Archive for December, 2014


Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. 2014 is coming to a close. We’ve had better years. Our presidential vacancy, the second suspension of the parliamentary elections, and the incursions by ISIS into Lebanon make it difficult to look back on 2014 with fondness. It also makes it difficult to think of ourselves in empowering political terms, as so much of this has happened against our will.

Such an ethos leaves us feeling powerless, and unable to affect positive change. This is perhaps the biggest danger of all.

I have no predictions about 2015. I leave such tasks to Michel Hayek and his associates. More to the point, I believe that shaping 2015 is up to us. It is up to us as to whether or not we choose to create change. It is up to us to step up and make the choice to care about our environment. it is up to us to start implementing environmentally friendly practices in our daily lives, such as changing patterns of consumption and lifestyle habits that produce unnecessary waste and pollution. It is up to us to advocate for the socio-political space to have our environmental needs addressed by policy-makers. It is up to us to problematize these issues so that they matter and cannot be ignored.

My fellow Lebanese, too often we discuss wanting change, but do not choose to be the change. This is our greatest failing. We aren’t alone in this. However, we do have the power. It is with us. Let us not continue to perpetuate the mood that created the cartoon below:

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Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Amid all of our political turmoil, it is perhaps easy to forget the joys of Lebanon–and even our responsibility to engage with them.

Eco-tourism is a slowly but surely growing trend in Lebanon. More people engage in hikes, walk through nature reserves, and try to enjoy the beauty that is Lebanon in the Cedars, Ehden, and others. Our people, who are local residents in these areas, are adjusting economically to this trend and are creating cooking classes, selling organic foods, and more. Unfortunately, current conflicts in Akkar and the Bekaa make it difficult to access some of our green spaces. But I digress.

My fellow Lebanese, it is our responsibility not only to find ways to relax and enjoy our country, but to engage in our communities and to help empower them. These communities need our money far more than foreign food chains ever will–and frankly, we will get so much more out of it if we learn to engage in the nature of our country and relax in it. Let us do it not only for them, but also for us. Let us develop and promote eco-tourism, and develop a culture of appreciation for our land, our nature, our country, and our people.