Middle East

The Lessons of Dubai TreeHugger.com, Dec. 13, 2009

In Dubai, no project was too ambitious, or too ridiculous. Life was good, and the city was overflowing with energy. But, for those who could see beyond the glitz, the writing was on the wall. Like Enron, Bear Stearns and Lehman, Dubai was the antithesis of sustainability, and thus its eventual collapse was inevitable. I sincerely hope that Dubai recovers. But whether it does or not, the freewheeling development model that it pioneered has effectively been rendered obsolete.

Permaculture in Palestine TreeHugger.com, July 19, 2009

Defying drought, limited resources and occupation, Bustan Qaraaqa is building an ecological oasis in a wadi outside Bethlehem. A handful of foreign and local volunteers live here in a century-old stone house (the oldest house in the valley, according to their landlord), surrounded by 14 dunams of land. It may sound idyllic, but the challenges are immense: sparse rainfall, creeping desertification, lousy soils and rocky, sloping land, just to name a few. “When we first started building this place, a little over a year ago, everyone around here told us we were crazy,” says Tom, an ecologist.

An Afternoon in Amman SustainableCityBlog.comFebruary 2009

As Ibrahim continues to chat me up, my food arrives. This is one of those places where there is only one choice on the menu. Falafel balls, hummus, foul, a large warm pita, hot tea and some chopped onions with mint leaves, all drenched in olive oil, lemon and garlic. Quite the feast actually, and I’m starved. I only manage to enjoy a couple bites, however, before Ibrahim begins talking about the war in Gaza. “One thousand, two hundred and three.” He reads me the Palestinian body count, according to Al Jazeera.

While Israel Discovers Natural Gas, Abu Dhabi Discovers Renewable Energy SustainableCityBlog.com January 2009

Now I know the truth: it’s good indeed to be an oil state. Only a few years ago, there was almost nothing here in Abu Dhabi. Today, this city of around a million people sports all the trappings of a modern metropolis: sparkling skyscrapers, wide boulevards, manicured promenades and parks. The wealth (it’s no secret) comes from oil and natural gas. So imagine my shock when I learned from here that Israel has apparently struck enough natural gas to last the country for 20 years, off the coast of Haifa.

wfes-exhibition-hall-photoThe Future of Energy TreeHugger.com, January 20, 2009

Abu Dhabi is out to recast itself as a world leader in the field of renewable energy. Sitting on top of one tenth of the world’s oil, life in Abu Dhabi, the richest city on the planet, is good. Yet, the leaders of this tiny emirate have decided that, regardless of how much oil remains to be pulled out of the ground, the future of the world’s energy market lies in renewables. The second annual World Future Energy Summit, which kicked off yesterday in the shadow of the global economic crisis, is meant to establish the emirate as the nexus of the post-oil economy.

[Digg] [Facebook] [Newsvine] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Yahoo!] [Email]