Happy Earth Day 2019!
Earth Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the threats facing our planet. In the dry climate of Palestine and parts of Lebanon, water is a scarce resource. The health of both humans and the environment suffer from water shortages, climate change and pollution. Farm fields lay fallow. Trees are few. And families have to save up the little water they can access to survive.
Anera incorporates green practices into many of our projects, from building with recycled materials to installing solar panels on schools and health clinics to irrigating with treated water. Anera’s programs on improving solid waste management and wastewater reuse help preserve the natural landscape and over-burdened resources in Lebanon and Palestine.
Anera intern, Hannah Wright Osborn, wrote last week about how Anera’s programs in Palestine impact the environment and empower people to maximize sustainable use of their natural resources.
Ten years ago, Naser Qadous, Anera’s Agricultural Programs Manager for Palestine, celebrated Earth Day and the onset of spring. He wrote,
“If you have ever been to the West Bank, you know that spring is spectacular. Wildflowers are in bloom under great blue skies stretching above olive groves and the air buzzes with the sound of bees doing their good work. … Here, we celebrate the earth from season to season, aware of how vital this resource is to our survival. “
Naser expressed pride in the work Anera does,
“helping families throughout the West Bank make the most of the generous earth. If I could take you on a tour of the West Bank we could go through village after village where I would point to Anera’s work. … Some of the families we help do not have much more than the ground beneath their feet and the air around them. We are giving them the tools to make the most out of what they do have and help them gain a little more independence.
More recently, in 2017, we spoke with a Palestinian physician and farmer who was part of Anera’s agricultural knowledge sharing program. Using the skills he learned, Dr. Mansour and his sister Ni’ma lovingly tend to their farm in Beit Duqo, in the West Bank.
“When I visit the land,” he says, with yellow roses in hand, “it usually gives me a gift. This is a gift of today. Our feet are planted in this land. The land gives to the one who loves it and works on it.”
Urban areas, like those in Gaza and Lebanon’s refugee camps, grow more polluted as their populations increase. Trash is a big problem in Lebanon, especially in the restricted spaces of refugee camps. Cramped conditions and a dearth of services push residents to dispose of their garbage on streets and beaches, putting people and the environment at risk.
Open dumping and trash burning threaten the health of people and ecosystems. But together we can help solve the problem!
Through strong community engagement, Anera’s multifaceted approach to improving solid waste management ensures investment and participation from residents. Educational materials like those pictured below reinforce recycling and composting practices so household waste is sorted properly at the source.
Anera has built greenhouses for 66 families across Rafah and Khan Younis in Gaza. Now families grow their own tomatoes, cucumber and eggplants.
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