The United Arab Emirates has now become a very popular holiday destination, boasting dry, hot weather for much of the year. Although the climate may be appealing to tourists, the United Arab Emirates has much more to offer than sun, sand and sunbathing.
1. Natural Attractions
As well as the modern, built up cities, the United Arab Emirates also has stunning natural landscapes. If you visit the Liwa Oasis, you will have the opportunity to take a walk or a camel ride and visit the restored fort.
Wildlife lovers may enjoy a visit to Sharjah, which is home to a variety of endemic animals to the Arabian peninsula such as the Arabian leopard, oryx, foxes and mongooses. The Desert Park at Sharjah has more than one thousand species of animals. Sharjah is also a wonderful location for diving, with warm waters that boast coral reefs and colorful marine life.
The United Arab Emirates is a great location for bird watching, with species including kites, falcons and owls, as well as more than two hundred and fifty species of small bird.
Although best known for the shopping facilities and sandy beaches, the United Arab Emirates also has a lot to offer in the way of cultural attractions. Dubai Museum, which was opened in 1971, is home to collections which teach visitors about the Dubai way of life. Exhibits include antique cannons, pearl fishing boats and displays of archaeological and historical significance.
The archaeological site at Julfar is worth a visit for those who are interested in the history of the area. The site consists of the remains of a former port city which dates back to the Middles Ages, with buildings including a fort, royal palaces and a mosque.
If you enjoy relaxing on the beach, you will find plenty of options in the United Arab Emirates. Even beaches with Blue Flags – the eco standard. The coastline of Dubai has various public beaches, some of which provide facilities such as sun loungers and multi-coloured beach parasols. There are also areas on some beaches where you can take part in a multitude of sports activities, which include beach volleyball and football.
Many of the beaches are close to amenities such as bars and restaurants, so you will be able to find somewhere to get refreshments. When it comes to culinary wonders that tickle the palate, the restaurants in Dubai definitely won’t be found wanting. Here you’ll find various dishes from different cuisines, ranging from fast food and bar chow to gourmet Arabic cuisine, all these are readily available.
There is much to see and do in the United Arab Emirates, whatever your interests. You can spend the day relaxing on the beach, browsing the shops or you can go diving or take a camel ride through the lush oasis. There should be something to suit even the most discriminating of green tastes!
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), the electric car company founded by Elon Musk, will be releasings its earnings statement next week and call it kismet or good planning, but Tesla has more good news: its partner Mobileye (NYSE:MBLY), the company that will be giving it driverless technology, said it will open on the New York Stock Exchange this week, with shares ranging between $17 and $19 each.
Want to buy into Tesla’s technology through the back door? The Israeli company is offering 27.8 million shares in a deal valued around $499.5 million. A Tesla spokesperson reportedly revealed nothing about the partnership other than it is “a business relationship.”
Mobileye makes technology that alerts people of an incoming accident. Its software around since 1999 is in use widely in Israel by taxi drivers there, and according to Silicon Beat, Mobileye expects its technology will be available in 160 different kinds of cars from 18 different global automakers by the end of this year.
Mobileye’s technology detects pedestrians and lets drivers know if they have left their lanes or about to collide with something.
Green lovers the world over are rooting for Tesla, about to reveal its earnings report – covering its gigafactory and busiess in China.
Tesla wants to have driverless tech in its cars by 2016 and some say that the Israeli tech will be the secret weapon.
Driverless cars are gaining publicity since Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) started working on them. These kinds of cars are the future – in a world with less emissions and accidents. We are rooting for Tesla.
When we first presented the solar-powered woven refugee shelters that have now been seen all across the world, many people suggested they’d also make great festival tents. Well, now we’re wondering the opposite. Could these B-and-Bee shelters designed for Belgium festivals provide temporary housing for refugees in the Middle East?
The answer is probably not. And here’s why.
Refugee shelters need to be super lightweight, cheap, and easy to transport. They also need to provide security – women and children are particularly vulnerable in sprawling refugee camps. In fact, major humanitarian aid organizations have published long lists of criteria that need to be observed in order for a structure to fit their needs.
