THE BLOG

Stop Your Addiction to Middle East Conflict News

Arab uprisings, Iran's uranium enrichment, and flotillas to Gaza: The Middle East always seems to be riddled with conflict, and problems, and sometimes I think that the West is happy to keep the Middle East that way.

It makes for good entertainment. Choose a side, like your favorite baseball or soccer team, and rally for the winner. Israel? Palestine? Cyprus or Greece? Iran, Iraq, the Kurds or the Turks? Conflict and war, as long as it's somewhere else, makes for interesting entertainment. Because I live in the Middle East, in IsraeI, I can say the sensationalistic elements of the news in America usually over-rides the reality.

So little reporting is done on the dire environmental problems in the Middle East that it makes me want to cry. These are the real problems the world's leaders should be focusing on. These are problems that can be solved, and in so doing can mitigate the conflict issues along the way. Water, food security, energy independence, environmental education, lack of innovation and green laws, and lack of reporting on green issues in the Middle East are some of the main problems I see.

If you care about our planet, and the welfare of the people on it, start getting addicted to our common problems. They are not Gaza's problems, they are not Yemen's problems, they are not the problems of only Lebanon. Here are some of this week's green news headlines from the Middle East. Some are uplifting like a honeycomb solar collector for double glass pane winders; others are informative like the truth behind snake charming in Morocco.

Solar honeycombs: Many governments worldwide now require double pane glass in windows for energy efficiency. But what if, sandwiched between the two panes of glass, instead of merely a substance that helps to conserve energy, there was also an actual energy generator? That is the ingenious energy innovation supplied by Israel's SolarOr, which was on display at this month's Intersolar event at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Sandwiched between the two panes, SolarOr inserts tiny faceted solar photovoltaic cells facing the sky at the top of a honeycomb inside the glass. Read more about SolarOr's honeycomb windows »

Snake charmers? Drugged, underfed, with their tongues tied? Snake charming might look mystical and exciting but it's a dirty business. From Morocco, undercover, Tafline reports on the ugly business of snake charming. Read more on the not-so charming business of snake charming »

Live in a beehive: As war and conflict tear through Syria, we take a look at the ancient earthen beehive-shaped houses on the edge of the country which have been wowing visitors for centuries. Their iconic shape and eco-friendly architecture is definitely something which needs to be celebrated time and time again. Read about Syria's beehive architecture »

Read more green headlines from the Middle East:
Egypt launches 110 MW solar-natural gas power plant »
Lebanon fights for natural gas rights - challenging Israel's stake »
Feasting on fair trade during Ramadan »
Morocco's exploitation of natural resources »

I am always happy to be interviewed about the reality and green problems in the Middle East. You can also send me tips, anonymously, or with a link to your blog or website for credit. Email Middle East news tips to contact@greenprophet.com, with Tip in the subject line.

Karin Kloosterman is the founder and editor of Green Prophet, the only Middle East news bureau addicted to covering green news.