“We feel the manifestations of climate change at the local level”… about a Jordanian generation that started to care about the environment

Anyone conducting a survey, whether random or specifically for targeted sampling, can easily realize that the economic and living situation is the main concern of Jordanian citizens, and it is not excluded that it takes priority over health and life, in rare incidents .

However, as an extension of the rise of environmental concerns, especially after the Corona pandemic and its connection with the animal and environmental factor, Jordanians began to receive this attention regardless of the priority of economic and living concerns, and the shy Jordanian human rights movement in the environment file, so that a Jordanian environment voice would emerge, even if it was Weak, like “the first rain is a drop”.

There are many indications that prove that the Jordanian voice to defend environmental issues is still in its infancy stages, as evidenced by the absence of a structure for youth initiatives that appear here and there to defend the environmental dossier, such as climate, trees and water, and the classic programs of the Ministry of Environment that still use the old mentality that is inappropriate for the developments that have taken place About the environmental problems in the world, not to mention the limitation of the Jordanian human rights community to issues of women and children, liberties, work and other civil, political and economic rights at the expense of environmental rights.

The Jordanian voice to defend environmental issues is still in its infancy.

Jordan’s failure

Environmentalist and author Pater Wardam talks to Raseef22 about “the Jordanian failure on environmental issues, starting with the constitution, which does not include the right to a clean environment as one of the economic and social rights in its Article VI, unlike many modern constitutions in the world, to the absence of many Among the Jordanian lawyers specialized in environmental cases, there is not even a judiciary specialized in environmental cases, so we see that cases are brought by the Ministry of Environment for public prosecution against some factories and bodies that violate environmental laws, but it is rare that there is a public rights claim.”

He cited an example when the local community in the city of Fuheis filed an environmental damage lawsuit against a cement company in the city, and it was difficult to prove that health damage such as pneumonia and cancer were mainly caused by the release of the cement was caused. industry.

And he concludes: “This simple example is indicative of the decline in the Jordanian human rights voice in environmental issues, despite the sensitivity of this file, its importance and its effects on health and the economy as well.”

awareness in its infancy

For his part, the environmental expert, journalist Farah Attiyat, points to the recent appearance of a Jordanian environmental voice, which, in her opinion, “is an extension of the global interest in the issue of biodiversity and climate change, and this voice has spread to social media sites, so we see Jordanian publications and campaigns, if only for a moment, fighting any destruction of the environment.” .

“The issue of the environment is no longer marginal recently,” says Attiyat, noting that “environmental problems affect individuals’ health and food security, and this is a major factor in poverty, and their impact on health is high, such as asthma .” She adds: “Even when we talk about the Corona pandemic, we do not forget that its causes are attacks on nature that have led to a change in the characteristics of housing animals that are close to humans and in direct contact did not touch with them.

It is true that there is a lack of awareness of the concept of climate change, but linking it to weather problems is indicative of Jordanians’ recent awareness of the environmental problems associated with temperature increases, as Jordan suffers from a high rate of drought and people began to feel that we had changed.

But Jordanians in general are still not sufficiently aware of the issue of climate change and its relationship with weather and temperatures, according to Attiyat, as evidenced by the results of a recent opinion poll, which revealed that 87.6 Jordanians feel a change in the weather. Namaa” for a poll on climate change, 54% of the respondents connected this phenomenon with the change of weather and the times of the seasons, while only 20% of them spoke of a connection between climate change and global warming, pollution and rising temperatures, and 10% referred to the problems of water scarcity and desertification.

Attiyat continues: “It is true that there is a lack of awareness of the concept of climate change, but linking it to weather problems is indicative of Jordanians’ recent awareness of the environmental problems associated with temperature increases, as Jordan suffers from a high rate of drought and people have started to feel that we have changed, and we even hear the elderly. They say: ‘The winter season was long, Mahalla, and the fields were green and fertile’.

