Deepti Kannapan starts in his article dated August 5 by stating: I tried to go zero-waste in 2019 before adding ‘I bought my groceries bulk or package-free whenever I could, carried my own silverware to the work cafeteria, and stopped ordering food delivered to my house.’ Here is that article.
What Can One Person Do to Protect The Environment?
Three things: Innovate, call their Representative, and organize boycotts
Every time I went to a big-chain coffee store I made sure to pointedly ask for my coffee “for here, in a mug” while making eye contact with the cashier and miming holding a mug. Even with all this emphasis, about every one time in twenty I got handed a disposable coffee cup. At this point I’d be torn: that cup is going in the trash no matter what I did; but I dislike the experience of drinking from a disposable coffee cup. I usually ended up asking the barista to pour it into a mug for me.
Eventually, I told my regular barista that I’d quit disposable coffee cups as a new year’s resolution (which it was not). He changed the order and thanked me for making that resolution.
Most people reacted similarly when I told them what I was doing: with admiration, and then backing away by saying they could never do it themselves. Overall, not an encouraging reaction, because I’m not having much impact by myself. I’m just one person out of billions.
Innovate in your household.
My zero-waste experiment in 2019 resulted in a lot of frustration, but that frustration was useful. I deeply understood the difficulties of eschewing disposable cups.
Using this knowledge, I’ve been experimenting with methods to store my reusable cups and workflows for washing and replacing them. I’m hoping to find or develop a cup that’s fun to drink out of, easy to wash, store, and keep dry.
Innovations like this aren’t particularly high-tech or difficult to do, but that is how progress often happens. According to Eric Von Hippel, a professor who studies innovation at MIT,
Every field we look at in terms of the basic innovations, about half were done by users. And it’s fantastic. Companies very seldom mention the user-developed roots of their innovations.
If you’re frustrated by a problem, you’re uniquely qualified to figure out a solution, whether that’s a trash sorting system, a modified water bottle, or durable clothing.
People modifying products to make them do what they want is how we got the mountain bike. Companies often incorporate the modifications users want, as Von Hippel describes.
And then as a lot of people begin to do it, they say, “Aha! Not only is there a proven innovation, but there’s a signal of general demand.” And that’s the point at which you begin to define what a mountain bike should look like.
Participate in the political process.
Innovating helps create the technologies and processes that push the envelope beyond what we already have. Now the question is, will people use them?
They will if you regulate industries and compel them to adapt with the improvements in the state of the art.
Politics is an area where at first glance, it can seem like an individual voter has no influence. I found the idea of getting involved overwhelming. The 2018 election was the first time I participated beyond voting — I canvassed voters, phone banked, and called my Representatives, as often as I felt up to it, and eased my way into greater engagement.
And the results showed me how momentum can build.
Start small. Sign up for a mailing list of an organization like the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, or any group that resonates with you, and keep aware of environment-related bills that are coming up in your state or country.
Then, after a while, when you feel brave enough, call your Member of Congress or whoever represents you win your government, and tell them how you’d like them to vote on it.
I put this last because this is where most people assume you have to start. I am in favor of boycotts, but only when there is enough leverage to give them a chance of success.
Boycotts tend to work by tarnishing a company’s brand. They work best when the company has a good reputation that is sliding, and that it wants to restore. Boycotts don’t need to significantly impact the company’s revenue to succeed.
Most importantly, they need to be well-organized, focused, and strategic. So just buying what you approve of and not buying what you don’t will not have much of an impact.
[…] we have somehow inculcated a belief that if someone fails to boycott a company, she lacks standing to object to political behavior or to petition Congress for change. People feel guilty about not boycotting, and that guilt gets in the way of full-throated political protest.
There’s no need to feel guilty about the products you buy. You can’t boycott every flawed product in the world at once; you wouldn’t be able to live.
