active and they were more than eager to tell about their accomplishments. Among the activities they had conducted were environmental lectures at schools, plant-a-tree events and a theatre play about youth leadership and environment. The young Jordanians are so creative!
Several times during the meeting I was thinking that our presence as facilitators was superfluous – the national climate ambassadors were conducting the meeting just great without us! They were sharing experiences and giving each other tips and advices on how to overcome the challenges they are facing as ambassadors for the environment. Moreover, they were very eager in getting engaged with campaign activities – and I am really looking forward to see what they have of brilliant ideas! The best part of the day was experiencing the spirit of the group – they are really supporting each other and doing a great job in their society. So come along and take part in the wave of active environmental citizenship!