Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. I’d like to share something with you that really ticked me off. Early in the day I saw a random gentleman throw a bag of what appeared to be toilet-trash out on the street. I didn’t say anything, but couldn’t help but shoot him a dirty look. Apparently, this was enough to provoke the rather long outburst: “what are you glaring at me for? Is it any of your business what I do with my trash? You think what I do is bad…look at the refugees!”

My fellow Lebanese, it is no secret that we do have a large number of refugees in our country; over 66,000 Syrian refugees over the past 18 months alone. We also have a larger population of Palestinian, Kurdish, and Iraqi refugees; the estimated number of these are 450,000 or so. I ask you this, though…what do the refugees have to do with our inability to throw away trash properly?

It is easy to get demoralized in our current political environment, and take it out on others and our environment. It shows in the degradation of our state-provided services, our everyday social processes, and the increasing political instability that we are experiencing. Our country is so divided that we cannot even agree as to whether or not Michel Aoun’s convoy was actually shot at yesterday. Our political situation is precarious. But once again, I ask you…how is any of this responsible for our individual inability to properly take care of our environment?  

My fellow Lebanese, now is the time for us to step up and make a conscious decision to take better care of our country. Admittedly, it is not an easy time for us…but I ask you, did we ever have an easy time? Are we going to sit and wait for a good time for us to become environmentally-conscious? If we keep waiting it will be too late. The rate of cancer in our country already increases at 5% annually. We already have enough problems as it is. This is one of the few things we can do that will positively affect us and those around us. Enough blaming political issues for our own irresponsibility. This one is on us, Lebanon.