Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. In discussing the environment I hear a medley of replies…everything from “wow, that’s awesome!” to “who has the time to focus on the environment?” to “you aren’t a tree-hugger, are you?”

I often find it strange though, that we worry about our health, our personal futures, the future of the country, sectarianism, the failed policies of our nation, and fail to connect all of it to the environment. When you pollute your environment, doesn’t it make you sick? When you swim in your polluted sea, don’t you put yourself at risk? When we do not exercise urban planning, does this not create an uncomfortable lifestyle, such as exposure to loud noise, over-crowding, and sewage? When we are too sectarian to create sustainable solid waste management plants, do we not end up living in our own garbage? When we do not have laws pertaining to our environment and our well-being, do we not suffer? If you care about these things, how they affect you, and want them to change, then environmentalism is for you.

Lebanon, the environment isn’t a luxury. Chances are that it will affect you more than the international tribunal ever will. The tribunal is significant, yes. But you do not live in it, inhale it, eat from it, drive in it, swim in it, and most importantly, have the chance to rehabilitate it and make it better.

My fellow Lebanese, enough of our complaining about the current state of affairs, ending the discussion by shrugging our shoulders and saying “this is Lebanon”, and not bothering to make the effort to effect positive change. We are the change. We are the agents. We have the power to change our country for the better good. It comes from us. We tend to blame our problems on our politically charged history and on everyone else…local politicians, Israel, the U.S., Iran, Russia, the Palestinians, members of another Lebanese sect…you name it, we do it. Lebanon, we are simply trying to avoid getting off our butts and making a change. Enough.

My fellow Lebanese, this country is OURS. We are its sons, we are its daughters. We are the ones who will live with its consequences, which are far-reaching. The environmental affects you on so many levels. In terms of environment damage, it affects your health and that of your family. In terms of agricultural and energy investment and cost, it affects the economy, and your personal finances. In terms of urban planning and noise pollution, it affects where your live, and how you live. It affects your future. One way or another, the environment impacts you. It is time for us to change our lives for the better…and that starts with the environment. The power to change our country and our lives for the better is within us. If you want a better life, environmentalism is the way for you. We can do it, Lebanon!!!

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