Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. I got asked a profoundly irritating question today which I plan on answering in this blog.

“Why are you so passionate about the environment in Lebanon? That seems pretty passive…someone with your spirit should fight for more relevant causes!”

My fellow Lebanese, that really ticks me off. In our part of the world, “fight for more relevant causes” doesn’t mean pushing for positive policy change. It tends to mean fighting against someone else. Another religious group, usually.  You know, our neighborhood Christians, Sunnis, Shi’ites, and Druze. People we grew up, went to school with, interacted with regularly. Ate with, partied with, hosted in our homes. Just them.

Predictably, fighting for such “noble causes” leads to further socio-political deterioration and an increase in the associated problems that are unbelievably difficult to solve. So how noble are these causes then, hmm? What good have they done us?

I’m not trying to sound as though I’m on a rampage of environmental self-righteousness. But I have yet to think of a single ethnic group in our country that won’t benefit from an improvement in the state of our environment. We’re ALL suffering from environmental degradation. We’re ALL getting higher risks of cancer and other health problems because we don’t take care of our environment. We’re all facing water shortages because of our inefficient use of water. We’re all dealing with land scarcity problems because of improper waste management. We’re all dealing with the unbelievable noise pollution that traffic causes. My fellow Lebanese, for ONCE this is a cause that can unite us. We don’t have to break down into Shi’ite-Sunni-Christian-Druze risks of cancer because of environmental misamanagement. Please tell me we aren’t that pathetic.

Fighting for more relevant causes, indeed. Just a thought.