Communicating Climate Change in Fayoum
I had the pleasure of co-facilitating a media and climate change workshop earlier this month in the Egyptian city of Fayoum alongside Amena Adel – International DEMENA Youth Climate Ambassador and 350.org volunteer in Cairo.
Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to share this blog post which Amena wrote about the workshop (cross-posted from http://www.climateambassadors.net/ )
On January the 3rd 2013, 18 media enthusiasts from all over Egypt came together in Zad Al Musafer in Tunis- Fayoum to explore possibilities of communicating climate knowledge. From Sinai in the east to Alexandria in the west, and from governorates all over Egypt, they had each experienced the indirect and in some cases the direct impacts of climate change. With the help of Frank Thor Straten, Danish media and communication consultant, Mostafa Hussein, trainer in the field of Environmental professions, the Egyptian DEMENA team and 350.org volunteers, they went through a 3-day workshop to sculpt their skills and utilize them to encourage citizen journalism on Climate Change.
The global climatic crisis is the most demanding issue facing humanity in this era of environmental oblivion, and that’s why there’s a need for strong Media products communicating the issue, the ramifications, the consequences and the solutions.
Egypt is one of the countries most vulnerable to Climate Change, even though the river Nile passes through Egypt, in a lot of places water is an extremely scarce resource. Egypt’s share of the river Nile water has been 55 million cubic meters since 1995, which wasn’t enough for the entire population then, and it sure is not enough now that the population tripled. Add to that rising water levels of salty sea water submerging parts of the Nile Delta, and salinating massive parts of agricultural land and submerging parts of the coastal cities. Other than water issues, Egypt faces a lot of health challenges as a result of deteriorating air and water quality and escalating energy insufficiency issues.
The current political and economic scene in Egypt is very turbulent, which gives very little space for climate change and environmental issues in the public arena. But if we fail to draw the connection between environmental issues and economic issues then we fail to solve either problem, Egypt has recently changed from a gas exporting to a gas importing company, which will take an incredible toll on the national economy and clearly shows that our dependency on conventional energy resources no longer works.
There’s a grave need for localized climate solutions in Egypt including spreading environmental awareness, which pushed for having a Media workshop, and Fayoum was the best place to do it. Fayoum is an Agricultural governorate overlooking Qaroun Lake, a salt water lake. An extremely peaceful Tunis city in Fayoum was definitely an inspirational and resourceful place to hold a workshop to spread the word about environmental problems in Egypt. Participants went through a 3-day training and brainstorming to come up with the best topics to tackle and the methods to tackle them with, and here’s what they came up with!
The enormity of the problem makes it surprising how simple the solutions are. Mobilizing local communities towards a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly ways of living would soon enough change national tactics. And what is the world but a community?