Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | May 7, 2013

May 1st, 2013 – Friends of the Earth Middle East – Environmental Peacemaking Newsletter

Jordan River Rehabilitation Project Updates

Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith and Shahab Hussein on BBC London radio

This month FoEME continued to strengthen connections to faith-based communities by giving presentations featuring our work on the Lower Jordan River in both the Wembley Central Mosque and the Harrow & Wembley Progressive Synagogue in London, United Kingdom.   The events marked the second time that FoEME’s Directors have spoken to the communities, further strengthening the important connections between faith-based communities and efforts to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River.  To learn more about FoEME’s Faith Based Campaign for the Rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River click here.

To learn more about this visit please visit FoEME’s event page.  To listen to a special interview featuring Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith from the Harrow and Wembley Progressive Synagogue, and Shahab Hussein, Secretary General of the Wembley Mosque, on BBC London radio about their involvement with Friends of the Earth Middle East, please follow the links: (Part 1) / (Part 2).

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

FoEME’s Crossing the Jordan Photography Exhibition was on display this month at the Wasser Berlin Water and Wastewater International Trade Fair and Congress.  The events attracted 28,000 experts and other visitors looking to learn about and share innovative solutions to water challenges.

FoEME Crossing the Jordan Photography Exhibition

FoEME Crossing the Jordan Photography Exhibition

The Jordan River exhibition, which was included in a water themed scavenger hunt in the exhibitions hall, drew lots of curiosity and attention from students, teachers and visiting experts alike.

The Jordan River Rehabilitation Project is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Osprey Foundation.

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

SHE EcoPark, Jordan

Walking Trail at SHE EcoPark

Walking Trail at SHE EcoPark

The Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark in Jordan witnessed an interesting group this month when more than 70 Syrian and Iraqi youth refugees came to learn about the environment in this area. They were divided into four sub groups so that they could better learn about the Park’s features including grey water, composting, mud building and herb gardening. They joined another group of youth from the IAA school in Amman, who were doing three days of community service and visited the park as part of their learning experience.

Syrian and Iraqi youth refugees

Syrian and Iraqi youth refugees

In another significant visit, more than 100 students from a number of important schools in Amman took part in an Environmental Education Day at the SHE Park.  This group was also divided into sub groups and learned about grey water, eco-gardening and mud building. The students went on a biodiversity tour, identifying flora and fauna in the park, while their teachers were presented with the new Solar Tracker System presently being installed in the EcoPark. (Stay tuned for more about the Solar Tracker in the next newsletter!)

 ———————————————————————————————————————————————-

Ashdod Sustainability Conference

This year, FoEME Tel Aviv helped to coordinate the 2nd Annual Ashdod Sustainability Conference in Israel, initiated by the Municipality of Ashdod and Ha’aretz Group.  The conference was held on April 23, 2013, at the Theater of Performing Arts in Ashdod, and brought together elected officials and senior staff, academics, opinion leaders, journalists, environmental activists and professionals from various fields, to promote a public discourse on sustainability and to place the issue of promoting sustainability in Israel on the public agenda.

FoEME’s Israeli Director Gidon Bromberg with His Excellency Saad Abu Hamour

FoEME’s Israeli Director Gidon Bromberg with His Excellency Saad Abu Hamour

The conference was opened by the new Minister of Environment in Israel, Amir Peretz. FoEME’s Israeli Director, Gidon Bromberg, held an important public discussion at the conference with His Excellency Saad Abu Hamour, Secretary General of the Jordan Valley Authority and Jordanian Head of the Israel Jordan Joint Water Committee.  Read here a translation of an article from Ha’aretz newspaper on the discussion.

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

 Neighbors Path Tours in Jordan

FoEME has been leading Neighbors Path tours in almost all our participating Good Water Neighbors communities to more than 25,000 people over the last several years.

members of the Retired Military Association

members of the Retired Military Association

One of the many groups we had welcomed in Jordan recently consisted of members of the Retired Military Association, who participated in a Neighbor Path tour to the Al Hemma and Tabqet Fahel communities. They were presented with the touristic potential in these communities, heard about the specific problems in both villages, such as open canals and sanitation issues, and about the water economy in Jordan in general. Most importantly, during the tour they were given the opportunity to form a better understanding of the shared nature of the communities’ water resources.  In this way, FoEME’s message of the need for environmental regional cooperation speaks loud and clear.