So from this perspective, the stackable honeycomb hives are only barely suitable. They’re not very lightweight, parts have to be assembled with a crane, according to Dezeen, and they aren’t very secure. Festivals are by nature social events, so one goes there expecting to keep their social environment open and flexible.
In a situation where hundreds or thousands of people have unwillingly come together because of political or environmental situations outside of their control, however, every person is desperate for some peace, quiet, and privacy - even though these things seem to be scarce at present.
The last thing they need is to have someone stomping up and down the metal stairs in front of their tiny cells.
Granted, the cells are very spacious – each has a king-sized bed. And they’re flexible, well-lit, and well-ventilated, which are also essential ingredients for refugee housing. So major score there. Plus the larch wood-clad cubbies have light and lockers.
The fact that the bed can be used as a couch – the idea being that small groups of people can get together even apart from the action – will be less attractive to aid organizations or refugees than young festival goers. Seriously though, this is great, thoughtful design.
Compaan and Labeur first entered their conceptual Honeycomb Hotel into an innovation competition that they went on to win. The inventors Inventors Barbara Vanthorre and Ron Hermans then hooked up with Achilles Design and One Small Step to transform the original concept into something appropriate for festivals.
In order to do that, they did a great deal of research not only to determine the needs of festival organizers, but also to get a sense of what would best fit the needs and desires of a crowd of fun-loving revelers. This is especially geared towards the crowd that aren’t so much into tents.
There is a serious element to the design as well. The cells create job opportunities for people in Belgium who could really use some. Who knows? Perhaps when the group scale up production of their prototypes, six of which were recently tested at the Gentse Feesten in Belgium.
Not great news for mothers-to-be who live in cement-enroaching cities like Beirut: according to a new study pregnant women living near green urban spaces will deliver babies with higher birth weights. Time to start planting trees?
The new research from Israel and Spain entitled “Green Spaces and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes” was published in the journal, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
The team of researchers including those from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev looked at 40,000 live birth records in Tel Aviv, Israel to determine how green space can influence birth and babies: “We found that that overall, an increase of surrounding greenery near the home was associated with a significant increase of birth weight and decreased risk for low birth weight,” says Prof. Michael Friger, of BGU’s Department of Public Health.
“This was the first study outside of the United States and Europe demonstrating associations between greenery and birth weight, as well as the first to report the association with low birth weight.”
An analysis of neighborhood socioeconomics also revealed that the lowest birth weight occurred in the most economically deprived areas with lack of access to green spaces.
What are green spaces? They are parks, community gardens or even cemeteries – places defined as land that is partly or completely covered with grass, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation.
“The application of remote sensing data on surrounding green areas enabled our study to take small-scale green spaces (eg, street trees and green verges) into account, while the OpenStreetMap data determined the major green spaces,” Friger explains.
The Israel Environment and Health Fund supported the study.
Now all you pregnant green girls out there. Go outside and hug a tree. With your hands, or mind.
Image of pregnant woman from Shutterstock
Two credible scientific datasets are suggesting that Earth, like George Clooney or Elle MacPherson, is getting hotter with age. Buckle your seat-belts and let the Climate Change debate begin!
The past three months were collectively the warmest ever experienced since record-keeping began in the late 19th Century. The Japan Meteorological Agency, which has been tracking global temperatures since 1891, reported that April, May and June nabbed individual titles as the warmest-ever of those months on record – and, when considered together – they also represent the planet’s hottest quarter year .
Bear in mind, this isn’t just saying that these temps are the highest in the past 123 years. We don’t have records predating 1891 – so, theoretically, these could be the peaks of the past 1,230 or 123,000 years!The agency states that the quarterly average was about 0.68 degrees Celsius (1.22 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th-century average. Hardly enough to ruin your summer vacation, but the knock-on to worldwide weather and climate events is arguably significant.
As reported by tech website Future Slate,”abnormally warm ocean water helped spawn the earliest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in North Carolina, and a rash of heat waves have plagued cities from India to California to the Middle East.” Additional heat is being produced by a building El Niño emerging in the Pacific, and, for this time of year, Arctic sea ice is trending near record lows.
