Fully Realizing Earth Day in Kuwait from a Bottom-Up Approach

1. Get the newspapers more involved. 

While upcoming parlimentiary elections seem to dominate the speaking points of the two newspapers I read daily (Al-Watan Daily and Kuwait Times, if you have suggestions for other English-language Kuwaiti newspapers as well I am all ears), I saw no mention today of Earth Day.  Perhaps tomorrow coverage will be discussed about an event that occured after the fact, but there could be greater journalist initiative on this matter.

2. Clean up the beaches.
The other day I waded in the beach near Marina Waves and discovered a giant, floating fish tail.  I put up a picture on this blog a month ago of an oil barrel beached on the shoreline of an area full of private chalets.  If even the backyard beach areas of private chalets are completely littered, what does this say of our ability to look after public beaches in Kuwait?  A serious drive should occur to teach people to clean up after themselves.

3. Fine littering.
Perhaps a naive goal, such as the idea to penalize cell-phone users on the road, but not a completely unfeasible one-particularly in more sensitive areas, such as valuable green spaces (which are VERY costly to maintain and require sums of money and liters of water) and beaches.

4. Greater Recycling Campaigns.
Luckily in my apartment complex, there is a recycling program that started up some months back.  However, I think it might be a college student's pet project rather than a legitimate and long-lasting program.  The flyer that informed us of the program when it first started up does not mention any ministry or even private enterprise that is leading the program.  Thus, I have no idea who comes to pick up the recycled materials nor with which frequency they empty the containers.  Also even well-meant programs have some cracks.  For example, with the one in my building, the containers for the recycled materials are made out of cardboard boxes....after a few months of half-rinsed plastic models, I do not know how well these cartons can last.

5. Education, education, education.
The most important element in adopting a citizen-approach to creating change is that everyone has to pitch in and see the value, especially referring to the environment and the tragedy of the commons.  Violators need to be shamed, scolded and singled out a little bit, while those who care and make a positive effort should be somehow rewarded just a little bit in order to equaly spread the norm among this country's residents.  This needs to be done in schools, within families and in the office place-starting from a young age, but continuing through formative adult learning years such as high school and college.  

This little post does not attempt to try to discuss the corporate social responsibility of the petroleum multinationals here in Kuwait, nor politicians' and ministers' duties to foster great environmental sustainability in Kuwait.

On a good note, I have seen a fair amount of initiative among many Kuwaitis, particularly a subgroup of many young people here, who care deeply about issues of ecological sustainability and developing green approaches to development (just look at the turnout for Reuse 2.0 or read en.v magazine).  The problem is that the stigma of linking polluting to being a bad fellow citizen must be more greatly diffused.  This has to start on a grassroots level, can't be reserved to a fringe and must be likewise supported by government programs and direction.

On a final note, I look forward and sincerely hope that there will be some press coverage tomorrow of Earth Day celebrations in Kuwait.  On verra, on verra.

0 Responses on "Fully Realizing Earth Day in Kuwait from a Bottom-Up Approach"