If you, or a group, are interested in any of our Neighbors Path tours, please contact us at info@foeme.org

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

Ecofacilities

A component of FoEME’s Good Water Neighbors project is the building of pilot “Ecofacilities” in schools, or other municipal buildings, to showcase water conservation methods.  Students from the Environmental Science Class at the Beit Yerach High School in the Israeli Jordan Valley recently completed the construction of a Wetland System for Grey Water – purifying water from the school’s teachers’ lounge and sinks to irrigate the outside garden.

Wetland System for Grey Water

Wetland System for Grey Water

The school is located on the exit of the Jordan River flowing south from the Sea of Galilee, near the Alumot Dam, where fresh water stops flowing and wastewater starts flowing down the river towards the Dead Sea. Therefore, the wetland is ever-more relevant in serving as an educational model to demonstrate natural, ecological water treatment methods in a clear and simple way.

A very prominent location in the school was chosen so that on a daily basis everyone who visits the school will encounter the structure, thus raising awareness around this effective water treatment method.  Environmental Science students are looking forward to conducting experiments on the quality of water entering and exiting the wetland and its effect on vegetation.

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

Study Tour of Hebron Stream Pollution with Visiting Expert

In the context of our Good Water Neighbors project, FoEME has identified a list of “Priority Projects” that aim to solve cross border water problems.  Removal of Industrial Wastewater and the associated dangerous toxins from the Hebron Stream is one such project. The Hebron Stream originates in the West Bank, becomes the Be’er Sheva Stream, and then the Besor Stream after flowing into Israel, and then again through Gaza to the Mediterranean.

Study Tour of Hebron Stream Pollution with Visiting Expert

Study Tour of Hebron Stream Pollution with Visiting Expert

FoEME made contact with a tanneries owner and a leading expert on the reduction of pollution from the leather processing industry. We invited him to the region to learn about the situation on the ground and to offer his advice as to how to best address this problem. He toured the Industrial Area, met with key stakeholders, including the Hebron municipality, USAID and Israeli officials, all of whom will need to be involved to solve the issues. Following the tour and meetings, he proposed solutions that we hope will be a breakthrough on this longstanding pollution issue. Click here for press coverage (in Arabic) from Maan News Agency that covered this tour.

The “Good Water Neighbors” project is funded by USAID’s Conflict Management and Mitigation program, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the European Union’s Partnership for Peace Program and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

Youth “Water Trustees” participate in hazard mapping to protect mutual ground water resources

A hazard mapping project is taking place in FoEME’s ‘Protecting Ground Water’ (PGW) project, using a custom GIS module which was developed for optimum characterization of ground water risks. Local authorities and residents participate in the mapping project and share their knowledge of local environmental challenges.

students attending the hazard mapping project

students attending the hazard mapping project

We are finding synergies between our own ‘Good Water Neighbors’ project and are training local youth to use the GIS module and participate in hazard mapping. The children get a sense of actual environmental ‘doing’ and PGW receives more sources of local information. We believe that involving youth in ‘real life’ environmental work will increase their motivation and participation.

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

‘PGW’ Team speaks to women in Wadi Fukin

In the framework of our “Protecting Ground Water” project, FoEME is conducting public events in each community to raise awareness of the importance of protecting groundwater.  One such event was to a group of women from Wadi Fukin, who learned how their actions, even on the household level, can contribute to the protection of our water resources.

from the participants

from the participants

Material presented included how best to discharge chemical products that are used in the home on a daily basis, how to  integrate compost practices in the home rather than dumping all waste directly into the general garbage bin, and more. We are pleased that the women agreed to make this a high priority in their homes.

The “Protecting Ground Water” project is supported by the European Union’s ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: