Happy World Environment Day! (De)Connecting People to Nature?

Published June 5th, 2017 - 09:15 GMT

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“Connecting People to nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator“ is the theme of this year's World Environment Day.

Have a look at different environmental challenges facing the MENA region and check out the technological innovations and mega projects by which countries have tried to address them. Are we (de)-connecting?

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Water scarcity is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the MENA region. Home to around 5% of the world’s population, it has just 1% of the world’s renewable water resources. Water scarcity is expected to worsen as a result of population growth and climate change, creating serious challenges for satisfying increasing demand.
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10Water scarcity is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the MENA region. Home to around 5% of the world’s population, it has just 1% of the world’s renewable water resources. Water scarcity is expected to worsen as a result of population growth and climate change, creating serious challenges for satisfying increasing demand.

(Source: File photo)

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If you would still like to visit this unique eco-system, hurry up! The Dead Sea has lost over a third of its water surface over the past two decades, caused by water diversion from the Jordan river. To halt its disappearance, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to the $1.1bn Read-Dead project.
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10If you would still like to visit this unique eco-system, hurry up! The Dead Sea has lost over a third of its water surface over the past two decades, caused by water diversion from the Jordan river. To halt its disappearance, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to the $1.1bn Read-Dead project.

(Source: Earthables)

Enlarge
Jordan river a la Maqluba: The Read-Dead pipeline will pump water from the Red into the Dead Sea. The project is expected to be completed by 2021. However, environmentalists have warned that the Dead Sea might turn white as a result and have raised concerns about the project's effectiveness in preventing the Dead Sea’s disappearance.
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10Jordan river a la Maqluba: The Read-Dead pipeline will pump water from the Red into the Dead Sea. The project is expected to be completed by 2021. However, environmentalists have warned that the Dead Sea might turn white as a result and have raised concerns about the project's effectiveness in preventing the Dead Sea’s disappearance.

(Source: File photo)

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The MENA region is a leader in generating drinking water through desalination and accounts for 44 percent of the world wide use of desalinated water. Yet, while solving one, desalination creates its own problems. The plants consume a high amount of energy and the water lacks important minerals.
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Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10The MENA region is a leader in generating drinking water through desalination and accounts for 44 percent of the world wide use of desalinated water. Yet, while solving one, desalination creates its own problems. The plants consume a high amount of energy and the water lacks important minerals.

(Source: AFP)

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Sunlight is one of the few unlimited resources in the region. High oil prices and an increasing demand have led governments to switch to solar energy. It has become an important alternative particularly for energy importing countries such as Morocco or Jordan. Morocco aims to achieve 42% of its energy generation from renewable sources by 2020.
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Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10Sunlight is one of the few unlimited resources in the region. High oil prices and an increasing demand have led governments to switch to solar energy. It has become an important alternative particularly for energy importing countries such as Morocco or Jordan. Morocco aims to achieve 42% of its energy generation from renewable sources by 2020.

(Source: File photo)

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Enjoy your Mansaf before it is too late. Food production has been lacking behind the growing demand especially for vegetable oils, sugar and meat. Arable land per capita is the lowest in the world and climate change threatens to further increase food insecurity as temperatures are expected to rise from 1 to 5 C relative to 1986 and 2005.
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Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10Enjoy your Mansaf before it is too late. Food production has been lacking behind the growing demand especially for vegetable oils, sugar and meat. Arable land per capita is the lowest in the world and climate change threatens to further increase food insecurity as temperatures are expected to rise from 1 to 5 C relative to 1986 and 2005.

(Source: AFP)

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This is how the solution might look like, a forest in the desert, surrounded by a sea of solar panels, providing a combination of greenhouses for food production and technologies for revegetation. The Sahara Forest Project's first pilot facility was built in Qatar and another one is expected to be operational in Aqaba by 2017.
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Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10This is how the solution might look like, a forest in the desert, surrounded by a sea of solar panels, providing a combination of greenhouses for food production and technologies for revegetation. The Sahara Forest Project's first pilot facility was built in Qatar and another one is expected to be operational in Aqaba by 2017.

(Source: Test-center-Jordan)

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And what about growing our crops in the sky if we do not have sufficient arable land? Dubai might consider building vertical farms, such as the Oasis Tower designed by Rahul Surin. Run by solar energy, this tower could produce enough food for 40,000 people.
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Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10And what about growing our crops in the sky if we do not have sufficient arable land? Dubai might consider building vertical farms, such as the Oasis Tower designed by Rahul Surin. Run by solar energy, this tower could produce enough food for 40,000 people.

(Source: File photo)

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Fresh air in cities can be costly, but the Dubai municipality considers it worth the investment. Dh500 million will be spend on the first Air Quality Strategy of its kind, with the goal to be one of the world’s cities with the best air quality by 2021.
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Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10Fresh air in cities can be costly, but the Dubai municipality considers it worth the investment. Dh500 million will be spend on the first Air Quality Strategy of its kind, with the goal to be one of the world’s cities with the best air quality by 2021.

(Source: AFP)

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Carbon neutral cities could be another solution to the environmental challenges faced in the region. The El Gouna city on Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera is set to become the first carbon neutral city in the country, using energy from windmills, electric cars, running a recycling plant and a wastewater management system and growing local food.
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Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Carbon neutral cities could be another solution to the environmental challenges faced in the region. The El Gouna city on Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera is set to become the first carbon neutral city in the country, using energy from windmills, electric cars, running a recycling plant and a wastewater management system and growing local food.

