Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. If you have been following the news regularly, then I’m sure that you are well aware that the international tribunal pertaining to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik el-Hariri is underway. I am sure you are aware of the car bomb explosion in Hermel which killed 5 people. I’m sure you are aware that our economic growth is at 1% when it should actually be at 6% or higher. I’m sure you know all of this. We are flooded with such news every day.

However…has anyone noticed that we are experiencing a drought? Moreover, has anyone noticed that this drought was predicted years ago? 

Usually, Lebanon is one of the few countries that experiences regular rainfall during winter. This year, it has only drizzled a handful of times. This means that our crops are not going to produce a fruitful harvest. While we used to be able to provide enough food for our own people, we might not be able to do so this year. Typically, water-harvesting or rain-harvesting safeguards against these occurrences, but we have not been doing so. We will experience food shortages (much less be able to export our products) sooner than we ever expected. 

My fellow Lebanese, our poor choices of policy have led us here, with no safeguard against drought. Our improper farming methods having lead to more unwanted consequences: soil erosion, depletion of underground water resources, and water pollution. We do not utilize appropriate irrigation techniques, we over-use pesticide and fertilizer to a degree where our land becomes infertile, and more.  Our once abundant land is now in danger, and we are not even paying attention to it. 

Fortunately, there are ways which we can fight this. We need to improve water management, carefully monitor our use of fertilizers and pesticides, and ensure that our agricultural land is being used appropriately. Lebanon, just because this emergency is quiet does not mean that it is any less urgent. We are in danger, my fellow Lebanese.