Don’t put much stock in the Japanese data? NASA also released its monthly global temperature numbers for June. Using different calculation methods, NASA arrived at nearly identical results (June 2014 dropped to third all-time third warmest, and April was tied for second).
At the same time, these agencies report that in April, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reached a monthly average of 400 parts per million for the first time in at least 800,000 years.
A “weird science” coincidence that this data is concurrent with Hollywood blockbusters “Godzilla” and “Noah”? Are the numbers (and the conclusions drawn) just fear-mongering and quackery? Or rational indicators that we need to quickly clean up our post-industrial behavior?
We can argue, or we can act.
Allergic to home improvement? Here’s an easy DIY chore you shouldn’t sneeze at. It will clean your air, increase its “coolness”, and save you buckets of money to boot. Change your air conditioner filters!
Amman, Jordan is enjoying a mild summer, but air conditioners (AC) have been buzzing for months. The house teen spotted a sluggishness in her bedroom unit’s performance – the conditioned air is tepid, the mechanical breeze limp. Damn, mom, another broken appliance!?
The engineer husband wearily shakes his head. Unplugs the unit and teaches the kid some basic AC maintenance. Turns out to be embarrassingly easy. And if an attitude-y 16 year old can do it, so can you.
ACs are simple machines, and maintenance is also basic. (Maurice has shown how you can rejigger your units to capture precious condensate and use the water to irrigate houseplants - link here).
The primary way to keep your AC purring like the coolest of cats is to change its filter. Every unit has a removable filter to capture airborne dirt, dust, and here in the Middle East, sand. If filter fibers clog up, air flow is minimized and the unit becomes asthmatic. A wheezing AC is inefficient, meaning you’ll run it longer and consume upwards of 10% more energy.
Here’s the fix:
- Turn off the AC.
- Find the filter:
a. Filters in window and wall-mounted units will be located near the AC front panel, near the vents. Open the panel and slide out the filter. It can look like either of the two images above – or similar.
c. Stumped? Check the user manual or Google the make/model for manufacturer’s guidance.
- Most filters are washable, and can be rinsed with plain water in a sink or tub. Not sure if yours can handle a bath? Then wipe it with a damp rag to remove surface debris. If it’s still dingy, take it to a hardware store and get a replacement.
- Know that filters vary by size, material, and performance. Each is graded on its minimum reporting value (MERV). The higher the MERV rating (a scale of 1 to 12), the more cleaning power it has. Higher ratings are better suited for air handling in medical or industrial settings, or in buildings seeking green building status. For home use, stick with filters graded around 7.
- Pop the cleaned or new filter back in the unit, replace the panels, and remember to repeat it every month that the AC is in use.
You are so cool.
Luxor home to some of Egypt’s greatest temples has something to solute over: the city has started its first 80kW solar energy plant, worth about $530,000 US to power lights at Luxor University and surrounding streets.
A second solar power plant, with a capacity of 80kW, will be powering the Luxor government buildings.
The two plants were inaugurated last Saturday by Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, and the governor of the city of Luxor, Tarek Saad Eddin.
Another 2MW solar energy plant, cost $3 million USD will power some residential buildings in Luxor. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that about 300,000 people in Egypt lack access to electricity. Those with power put a growing importance on oil, especially the polluted kind like bitumen.
To the ancient Egyptians, the sun represented light, warmth, and growth. To modern Egyptians looking to repair their economy for tourism they see the way forward in renewables and sustainable tourism. The solar power plants were switched on shortly after Egypt hosted the international solar power conference: Luxor Is a Green City this past June.
Luxor is the largest tourism region in southern Egypt, with some 70% of Egypt’s Pharaonic relics found inside the Luxor region, according to figures from the Ministry of State for Antiquities.
While tourism is down significantly from past years, Luxor is still home to 168 cruise hotels located along the Nile’s pathway between Luxor and Aswan. There is a hotel capacity of 17,000 rooms waiting to be filled.
Will green tourists be wooed to come back to Egypt?
Saad Eddin tells local newspapers that he will be pushing solar energy in the Luxor region. PM Adel Labib says that there is a giant US$1 billion solar energy project in the energy pipeline.
