A group of 18 concerned global citizens representing several countries plus Palestine (including Bethlehem & Al-Quds Universities) met on short notice (emergency) Saturday 24 August 2019 to decide what our local and global response should be regarding the fast paced environmental Nakba (catastrophe) that is engulfing our planet including fires in the Amazon & many countries run by politicians driven by greed and unconcerned for human values or the environment. A brief outline of the problems (5 minutes) from Prof. Qumsiyeh was followed by a very fruitful discussion with concrete outcomes over nearly 2 hours.
Our Goal is to achieve Sustainable Human Communities and Sustainable Natural Communities. Why?
1- Nature provides us with health: physical (food, adaptation, developing our immune system, clean air) and psychological (documented importance of plants and natural environment important for development of children and adults)
2- Economic sustainability (with environmental sustainability as well)
3- For future generations we need conservation (we inherited a beautiful planet we should guard it)
4- Aesthetic value
6- Justice (to humans and living things). This is also part of popular resistance.
7- Many other reasons
We agreed to develop a network called Palestine Action for the Planet (PAP) whose idea is to “Think Globally, Act locally” and “Work locally, Achieve Globally” in areas of environmental conservation. This is not a new organization or NGO but is intended to be an informal group of like-minded people representing all organizations and individuals concerned for the future of our planet. We also agreed to approach and be part of other groups on the ground locally (like PENGON) and globally (like Extinction Rebellion – ER). Individuals were assigned tasks to do (e.g. Zena will contact to join ER)
The first ten issues that PAP will take-up:
1- Challenge Zionist, colonialist ,and imperialist actions locally and globally while promoting indigenous people with sustainable communities on the ground (native people can protect their areas).
2- Maximize the usage of traditions and cultural heritage (it’s more eco-friendly and more effective)
3- Use and develop alternative energy to fossil fuels (e.g. walking, cycling, biogas, solar energy)
4- Reduce and then eliminate all plastic usage
5- Reduce solid wastes and increase/intensify programs for recycling, reusing, and upcycling (including composting organic waste).
6- Increase forestation (with native trees) and decrease burnings and cutting of trees
7- Decrease and move towards eliminating all packaging (e.g. use baskets for shopping, recycled bags made from used clothes to sell dresses etc)
8- Proper and conservative use of water and move towards eliminating liquid waste
9- Deal with human over-population (including family counseling)
10- Reduce/eliminate meat consumption (vegetarian diets are healthier) and enhance food security (e.g. via permaculture)
1- Universities: include above mentioned issues within curricula and graduation projects, we will meet with universities presidents to raise these issues up, encourage university students, staff, and faculty to take action (e.g.: start a plastic removal campaign in Bethlehem University)
2- Schools: e.g.: work with environmental clubs at schools
3- Local Governments: meet with local municipalities to enforce local laws? (e.g.: shopping with reusable bags, reduce wastes –discuss waste dump in Bethlehem and Hebron area)
4- National government: meet with relevant bodies (e.g. Ministry of Education)
5- Media campaigns: use social media, TV shows, Radios etc.
6- Networking globally and locally: approach all relevant NGOs and parties to be part of PAP