(Source: Shutterstock)

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1

Water scarcity is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the MENA region. Home to around 5% of the world’s population, it has just 1% of the world’s renewable water resources. Water scarcity is expected to worsen as a result of population growth and climate change, creating serious challenges for satisfying increasing demand.

Image 1 of 10Water scarcity is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the MENA region. Home to around 5% of the world’s population, it has just 1% of the world’s renewable water resources. Water scarcity is expected to worsen as a result of population growth and climate change, creating serious challenges for satisfying increasing demand.

(Source: File photo)

2

If you would still like to visit this unique eco-system, hurry up! The Dead Sea has lost over a third of its water surface over the past two decades, caused by water diversion from the Jordan river. To halt its disappearance, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to the $1.1bn Read-Dead project.

Image 2 of 10If you would still like to visit this unique eco-system, hurry up! The Dead Sea has lost over a third of its water surface over the past two decades, caused by water diversion from the Jordan river. To halt its disappearance, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to the $1.1bn Read-Dead project.

(Source: Earthables)

3

Jordan river a la Maqluba: The Read-Dead pipeline will pump water from the Red into the Dead Sea. The project is expected to be completed by 2021. However, environmentalists have warned that the Dead Sea might turn white as a result and have raised concerns about the project's effectiveness in preventing the Dead Sea’s disappearance.

Image 3 of 10Jordan river a la Maqluba: The Read-Dead pipeline will pump water from the Red into the Dead Sea. The project is expected to be completed by 2021. However, environmentalists have warned that the Dead Sea might turn white as a result and have raised concerns about the project's effectiveness in preventing the Dead Sea’s disappearance.

(Source: File photo)

4

The MENA region is a leader in generating drinking water through desalination and accounts for 44 percent of the world wide use of desalinated water. Yet, while solving one, desalination creates its own problems. The plants consume a high amount of energy and the water lacks important minerals.

Image 4 of 10The MENA region is a leader in generating drinking water through desalination and accounts for 44 percent of the world wide use of desalinated water. Yet, while solving one, desalination creates its own problems. The plants consume a high amount of energy and the water lacks important minerals.

(Source: AFP)

5

Sunlight is one of the few unlimited resources in the region. High oil prices and an increasing demand have led governments to switch to solar energy. It has become an important alternative particularly for energy importing countries such as Morocco or Jordan. Morocco aims to achieve 42% of its energy generation from renewable sources by 2020.

Image 5 of 10Sunlight is one of the few unlimited resources in the region. High oil prices and an increasing demand have led governments to switch to solar energy. It has become an important alternative particularly for energy importing countries such as Morocco or Jordan. Morocco aims to achieve 42% of its energy generation from renewable sources by 2020.

(Source: File photo)

6

Enjoy your Mansaf before it is too late. Food production has been lacking behind the growing demand especially for vegetable oils, sugar and meat. Arable land per capita is the lowest in the world and climate change threatens to further increase food insecurity as temperatures are expected to rise from 1 to 5 C relative to 1986 and 2005.

Image 6 of 10Enjoy your Mansaf before it is too late. Food production has been lacking behind the growing demand especially for vegetable oils, sugar and meat. Arable land per capita is the lowest in the world and climate change threatens to further increase food insecurity as temperatures are expected to rise from 1 to 5 C relative to 1986 and 2005.

(Source: AFP)

7

This is how the solution might look like, a forest in the desert, surrounded by a sea of solar panels, providing a combination of greenhouses for food production and technologies for revegetation. The Sahara Forest Project's first pilot facility was built in Qatar and another one is expected to be operational in Aqaba by 2017.

Image 7 of 10This is how the solution might look like, a forest in the desert, surrounded by a sea of solar panels, providing a combination of greenhouses for food production and technologies for revegetation. The Sahara Forest Project's first pilot facility was built in Qatar and another one is expected to be operational in Aqaba by 2017.

(Source: Test-center-Jordan)

8

And what about growing our crops in the sky if we do not have sufficient arable land? Dubai might consider building vertical farms, such as the Oasis Tower designed by Rahul Surin. Run by solar energy, this tower could produce enough food for 40,000 people.

Image 8 of 10And what about growing our crops in the sky if we do not have sufficient arable land? Dubai might consider building vertical farms, such as the Oasis Tower designed by Rahul Surin. Run by solar energy, this tower could produce enough food for 40,000 people.

(Source: File photo)

9

Fresh air in cities can be costly, but the Dubai municipality considers it worth the investment. Dh500 million will be spend on the first Air Quality Strategy of its kind, with the goal to be one of the world’s cities with the best air quality by 2021.

Image 9 of 10Fresh air in cities can be costly, but the Dubai municipality considers it worth the investment. Dh500 million will be spend on the first Air Quality Strategy of its kind, with the goal to be one of the world’s cities with the best air quality by 2021.

(Source: AFP)

10

Carbon neutral cities could be another solution to the environmental challenges faced in the region. The El Gouna city on Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera is set to become the first carbon neutral city in the country, using energy from windmills, electric cars, running a recycling plant and a wastewater management system and growing local food.

Image 10 of 10Carbon neutral cities could be another solution to the environmental challenges faced in the region. The El Gouna city on Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera is set to become the first carbon neutral city in the country, using energy from windmills, electric cars, running a recycling plant and a wastewater management system and growing local food.

(Source: Shutterstock)

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