Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. If you’ve been following the news, then you probably already know that on Monday, our ministry did not reach an agreement regarding the allocation of $1.2 billion to the Ministry of Energy in order to invest in the new oil-drilling project. Those who opposed giving the money to the ministry did so on the basis that doing so would give Gibran Bassil access to it without any committee or oversight ensuring his accountability. In response,  Michel Aoun threatened that his ministers would quit from Cabinet if an agreement did not come to pass. Given that Michel Aoun has the largest care of cabinet seats, Prime Minister Najib Mikati is expected to back down on this issue if only for the sake of maintaining our already-fragile government. 

Lebanon, the state of our government is such that it is willing to risk closure over financial allocations over this project. Nor is this the only political problem that the future oil-drilling project presents. The area that is rich in oil and gas resources is 850 square kilometers off the coast between Israel and Lebanon. This adds yet another point of contention betwee the two countries, as both lay claim to it. While the U.N. is in the process of demaricating the borders (as they should; each country should know its land and maritime borders) the political scenario surrounding this project does not bode well.

To break it down politically, we plan on drilling oil in a disputed area in order to use non-renewable sources of energy that will cause our environment harm. This is in spite of the fact that this issue has brought such fracture to our government that it risks dissolution. We will also be using an Iranian company to drill the oil and will be receiving natural gas from Iran, which increases our dependence on a foreign nation for our basic needs. Does anyone else see a problem here?

On an environmental level, drilling for oil and using fossil fuels for energy creates air  and water pollution, hurts plants and animal life, creates toxic waste, and causes global warming. By virtue of polluting our land, air, and sea, such methods also poses severe health risks for humans. Fossil fuels are also a non-renewable source of energy, and before long we will need another source to generate electricity from; in sum, the $1.2 billion will not be a permanent investment. Regardless of your political affiliation, these are factors to consider when discussing the oil-drilling project.

Fortunately, there are alternative solutions that are more eco-friendly, cheaper, and far less politicized. If we invest in solar technology, we have much to gain. After all, the sun is for free, and using it at a source of energy means we will never be subject to the ups and downs of energy markets. We will also never have to rely on foreign powers for our energy needs. Moreover, it is a clean alternative to the fossil fuels that will pollute our air and water even further. Using solar energy will also prevent the health risks that oil drilling and the use of oil for energy purposes will have on us. As a country that has 300 sunny days out of 365, it is a worthwhile investment! Regardless of your political affiliation, we can all agree that we need a clean country and want to protect and improve our health and political independence.  This is the way to an energy-independent and clean future:

 My fellow Lebanese, we can do it if we want to!!