It’s a good idea to learn to plan an effective boycott. It starts with choosing the right target — a company that is sensitive to criticism. Done right, boycotts can succeed.
My avoidance of disposable coffee cups probably didn’t cause the coffee shop to order fewer of them. It probably didn’t cause the overall market for disposable cups to decrease, or fewer cups to be manufactured.
That’s okay because my experiment got me thinking bigger — about the possible products we haven’t yet invented, the legislation we need, and the markets and industries as a whole.
It got me thinking about where we have the most leverage. That’s where we are going to act.
An Analysis dated 7 August 2020 by Dr Tankut Oztas is concerned by The Levant and North Africa with a challenging statement like: on the verge of economic malaise? The pandemic-induced crisis is expected to exacerbate poverty, deepen inequality and constrain households’ access to basic needs, including health service.
ANALYSIS – The Levant and North Africa: on the verge of economic malaise?
ISTANBUL: The spread of COVID-19 undoubtedly has had a catastrophic impact on the most vulnerable communities of the world. According to a recent World Bank report, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is ranked as second-lowest among all regions in the overall Global Health Security Index, and it comes last in terms of both epidemiology workforce and emergency preparedness and response planning. Without an effective and coordinated set of policies to achieve a swift economic recovery, the region is highly likely to suffer from greater political instabilities and become a breeding ground for terror groups.
The COVID-19 outbreak has exacerbated these pre-existing vulnerabilities and risks in the widely-mismanaged economies of the MENA, where medical systems are under-resourced and much-needed infrastructure either destroyed or lacking.
A range of harsh anti-COVID-19 measures such as self-isolation, social distancing, and lockdowns, including total curfews and international travel restrictions have been implemented by governments to control the spread of the virus and protect lives.
These preventive measures, however, led economies across the region to experience severe supply and demand shocks. The most recent regional economic outlook reports published by both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast that regional economies would most likely experience a sharp economic fallout by –4.2 per cent and 4.7 per cent in 2020, respectively.
Still, the real socio-political and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the MENA remains highly uncertain and will strictly depend on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of the policy responses developed by each nation.
The current predictions, however, suggest that all critical macroeconomic indicators such as fiscal and current account balances, foreign reserves, and the inflow of foreign direct investment will be distressed as a result of the crisis. The pandemic-induced crisis is expected to exacerbate poverty, deepen inequality and constrain households’ access to basic needs, including health services.
The economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic effectively forced almost all countries in the region to request financial assistance from the IMF or other financial institutions to strengthen their economic position and prevent the possibility of a prolonged economic recession. As a result, regional economies have become heavily dependent on the reform directions of the IMF, World Bank, and other investment banks.
Socio-economic and political tensions remain a distinct possibility in the post-pandemic era if policy responses fail to meet the demands of the majority and set a path for swift economic recovery. Countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, and Tunisia already have debilitated capabilities. Persisting socio-political and economic hardship exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to a vicious cycle of economic malaise.
The same outcome applies to the only two oil-exporting countries of the region, Iraq and Algeria. Their economies were hit by the complete halt of economic activities due to the pandemic and have also been severely affected by the crash of oil prices. A similar assessment is applicable to war-torn countries of the region, Syria and Libya too. Though their economic outlook is linked to a sustainable political order and strong security environment, the spread of the virus and its humanitarian and economic costs are extra burdens on the wellbeing of communities living in these countries.
The only countries in the region with a relatively positive socio-political and financial outlook are Israel and Morocco. While their economies are experiencing the economic consequences of the pandemic, their macroeconomic variables are in a better position compared to their peers. Their public and externals debts are relatively lower in comparison to other nations in the region.
Nevertheless, every country will experience the heavy burden of issues such as collapsing global trade, low commodity prices, major capital outflows, and healthcare-specific challenges inflicted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The crisis is dealing a heavy blow on sectors such as tourism, export companies, and small and medium-sized businesses, which employ the largest share of the workforce and generate a considerable share of the revenue streams for the region’s economic development.
