Hello, my fellow Lebanese. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Have you noticed something unusual about our summer? Something strange?

Far fewer tourists than usual.

This is due to many reasons. The political instability that has swarmed Lebanon and the political instability that has engulfed the entire region, would understandably turn people off of coming to visit. However, this has had devastating effects on our country and economy. Lebanon is a country that derives its income from tourism, services, and the like. To witness a decline in one of our most revenue-generating sectors is scary, particularly as this is coming at a time when we have a new and fragile government and a precarious situation domestically, regionally, and internationally. What can bring tourists, business, and money back into Lebanon?

Eco-tourism. If we invest in rehabilitating our environment, we can do it. Lebanon is famous for its snowy slopes, its beautiful beaches, and its lush forests. This fame is decreasing, given how we have let the environmental situation slide. This has gone far enough. If we rehabilitate our land by planting trees, recycling, using rain-harvesting and sources of renewable energy, reduce our waste, and find better ways of waste management, much of our beautiful country will return. We were known as “Lebanon the Green” and “The Paris of the Middle East.” Ours was the main tourist attraction of the Middle East. More and more tourists are going to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Mind you, they do not have the natural attractions that we have. They don’t have the natural ski slopes, the nature reserves, the historical sites, and the rich culture. We do. But we don’t use it…we’ve abused it.

Lebanon, we need to put our assets to good use. If we rehabilitate and market our environment, we could rejuvenate our tourism sector and inject money into our economy. Ours is a beautiful country. Naturally, after having endured so much struggle over the past years we are tired, angry, poorer than we used to be, and almost want to give up. But now is the time for us to think about how to turn this trend around. We the Lebanese are known for our resilience. There is benefit in improving our environment on every level, both for it and for us. It would improve our health, improve our economy, and considering sources of renewable energy would allow us more economic and political independence. We can only improve our situation by rehabilitating and protecting our environment.

My fellow Lebanese, we can do it. I know that you love this country as much as I do, and want to see our situation improve. We can do it if we want to!