Human Concern International Youth Action Program has teamed up with Amel Youth to host a unique initiative to raise awareness of environmental issues in the Middle East.
Paint the Town Green is a boat cruise that will host dinner and entertainment while sailing up the Ottawa River. This fundraiser will support a tree plantation project in Lebanon and will work towards improving the environment and living conditions in the Middle East.
This initiative has been youth-driven as both organizations felt that more could be done to improve the natural environment in Lebanon. Tree-planting was chosen as the preferred project because it tackled both air pollution and the urban heat effect whose impacts are compounded from a lack of tree cover within the cities.
Lebanon suffers from having an extremely low forest canopy and ground level pollutants such as particulates, ozone and nitrogen oxides are a reoccurring problem in the predominantly mountainous country. Part of the issue stems from the dependency on cars as the primary form of transit, with the transportation sector consuming approximately 45% of the total petroleum products imported into the country. Daily-motorized trips within the Beirut area alone are expected to reach 5 million by 2015 while the total suspended particulate concentration in the air exceeds safe levels by as much as four times.
There has been impetus for change though.
A 2010 Pew Global Attitudes survey found that Lebanon ranked third at 71% in the world in terms of the percentage of citizens who believe climate change is a very serious problem, up from 41% in 2007. Seventy percent also indicated that they were willing to protect the environment even if it slows growth and costs jobs. This project builds upon a growing sentiment within the country that protecting the environment is crucial to securing the country’s future.
Depending on the feedback received from this initiative, the Youth Action Program will be looking at forming future partnerships with other non-governmental organizations to promote environmental projects and awareness throughout the Middle East.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit Paint the Town Green.