A reduction in income from these sectors, as well as remittances and foreign investment from the oil-rich Gulf countries, subsequently hampered the foreign reserves and deepened the current account deficit across the region as a whole.
Against this challenging backdrop, a range of economic recovery packages have been announced by the governments to mitigate the economic repercussions of the COVID-19. The majority of them are aimed at helping the most hard-hit sectors and communities through temporary tax relief, cash transfers or cheap financing.
The uncertainty about the real economic impact of the pandemic, however, has complicated the policy response. Many of these economies have limited fiscal and external debt capacities. The Lebanese government, for instance, has the highest external debt in the region with approximately 170 per cent of its GDP. Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt and Iraq follow Lebanon with external debts of 97, 90, 87.2 and 80 per cent of their GDP, respectively.
Ultimately, many of these economies had already been battling with high poverty, political instability, and poor healthcare infrastructure; hence the historic economic downturn provoked by the novel coronavirus will aggravate existing economic and humanitarian challenges. The region already has the world’s highest youth unemployment, and it hosts countries that have weak security institutions.
In the period that lies ahead, if the geostrategic vulnerabilities and risks continue to amplify across the region without a stable political leadership, effective civil service, and a well-targeted set of economic recovery programs, the region will likely experience a prolonged economic recession and an increased risk of social unrest.
[ The writer is a researcher at the TRT World Research Centre. He holds a PhD in International Political Economy from King’s College London and specializes in global security, geopolitical risks and the politics of transnational economic affairs ]
Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency
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Sara Fregonese, University of Birmingham hurried this article on The port of Beirut: vital, historic centre of a complex city immediately after the event that will undoubtedly shake the whole of the Levant of the MENA region.
The centre of Beirut has suffered devastation following an explosion which has destroyed the port, caused massive damage to the Lebanese capital and resulted in numerous deaths.
The history of a port at Beirut stretches back to as far as the 15th century BC. In the 20th century, Beirut became a key seaport serving the oil trade and related passenger and cargo movements in the Levant and the Gulf.
The port has played a key role in Beirut’s history and stands at the centre of the city, surrounded by some of its most important neighbourhoods.
From 1975 until 1990, Lebanon endured a vicious and prolonged civil war. Beirut became the site where sectarian tensions and regional geopolitics became part of urban space. It resulted in profound divisions and changes in the geography of the city. In September 1975, a few months into the civil war, the centre of Beirut became the core of militia fighting.
During the war the city was partitioned by a “Green Line” which split Beirut into an eastern and western sector. Demographic redistributions took place: people moved from one side of the city to the other along sectarian and political lines, with Christians settling mainly to the east and Muslims mainly to the west of the line.
Crucially, the port of Beirut stands adjacent to the most expensive real estate in town: the the Beirut Central District. In the early 1980s, this area was pinpointed for redevelopment, and at the end of the civil war it was the target of one of the biggest investment operations in Lebanese history. The redevelopment was considered controversial due to concerns about a lack of sustainability, inequality with the rest of the city, high property prices, lack of public spaces and costly services.
In 2015 and 2019, this area became the fulcrum of public anti-government protests. Until the interruption of the coronavirus pandemic, protesters took over several buildings and squares in the city centre. They campaigned against government corruption, and – among other things – for the right of access to pubic services and resources. In addition, they called for government accountability amid crumbling infrastructure and services, the loss of public space and environmental decline.
The port of Beirut also stands close to the dense residential areas of Gemmayzeh, Geitawi and the upmarket urban pockets of Sursock and Tabaris, separated only by a motorway. East of the port, and directly adjacent, are the neighbourhoods of Mar Mikhail and Karantina – the Ottoman quarantine station which marked the point of arrival and settlement for successive waves of refugees, including from Armenia in the 1920s and Palestine from the 1940s.
