What you need to be worried about.

So Benyamin Netanyahu praised the role of the Palestinian Civil Defense for their role in fighting Mount Carmel Forest fire. In Lebanon, each now and then, our green burns for known and unknown reasons. How come Israelis and Palestinians, despite their historical conflict, agree on a common objective and action, whereas our government is still without a policy to prevent forests fire. (Merci Mr. Courson,* and sorry for the plagiarism.) *See Appendix.

Our government is busy setting up National Committees and Dialogue Tables. Busy discussing big ideas of “ultimate concern.” The Special Tribunal for Lebanon for instance.

How about you worry about the forests burning; how about that? How about we all worry about it, and stop being reactive, but creative instead; how about that?

It rained today, at long last. Do you know why it was not raining much? Elementary, my dear Faheem: because there are less and less trees! Trees are our best friends (merci Léa); without them, no O2, no evaporation, no clouds, no rain, man.

You need the Tree, that’s what you need.

Speaking of solutions. There were forest guards everywhere in Lebanon not so long ago (nâtûr in Arabic, or ma2mûr el 7eresh). Where are they now? Back in the days–until recently I mean–, these forest guards were responsible for everything happening in the forest. Everything. They knew everything about the forest. Everything; who owns this or that piece of land, whose tree this is, who tried to steal his neighbor’s olives, etc. Was there an intruder in the forest? The undesirable person would get fined and be thanked not to wander around anymore. Did a fire erupt? The forest guard would immediately call.

Knowing everything about a forest and being responsible for it was a fully-fledged job, you know.

Where are our forest guards today? FYI, they were/are civil servants–state employees, if you prefer. There used to be many of them. Today, their number has dwindled. Some remain. They still receive a salary, but they’re invisible. It’s because, nowadays, they stay at home, or have another job! And no one knows anything about them. (Except if one crosses their path bel ghalat.)

Back in the days (again), everyone would ask about them to meet them. Now, they’re almost like ghosts: everybody has heard about it, yet no one has ever seen one.

So let’s revive the forest-guardianship again. Easy. There is definitely money for that. Let the school kids and the municipalities (and the qa’imaqa’imiyyat) contribute, while the government dwells on random trivial national matters. That could be a simple first step, before elaborating the policy.

Each municipality should be responsible for its own forest. That’s why, by the way, you should be for decentralization. Less center, more local, more development…

The desert is not a bad thing. It’s part of nature. God created the desert and He thought it was good. But God is allowed to create deserts, not Man. When Man creates the desert, he’s heading straight to hell.


Appendix: The Grass was greener… and it surely can regain its Colors!

by Julien Courson, Tuesday, December 7, 2010.

Now that the Nagging stopped, what shall we do with the consequences left by the fire that ravaged the Lebanese forests? Well, Jim Rohn, one of the greatest business philosophers can help: “If You Don’t Like Where You Are, Change It! You’re Not a Tree!”, tout simplement…

As a first question that needs to be answered, what would be the objective of any PPP (public private partnership) intervention? Reforestation &/or Building a sustainable holistic system to preserve and expand our Green?

I would go for both, with an emergency short term to reforest asap, and to protect what’s remaining, in a way that maximizes the usage of resources we have (human and financial), adopting a multi-stakeholder approach. In other terms, all Lebanese should be engaged in a way or in another, each at his/her level and proportionally to his/her resources (time, money, skills, attitude, etc.).

Most obviously, as a first step, a fast and accurate assessment should be conducted to measure the loss, and identify the needs with regards to the objective already validated. Why not use what happened to:

  • Create a consolidated system to prevent such wide range incidents;
  • Implement projects aiming at involving communities in protecting their environment;
  • Involve youth in their community development (as Georges Bernanos states: “C’est la fièvre de la jeunesse qui la rend la température du monde normale”);
  • Use a common objective to mitigate conflicts between local populations.

Success stories are here, some Lebanese ministries have succeeded earlier in mobilizing and engaging people for a common cause, all we need now is the will, because, as all of us know, when there is a will, there is a way… and when there is no way, let’s find it! Wou heik…

cedar of lebanon tree


Related post: “Why We’re Stupid,” October 21, 2010.

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