Welcoming the American Women of Jordan
EcoPeace Middle East acts through change, and one of the greatest tools for change is education. We are unlikely to change our behaviours unless we understand why, so EcoPeace has always tried to be open and objective in providing information on the environmental reality within our region. Understanding that water was a key issue for Jordan, “American Women of Amman” contacted us to gain some insight into the water, and for some guidance in what they can do to help.
On the 6th of April, 2015, Ms. Yana Abu Taleb, deputy director of EcoPeace in Amman met with the American Women of Jordan for a presentation on water reality. In the presentation, Ms. Abu Taleb explained how freshwater is not equally distributed across our planet, and that Jordan is one of the world’s most water poor countries. Despite this, Jordan has managed to achieve one of the highest levels of sanitation in the Middle East and North Africa region, and can generally achieve the World Health Organisations recommended volumes of 100 litres of water per capita per day, though their ability to do so is falling. The tough job of the Ministry for Water was explained, and how their past reliance on groundwater sources has had to change, as it led to overharvesting, taking water from the environment faster than it can be replaced.
The ways in which the national water deficit was being reduced were explained: Prevention of water regulation infringements, expanding the use of treated wastewater, improving agriculture practices and efficiency of water use in food production, education of the community to reduce water waste, and cooperating with others to find sustainable solutions for water resources in Jordan.
After explaining EcoPeace’s role in campaigning, scientific research, and education in the community, Ms. Abu Taleb highlighted the following action points to increase water security: have the courage to speak out on water issues that matter to you, become more water aware so more water can be saved, and prevent climate change, which will safeguard our water resources for the future.
This talk was followed up by inviting the American Women of Amman to visit the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark on April 22nd 2015. Here they were able to see first-hand the multiple benefits of conserving water. Led by the Park Director, Mr. Abdul Rahman Sultan, they were given a tour of the park and its facilities. The EcoPark protects many of the ecosystem functions that would have been lost had the area been developed less sympathetically, or converted to agricultural use. The park gives space for nature, to maintain biodiversity; it regulates our atmosphere by the plants that grow there, and prevents soil run off and degradation as it limits grazing to manageable levels. Wetland areas are fantastic ecosystem service providers as they can assimilate wastes and pollutants, stopping them from damaging other ecosystems. The benefits to the local people must not be forgotten – the natural aesthetics provided by the park can lift the spirits, and the recreational opportunities for picnicking, walking and biking are very much enjoyed.
We thank the American Women of Jordan for inviting us to speak with them. We hope that they felt welcome on their visit to Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark, and that we will see them again there soon. Finally, we hope they have been given the tools to save water, and be the creators of change for the benefit of all.
This post is contributed by EcoPeace’s Intern Helen Wilkinson at the Amman Office