A portrait of the city
This cluster of neighbourhoods hosts many of Lebanon’s state and private services, including the electricity provider (EDL), a bus terminal and three hospitals. Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael, in particular, have undergone a process of gentrification in the last decade, prompting protests from residents against demolitions of heritage buildings, noise pollution and soaring property prices.
The popular quarters around the port and the reconstructed city centre present two sides of Beirut’s postwar reconstruction. Top-down regeneration with a master plan has taken place in the Beirut Central District, while a slow-burning gentrification characterises the other neighbourhoods.
It has been reported that operations will shift from Beirut’s devastated port to Lebanon’s other seaport with container capacity in Tripoli, around 80km along the coast. But it cannot be understated how much has been lost in terms of investment in the port of Beirut, and in the surrounding city.
Despite that for most, the long road to economic recovery following the Coronavirus pandemic may take a prolonged time and more effort than initially thought. Here is YouGov saying that the Mideast most optimistic about post-COVID recovery.
MANAMA, 5 August 2020
The Middle East has the world’s most positive outlook ahead of the looming recession with 27% of Saudi Arabians and Emiratis predicting their economies would boom in 12 months’ time, a report said.
Viet Nam’s population stood out as the most upbeat, with 65% of respondents believing their economy would remain stable and less than a quarter expecting a recession, according to the survey conducted by YouGov, which uncovers wide variation in people’s economic circumstances.
Viet Nam has been praised internationally for its quick action on coronavirus, though it has recently had to reimpose localized restrictions after new cases of the virus emerged in the city of Danang. Before this incident, it had not registered a community infection in more than three months.
The Financial Times has called it the worst global economic contraction since at least the 1930s. Advanced economies are set to shrink by 7% this year while emerging and developing economies collectively face a contraction of 2.5%.
YouGov asked 27,000 people in 26 economies about their expectations for the economy over the next 12 months.
While respondents were largely united in their fears over a global recession – ranging from 95% of Spaniards to 67% of Norwegians – the survey uncovered a wide spread of views on the fates of national economies.
The most pessimistic views came from economies as diverse as Mexico, Hong Kong and France, where three-quarters of those surveyed expected to be in recession in 12 months’ time. Mexico has recently become one of the countries worst affected by coronavirus.
On the other side of the globe, Hong Kong’s attitudes were markedly different from the rest of China, where half of respondents saw their economy remaining stable.
Third-ranked France was slightly separated from its European neighbours in Spain and the United Kingdom. Only around two-thirds of Spaniards and Brits said they were expecting an economic depression next year.
The hit to household incomes
Household finances had largely stayed the same for the majority of respondents compared to the month before.
The Nordic countries reported the greatest levels of financial stability, ranging from 69% in Norway to 79% in Denmark.
Mexicans had suffered the greatest financial impact, with 58% reporting that their finances had declined in the past month. Next in line were the Philippines and India, where 50% and more reported a drop. This aligned with the strong concerns over a looming economic depression that all three economies had expressed elsewhere in the study.
Viet Nam, again, showed itself as optimistic, with a third of respondents stating that their household finances had actually improved from the previous month.
Job losses and economic concerns
Furlough, reductions in working hours and job losses have shaken up national economies in the wake of Covid-19.
Mexico topped the list of the worst job losses (17%). Along with France, it also had the highest number of employees on furlough (24%).
Emiratis were worst affected by unpaid leave, with one in four respondents retaining a job but not getting paid.
Reduced working hours were the most prevalent way of dealing with the pandemic in South-East Asia, with upbeat Viet Nam (42%) ahead of the Philippines and India, with around a third each.
Finland (59%) and Germany (57%), Taiwan, China (53%) and the UK (51%) were the only economies where a majority of workers said their jobs were unaffected.
Beyond the threat of recession and jobs, respondents were most concerned about the impact of the pandemic on local businesses. Other fears such as paying rent or mortgages, banks failing and paying bills were more differentiated. Across the board, Indonesians and Filipinos emerged as the most worried, while the Nordic countries and Germany were the least concerned, according to YouGov.