Farah concludes with optimism about the new Jordanian generation, part of which is concerned with environmental issues, saying: “It is a promising thing when we see our youth participating in international conferences related to the environment, and we hear of voluntary initiatives to protect. nature. Perhaps this generation is aware that according to international reports it will not find a Planet for humanity in the future because the Earth will become uninhabitable.”

‘few votes’

Environmental human rights expert Hala Murad does not believe that the rise of Jordanian voices defending the environment is a Jordanian delay, but it is, as she says, a global delay. Recognition of the environment as a basic human right has did not come into the form of a global system until after October of the year. In the past, following the issuance of a resolution by the Human Rights Council at the United Nations, the environment was considered a basic human right.

Murad added to Raseef22: “Yes, voices that defended environmental rights are starting to appear in Jordan, but they are few. Those who believe in environmental work are still few, and those who care about public human rights work are not concerned about the environment, since one of the contents of their work, in addition to the existence of a gap between those who work with mechanisms and techniques. And between those who work from a human rights angle, and the bridge between them is expanding day by day.”

The water issue is a top priority for Jordanian environmental action.

She explains about the main concerns of environmental activists in Jordan: “The water issue is a top priority for Jordanian environmental action. The water situation in the country is dangerous and frightening, and the issue of food security includes the use of land in light of decades of the destruction of agricultural and forest lands, and there is a trend that we do not deny is climate change, and it has become interest in it, especially after the boom in the summer and winter seasons.

Jordan is a country with scarce water resources, with a water deficit of more than 500 million m3 annually, considering that the per capita share of water in Jordan is about 100 m3 per person/year, for all uses, and this amount is less as the global water poverty level set at 500 m3 per capita. . Jordan is considered one of the least affected countries in the phenomenon of climate change, due to the lack of industrial activities that it implements and contributes to the aggravation of the phenomenon.

Youth initiatives and interest

Several youth initiatives have sprung up in Jordan in recent years to champion environmental issues, including the “Zikra” initiative, which works to restore the relationship with nature, the land and the resources around it by returning to popular agriculture, such as wheat cultivation, and the initiative to protect trees in the northern Barqash forests, the land and try to limit their cutting, and campaigns banning the felling of trees in the Dana forests in the south claim.

We asked youth activist Ghaith Shugairi about the reason for his interest in environmental issues and his participation in youth campaigns that appear from time to time, especially those related to the fight against deforestation. environment”.

He added: “We, as Jordanian men and women, compare ourselves with neighboring countries. In Saudi Arabia, for example, there is a project to plant one million trees, and in Jordan we cut down trees and attack forests and does not take into account the surrounding ecosystems.”

And he concludes: “Our country, which we always sang when we were children and said ‘to a green Jordan’, has become deserts, and I count on the new generation with its interest in the issue of the environment, and on the influences of different cultures that it derives from social networking sites, and it is important and let us hope that the environment file Jordan will have a better future.

The environment is not a priority

“I can only feed my children by looking after the environment”; An answer to a random question from a citizen he met with Raseef22, at the entrance of a vegetable shop in Amman.

Our country, which we used to sing about when we were children and said about it ‘to a green Jordan’, has become a desert, and I count on the new generation with its interest in the issue of the environment, and on the influences of different cultures that it receives from social media, and this makes us hope that the file of the environment in Jordan will have a better future.

Ali Mansour, 63, laughed when asked if he cared about his country’s environment, adding, looking at the bags of vegetables he was carrying: “A kilo of lemons became four dinars, and tomatoes can only bought by the owners. of glory.?”.

A seventy-year-old woman who overheard our conversation interrupted us and introduced herself to Umm Hashem and said: “What environment and the time of blessing will come?” And she continued: “The time of blessing, the days when we did not sow and reap with our own hands, we did not import stale vegetables, the days when good people did not wash and God rewarded them with rain, not people She is unfair to God by depriving her of rain and the length of the summer sun.

She concluded her speech with verses saying that she always heard her father and his companions singing in the field in “the time of blessing”:

We cast love and put our trust in the Lord

Oh Lord, feed us and feed us

Oh bird restaurant in the dark of night

And the attacker and the Najem restaurant

The one sleeping by his side.

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