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Climate Change in the Middle East

The Middle East is a transcontinental region in Afro-Eurasia, which generally includes Western Asia and Egypt and Turkey. In the past three decades, the Middle East region has tripled its greenhouse gas emissions and is currently emitting above the global average per person. Most of the top ten countries by carbon dioxide emissions per person occurs in the Middle East. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East)

Not many people pay attention to climate change in the Middle East. There are only a few youth advocates in the Middle East who are speaking up about climate change as compared to in the USA or Europe. It is not surprising that there are no climate protesters on the streets because that is not how the culture acts or disseminates information. However, that does not mean that youth climate activism in the Middle East does not exist. Street protests may not be their modus operandi. Instead, educational and lobbying activities are increasingly becoming essential tools for young Arabs to speak up about climate issues. This can lead them to speak to their community and government and start to make a change in the system to reverse climate change.

Here are two main youth climate movements:

Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM)

An organization that emerged leading up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, in 2012, was the Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM). It is the largest climate advocacy group in MENA, with chapters in over 15 Arab nations.

Examples of their advocacy include:


  • In Egypt, they have been campaigning against coal as a source of pollution. The Egyptians believe that the country should rely more on solar power generation than natural gas or coal. This would cut both carbon emissions and help develop the country.

  • In Bahrain, they have focused on sustainable agriculture and health. Raising public awareness about climate change and conservation of energy has become priorities for AYCM activities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

  • Saudi Arabia, the leading world oil producer, has pledged to adopt more renewable energy, such as solar, to use a more sustainable life to harm the climate less.

Learn more here: https://insidearabia.com/cautious-activism-arab-youths-rise-against-climate-change/

Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar LLC

Another youth advocate movement in Qatar called Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar LLC. It is the first registered, independent, nonprofit, youth-led, grassroots organization. They are focused on raising environmental awareness, targeting youth and adult groups. They want to become an informed voice on climate and ecological crises and co-create cost-effective solutions relevant to the local environment and culture.

For the last four years, the Arab Youth Climate Movement made its presence in Qatar by actively engaging with the community. The children want to be in a place where they are voicing for climate education and awareness as central to their strategic initiatives over the past few years that follow the global call for climate action at COP21. Learn more here: http://www.climatenetwork.org/profile/member/arab-youth-climate-movement-aycm-qatar

Environmental and climate advocacy groups everywhere face an uphill struggle to influence their governments and societies. But it is even more difficult in MENA, where the level of recognition of the problem is not where it should be, while the stakes are getting higher. The Arab youth has a lot of work to do; they can do this by helping their community and providing information on environmentally friendly lifestyle that won’t damage the earth. They are the future generation and may need to find new ways to run different systems without the need for fossil fuel.


--- Nada Kaawach




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