That people in very diverse markets – emerging and advanced – take a positive stance underscores that the aftermath of coronavirus presents not just substantial challenges: it is also a window of opportunity to stage what has been called a “Great Reset”. How this can be achieved will be the theme of a World Economic Forum twin summit in January 2021, which will focus on building a new, more resilient economic and social system for the post-Covid world. – TradeArabia News Service
Salt storms are an emerging threat for millions of people in north-western Iran, thanks to the catastrophe of Lake Urmia. Once one of the world’s largest salt lakes, and still the country’s largest lake, Urmia is now barely a tenth of its former size.
As the waters recede, extensive salt marshes are left exposed to the wind. These storms are getting saltier and are now happening more often – even in the cold and rainy seasons of the year. As more drying uncovers more salt marshes, things will only get worse.
Salt storms pose a direct threat to the respiratory health and eyesight of at least 4 million people living in both rural and urban areas around Lake Urmia. Increasing soil salinity reduces the yield of agricultural and orchard crops grown around the lake, while the lake has shrunk so much that boating is no longer possible, resulting in a loss of tourism. https://youtu.be/H7euP07yEA0
This dramatic decline is down to human activity. Over the past three decades, Iran has followed a succession of five-year economic development plans, part of which involved providing large government loans for the agricultural sector to expand and switch from being primarily rain-fed to irrigated. To provide the necessary water for the farms, as well as for growing domestic and industrial use, more than 50 dams were constructed on rivers that drain much of north-western Iran and flow into the lake.
While these dams siphoned off the water that once fed the lake, the drying process was intensified by climate change. The rate of rainfall has reduced in recent decades and the Urmia basin has experienced several multi-year droughts.
All this has left a massively shrunken lake and a host of associated economic, social and health impacts. Yet what’s happening with Lake Urmia is just one example of water-environmental problems emerging right across Iran.
Iran is getting warmer and drier
In a recent journal article, we examined how both climate change and human activity had affected hydrological changes in Iran in recent decades. The country has 30 main river basins, and we gathered three decades of key hydro-climatic data for each, including surface temperature, precipitation, how much water was stored underground in soil and rock, surface runoff (the amount of excess rainwater that cannot be absorbed by the soil), and measures of evaporation and transpiration from plants.
We then calculated the average values of each of these variables over two 15-year periods, 1986-2001 and 2002-2016, and compared the two. This allowed us to see what was changing in each of these basins and by how much.
Our work showed that Iran’s main river basins have got warmer but are receiving less precipitation, are storing less water underground, and seeing less runoff.
Some river basins where precipitation and runoff decreased still saw an increase in evapotranspiration (the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration). This may seem odd at first, as less rainwater surely means there is less water to evaporate or for plants to transpire. Lake Urmia, for instance, is an endorheic basin, which means nothing flows out of it and all water that flows in eventually evaporates (this is why the lake is salty). But why would evapotranspiration have actually increased, even as the basin is fed by less water?
This is actually an indicator of human activity. First, all those dams generally increase the surface area of the body of water, compared to the natural flow before the dam was built. Artificial lakes and reservoirs, therefore, leave more water exposed to air and direct sunlight, thus increasing evaporation.
But it’s also down to farming. As more crops are grown, more water is transpired by plants – and more water is needed to grow those plants. To add water where needed, farmers have turned to groundwater and large-scale water transfer engineering projects.
This use of water to maintain and expand human activities is unsustainable and has serious environmental and socio-economic consequences, particularly in this dry part of the world, as seen by changes to Lake Urmia. Policymakers need to mitigate the adverse hydrological changes and associated socio-economic, environmental and health impacts, and move towards something more sustainable.
