“Everyone can be a leader of environmental change, by motivating others and setting an example”,” stated Dheaya Alrousan, chairman of Green Generation Foundation (GGF), a non-profit organisation advocating for environment preservation.
Registered under the umbrella of the Environment Ministry, the GGF aims to foster a “new green generation” to help solve environmental and climate issues through various activities and projects.
“We train people to become environmental leaders at their own scale. There are practical solutions that can be implemented on a daily basis which help in lessening the global crisis”,” Alrousan told The Jordan Times over the phone, noting that the foundation aims at teaching young Jordanians to become more aware of their environment through education and advocacy.
Focusing on youth mobilisation, the foundation was set up in 2011 by Ahmad Alnobani who gathered fellow students at the Hashemite University under the name “HU Greeners”.
“My journey as an environmental activist started when I went to California as part of the USAID programme ‘Leader in global environmental issues’. This was a real eye-opener about all the initiatives that exist and, when I came back to Jordan, I felt a responsibility to do something similar”,” Alnobani told The Jordan Times.
“We started off by carrying out a number of projects that were both simple and innovative”,” said the 27-year-old, citing the “Green Walls project” that saw the implementation of a vertical garden bottle system at various locations to promote greenery in urban areas, the “Bring your own Cup” campaign that sought to reduce daily waste created by disposable cups at university, and the “Green Maps” project promoting Mahes in northwestern Amman as a green city.
“The students used these small daily steps to show people they can bring about great changes; and that you don’t need to be a global leader to make a difference”,” Alrousan said.
A number of awareness-raising initiatives targeted at a wider audience were also organised to spread knowledge and social conscience on the issue of climate change, including the “Regional Day of Action” and the “Environmental Open Days”, which both used cultural and artistic techniques like street theatre, cinema and fashion shows to convey their message.
“The Regional Day was a huge event that we held in parallel with other countries in the region”,” Alnobani recalled, noting that they used creative forms of expression to attract large numbers of people.
“You cannot only talk to people, this won’t have an impact. You need to make them involved so they react and feel useful”,” the founder continued.
Three years ago, the Green Generation Foundation was officially established as an NGO, with the aim of increasing its visibility and impact through partnerships with major institutions.
These include the Arab Youth Climate Movement, the Climate action network — Arab World and the Climate action network International, according to the chairman.
“It is important to show the world that youth in Jordan are well aware of climate change and are part of the world’s movement to combat it”,” said Alrousan highlighting the importance to shed light on the highly vulnerable areas in Jordan such as the Dead Sea, Mujib Biosphere Reserve, Fifa and Dana Nature reserves.
Widening its audience to other generations, the GGF recently partnered with the Dahiyat Al Hussein schoolchildren to create the Permanent Waste Exhibition launched in October, and has conducted a series of workshops for local communities in 10 governorates.
“We have finished phase one and two with a funding from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung foundation and we hope to launch a third phase next year to cover the rest of the Kingdom’s governorates”,” Alrousan said, adding that the project seeks to empower local communities by spreading knowledge on various environment-related issues such as political negotiations, gender awareness and the role of women in climate change.
The GGF is scheduled to hold a nationwide Climate March on November 2, under the theme “You have a print, make it green” that will last for five days, going from Balqa to Aqaba.
“When it comes to the environment, it is crucial to show the example first, and to promote simple behaviours like walking rather than using your car to reduce carbon emissions”,” the chairman concluded, voicing his hope for a large participation in the upcoming march.
Jordan, which has officially recognised climate change as “a serious and pervasive threat to humanity” through an assessment report by its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has been implementing a comprehensive national policy for climate change in 2013, scheduled to run through 2020.
It aims to “strengthen Jordan’s capacity to respond to the detrimental impacts of climate change” and to “strengthen Jordan’s global stewardship in addressing options to reduce emissions while achieving sound and sustainable developmental objectives in the various sectors of energy, according to a statement by the Ministry of Environment.