Book Review: Charting the path toward a greener Middle East

The book is nine chapters long. (Shutterstock)
Updated 30 December 2018
0

Book Review: Charting the path toward a greener Middle East

  • Ali Keblawi provides a comprehensive assessment of the problems and challenges linked to the process of greening arid Gulf landscapes
  • This book is a must-read for students, scholars, environmental activists and ecologists

BEIRUT: “Environmental Politics in the Middle East” examines the correlation between political forces and ecology, or environmental factors, in the region and how these are connected to the global economy.

Editor Harry Verhoeven categorically rejects any form of separation between the Middle East‘s ecological trajectory and its political and socioeconomic history. In fact, he reiterates the importance of studying environmental issues in order to understand “the myriad political and socio-economic hopes, illusions and problems of its inhabitants.”

In the opening chapter of the book, which is nine chapters long, author and professor Jeannie Sowers examines the effect of environmental constraints on public health across the Middle East and North Africa region.

With only one percent of the world’s freshwater resources, the Middle East is one of the driest places on earth. As such, water resources in the region are being exhausted faster than they can be replenished. The book examines the need for critical action to enhance greater water security.

Ali Keblawi, a professor of environmental science and plant ecology at the University of Sharjah, provides a comprehensive assessment of the problems and challenges linked to the process of greening arid Gulf landscapes.

In particular, his denunciation of the use of exotic species that are used for urban landscaping instead of planting native desert plants is long overdue. Many studies show that ornamental plants popular for their aesthetic value are not adapted to the local climate and consume large amounts of water and depend on synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides for growth.

Keblawi also highlights the fact that desalination plants consume vast amounts of energy, as most of the region’s generators still depend on non-renewable fossil fuels despite the fact that solar energy can be produced in unlimited quantities.

As Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the two largest producers of desalinated water in the Middle East, he argues that using solar energy to produce a third of the country’s electricity would free up some 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

This book, which was just made available in paperback, is a must-read for students, scholars, environmental activists and ecologists.


The Six: Oscars red carpet rewind

Emma Stone at the 2015 Academy Awards. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
0

The Six: Oscars red carpet rewind

DUBAI: We recount some of our favorite Arab-designed gowns to grace the Oscars’ red carpet.

Halle Berry

Berry made history in 2002 when she became the first black woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress. She wore a now iconic Elie Saab burgundy gown with a see-through corset and floral detailing for the occasion.

Jennifer Lopez

Lopez presented at the 2012 ceremony and turned heads in a beautiful white Zuhair Murad dress embellished with sequins and featuring a plunging neckline and figure-hugging cut.  

Lady Gaga

Always one to shine, Lady Gaga showed up to the 2015 show wearing a white Azzedine Alaia dress with red dishwashing gloves.

Emma Stone

Stone wore a beautiful green-hued Elie Saab gown to the 2015 ceremony. The embellishments, cut and fall of the fabric made the dress a whimsical and dreamy number to remember.

Jenna Dewan

At the 2014 awards show, Dewan wore a mermaid style Reem Acra gown that was tight fitting and embellished with feathers and sequins.

Chrissy Teigen

The always elegant Teigen wore a white Zuhair Murad dress with a high split to the 2017 ceremony show. The gown featured metallic detailing and a gold belt to cinch in the waist.