An article Posted by Ankush on July 31, 2020, is on the Point Of Use Water Purifier (POU) Market In MENA (Middle East & North Africa). It is as witnessed by a CAGR of 7.6% by 2020 per Future Market Insights (FMI) Estimates. All despite these years the most severe threat facing the MENA, there exists a market of Point Of Use Water Purifier (POU).
Future Market Insights report examines the ‘POU Water Purifier Market’ in Middle East and North Africa region for the period 2014–2020. The primary objective of the report is to offer key insights about water purifier market in MENA to current market participants or new entrant’s participants across the value chain.
Report includes study of the three key technologies of water purification i.e. Reverse Osmosis (RO),
Ultra Violet (UV) and Media filtration (Gravity). Report offers in depth analysis of market size, forecast and the key trends followed in all three segments.
The report starts with an overview of parent market i.e. water treatment industry in MENA and the part POU water purifier industry plays in it. Report also offer useful insights about global POU water purifier market and the role MENA market is posed to play.
Next section of the report includes FMI analysis of the key trends, drivers and restraints from supply side, demand side and economic perspective, which are influencing the target market. Impact analysis of key growth drivers and restraints based on weighted average model included in the report better equips and arms client with crystal clear decision making insights.
As highlighted before, water purifiers are based Reverse Osmosis (RO), Ultra Violet (UV) and media based filtration technology. Reverse osmosis is estimated to contribute noteworthy proportion of revenue in MENA water purifiers market. However, in the price sensitive regions, media based segment is expected to witness robust growth during the forecast period.
The next section highlights POU water purifier market by region. It provides market outlook for 2014- 2020 and sets forecast within context of water purifier market, including the three technologies to build out a complete picture at regional level. This study discusses the key regional trends contributing to the growth of the water purifier market in MENA as well as analyses the degree at which key drivers are influencing water purifiers market in each region of MENA. For this report, regions assessed are Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Algeria and rest of MENA.
To calculate the revenue generated from POU water purifiers, the report considered total volume sales of water purifier along with the average selling price, and also the revenue generated from water purifier segment of major players in the market. When forecasting market, the starting point is sizing the current market, which forms the basis for how market will develop in future. Given the characteristics of market, we triangulated the outcome of three different type of analysis based on supply side, consumer spending, and economic envelope. However, forecasting the market in terms of various water purifier technologies and regions is more matter of quantifying expectations and identify opportunities rather than rationalizing them after the forecast has been completed.
Also another key feature of report is analysis of the three key technologies of water purifier and regions in terms of absolute $ opportunity. This is traditionally overlooked when analyst forecasts the market. But absolute $ opportunity is critical in assessing the level of opportunity that a provider can look to achieve, as well as to identify potential resources from both the sales and delivery perspective.
Further to understand key growth segments in terms of technology and region FMI developed the MENA water purifier market attractiveness index. The resulting index should help providers identify real market opportunities.
In the final section of report, MENA water purifier market competitive landscape is included to provide report audience with dashboard view based on categories of provider in value chain, presence in water purifier market and their key differentiators. Key categories of providers covered in the report are manufacturers and major distributors. This section is primarily designed to provide client with an objective and detailed comparative assessment of key providers specific to market segment in the POU water purifier value chain. Report audiences gain segment and function specific vendor insight to identify and evaluate key competitors based on in depth assessment and capabilities and success in the POU water purifier market place. Detailed profiles of the providers are also included as scope of the study to evaluate their long term and short term strategies, key offerings and recent developments in the market. Key competitors covered are Eureka Forbes, PureIt, Strauss Water, Panasonic, LG and others.
In this study, we analyze the MENA Water Purifier Market during 2012-2020. We focus on:
Market size and forecast, 2012-2020
Key drivers and developments in POU Water Purifier Market
Key Trends and Developments of MENA Water Purifier Market technologies such as RO,UV and Media
Key Drivers and developments in particular regions such as KSA, UAE, Turkey ,Israel, Egypt, Algeria and Others
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