Meanwhile those taking a cruise down the Nile, don’t expect big bargains as the increase in price of diesel has caused cruise prices to double, according to local news reports. Until recently fuel was highly subsidized.
The Telegraph has an excellent guide to cruises that are running this season if the trip is still on your bucket list.
Like Israel nearby Egypt is aiming to generate 20% of its energy from renewables by 2020. That translates to about 1.8GW of solar power in the framework.
Ancient Egyptians knew that the sun was power. Modern ones too will hopefully see solar as the way forward and out of Cairo’s black smog days of polluting oil and diesel. Time to salute the sun.
Have you ever read an online story where the comments best the content, turning your idle news-scanning into a mini-meta experience? A recent piece on some new bike-safety gear caught our eye – (what’s not to love about designs to encourage pedal power!) - but it was the readers’ response that snapped the story into perspective.
Design for its own sake is superfluous; when the functionality of an artifact can be replaced by sensible behavior, that design slips into meta mode too.
Deimatic Clothing was developed by art school graduate Will Verity. It’s a jacket equipped with integral LED lights that are activated by approaching cars. Triggered by proximity sensors, the lights flash with increased speed to better illuminate the cyclist. In the animal kingdom, deimatic behavior is a defensive strategy that uses visual threat to create the illusion of power.
One example is a rapid color change in insects or fish when they are frightened. On the surface, a clever concept – but it “weirds-up” in the marketing pitch. The garment is aimed at helping women conquer cycling fears. Get Britain Cycling, a report published by the British government, calculates that women cyclists account for only 25% of British bike journeys (compare that to 55% of biking chicks in the Netherlands). The biggest barriers to women riding were tagged as “fear of accidents” and “not owning a bicycle”.
According to Dezeen Magazine, Verity’s glowing jacket responds to a UK goal to “increase cycle use from less than two per cent of journeys in 2011 to 25 per cent by 2050″.
(Alternatively, women could be given free bikes- but where’s the design fun in that?) Readers dropped comments ranging from supportive to snide, but several were spot-on in calling out the concept’s weaknesses, “…how does the garment differentiate approaching vehicles and static objects? Relative to an advancing cyclist, isn’t the whole world in movement?”
The lack of basic road safety gear was noted twice by, “Maybe she should have to use a helmet before wearing this kind of stuff,” and, “Her bike has neither lights nor reflective surfaces? Oh, come on! Did Mr. Verity ask himself if women in the UK have a fear of bicycles because they don’t use basic equipment?”
Another wrote,”I know plenty of women who are not afraid to cycle in London and plenty of men who are. This should not just be pitched at women. It’s time to refigure the design problem of the London street.”
This year has seen an uptick in London road fatalities, and designers are working to improve cycling safety. The best way to encourage more bums on bikes is to install proper cycling infrastructure; wide and level lanes that are seamlessly interconnected and protected from other traffic; adequate lighting; and cyclist-specific traffic control signals.
As a writer of internet content, random banter between me and the reader is what brings word-painting to life. I write to share info and sometimes a point-of-view. Reader feedback often returns a new angle of viewing a topic; comments can tell a different story.
The commentator subtext here is “less design and more common sense” – isn’t that the foundation of sustainability? Let’s take it full-on meta, and leave us your comments on superfluous design.
Israel and Hamas agreed to a 12-hour ceasefire in Gaza yesterday, a brief respite from the escalating violence that is testing the capabilities of relief agencies already strained by four years of Syrian war and renewed battles in Iraq. It’s a half day opportunity to park politics and take humanitarian action. Want to make a difference? Jump into some point and click compassion.
We’ve all been smacked around by recent news – regional events of increasing horror. Consider the plane crashes (over 700 dead in July alone); attacks at an Egyptian border crossing (killing 22 border guards) and a Yemeni gas pipeline (7 dead); Boko Haram bombings in Nigeria (80 murdered); ISIS assaults on Iraqi Christians (over 150 fatalities); and the incessant bloodbath of the Syrian war (170 killed last weekend).
No time to crawl under our covers. We are not powerless. Broadcasting our political POV via Hashtag tweets and Facebook postings may raise awareness among our personal followers, but when it comes to human aid (as we learned with our hats-for-Syrians drive) cash is king. We can fight feelings of helplessness with money, and provide immediate help.
Getting assistance to Gaza has long been problematic, and food security has been a chronic headache due to years of blockade and restrictions on fishing and farming. Import of goods and money (thwarted by closed borders and the combined shenanigans of Hamas, Israel and Egypt) is left largely to international aid organizations.
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) issued an appeal for emergency food supplies for the estimated 150,000 people displaced in the past 3 weeks.
Swift response came from two Jordanian organizations - Tkiyet Um Ali (TUA) and the Jordan Hasehmite Charity Organization (JHCO) who, together, provided 15,000 family food rations, which will enable UNRWA to feed 75,000 people for thirteen days. It’s a small dent in the growing mountain of need.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services and the agency, which is 97% reliant on voluntary contributions, runs a budget deficit of $69 million. You can pop some cash – now – to UNRWA, or several other non-political, non-religious aid agencies we’ve identified below. Each makes it simple to donate, resulting in immediate aid at point of need.
UNRWA is providing trauma counseling, food, and emergency bedding. Click here to help.
TUA is accepting walk-up donations at their booths in Amman commercial centers including City Mall, City Mall Center, Carrefour City Mall, Safeway, Cosmo, Taj Mall, Mecca Mall, Galleria Mall, Sahara Mall – and in Irbid. Call +962 (0)6 4900900 for more information. Or click here for their English/Arabic website.
Not in Jordan? Donations can also be wired to:
Islamic International Arab Bank, Branch Gardens
Tkiyet Um Ali and Charitable Society for Voluntary Work
Account name: Tkiyet Um Ali
Account number: 1,010 / 000 188 -0/505
Medical Aid for Palestine delivers medical care working in partnership with local health providers and hospitals. Click here to help.
Awqaf (Islamic Affairs) Ministry for Gazan orphans (a/k/a Monsara) is a Jordan-based charity that seeks to fulfill essential needs of Gaza’s children. Click here to help.
Palestine Children’s Relief Fund has three offices and a field staff on the ground in Gaza identifying injured kids and providing them with critical medical care, and providing displaced families with urgent humanitarian aid. Click here to help.
This list is just a sampler of established agencies with proven experience in aid delivery. Aware of others? Please leave details in the comments section. Screw politics. Support people.
Image of UNRWA World Food Program trucks from Shutterstock
Iranian architecture has evolved over the years – like everywhere – and the new generation of designers are producing truly impressive work. Take the extraordinary Sharifi House by next office. In order to maximize space, flexibility and daylight, the design team inserted semi-mobile rooms that rotate with the push of a button.
Opening the units allows for more space, more light, and creates terraces that open to the surrounding urban fabric. This is great for summer months when the residents are feeling open and transparent. But in the winter, or when the home owners seek privacy, it’s possible to turn the units back in.
Like traditional Iranian homes, the Sharifi House incorporates dynamic seasonal modes of habitation with modern versions of the winter and summer living rooms (Zemestan-Neshin and Taabestan-Neshin.)
Parking and housekeeping functions are relegated to the ground floor, while the basement is used as a sort of miniature gym – with exercise equipment that the residents can use to maintain good health.
Adaptable, flexible and filled with light, this transforming home is an excellent example of Iranian ingenuity – we absolutely love it.
:: Core 77
There are roughly 150,000 stray cats and dogs in Istanbul alone, and with so many other problems to deal with, city officials aren’t likely to make them priority. One Turksih company came up with a brilliant solution to feed some animals and recycle plastic at the same time.
Pugedon approached the city with an idea to install vending machines throughout Instanbul.
Placed mostly in city parks and other areas where a lot of people congregate, the machines are receptacles for used plastic bottles, and have a bonus flap at the end where dishes of water and kibble are placed.
Every time a person pops in a plastic bottle, a bit of kibble is released into bowls at the bottom of the machine, which stray animals are free to eat without persecution.
The city was happy for Pugedon to install these machines because it costs them nothing. In fact, they’re fairly self-sustaining. Funds raised by recycling the plastic are used to purchase the kibble.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always so heartbroken to see stray animals in the street. Many countries in the Middle East (and just about everywhere, let’s be real) have a stray animal problem, and most cities are at a loss for how to deal with it.
We’ve seen some inhumane solutions. In Egypt, for example, the government poisons street animals, and they can sometimes be seen dying a violent death as the strychnine circulates through their bodies.
This is a much more humane solution. People can feel like they’re helping the animals without having to take them home or interact with them directly, and there’s an environmental benefit at the same time!
For more Turkish genius, check out these awesome solar-powered lanterns that also put recycled plastic bottles to good use.
:: Elite Daily
How would you like to save money by no longer paying electric bills? There are several ways in which this can be accomplished. The first option is to go completely off the grid, and choose not to use electricity of any kind. This may not be suitable for the average person and will definitely not be comfortable, even for the extremist.
The next option is live very frugally and save energy in every way possible by limiting the amount of time in the home with the lights on, unplugging appliances, and even lowering the heat settings. Again, this is not a comfortable option. This option also does not fully eliminate electricity bills. However; a third viable option does exist.
The benefits of solar energy are not always openly discussed, but here are 5 good reasons
1. Solar energy is reliable. With only a bit of cleaning to do, this form of energy can offer several thousand hours of electricity and power for a home.
2. Solar energy is completely renewable. The Sun is not disappearing any time in the near future, and no mining is necessary in order to use its power.
3. Solar energy is not harmful to the environment. In fact, it is part of the natural environment.
4. Over time, the initial costs of installing solar panels are cancelled out by the amount of money saved not paying a power company.
5. Solar panels can be installed one or many at a time to fit almost any budget.
It is obvious that solar panels can be useful, but some may not understand just how useful.
Imagine your perimeter wireless dog fence being powered by solar energy, or any other type of underground fencing for dogs running even during power outages. This could keep your pets safe, even when the electric company cannot keep the power functioning during bad weather.
Solar panels can be used to heat water for the home, keep the lights burning bright, and even power the television.
Solar panels can show an immediate savings on the electricity bill. They will not eliminate the bill completely unless all electrical aspects of the house are appropriately hooked into the solar panel converted energy. This is not a difficult task. In fact, solar panels can be purchased in a number of places and are simple to install for those who are true do it yourselfers.
Maybe your budget is tight in these tough economic times. That is alright, as panels can be installed one at a time as the budget allows. Money saved can then be put to further panels. Once an entire home is converted to solar panel energy the savings will start, as no more power bills will be hitting the mailbox. In this manner, the solar panels seem to pay for themselves.
Are you ready to convert? Honestly, we cannot think of many reasons why not converting is an option. Start saving a bit today and buy a single panel. See how things go. The earth and your wallet will be very thankful.
Image of solar panel dog house from Shutterstock
Some workplace environments are naturally going to be considered more dangerous than others, meaning that someone working in an industrial or agricultural occupation is likely to be more exposed to dangerous working conditions than a person working in an administrative role in an office.
Regardless of the obvious risks associated with perhaps a blue-collar worker in a working in a chemical plant compared to a white-collared counterpart who is based in an office, there are strict rules and regulations that have to be adhered to in order to protect the safety of workers everywhere.
If you run a business then you will hopefully be fully aware of your obligations regarding health and safety at work, but there is more to be gained than simply complying with the minimum standards required by law.
Occupational safety & health
Let’s look to the United States if laws are lacking in the Middle East: The federal government created the Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSH) to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.”
The OSH Act subsequently created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which operates at federal level and allows for individual states to run their own safety and health programs, on the proviso that their own schemes were at least equal if not better than the federal program put in place.
There are teams of federal and state safety personnel who work to educate employers as well as provide compliance assistance, together with enforcement action when the required standards are not being met.
Working practices have greatly improved in recent years as people have become aware of the risk of exposure to dangerous and hazardous carcinogens and the direct link the represent to cancers such as peritoneal mesothelioma, which results from exposure to high levels of asbestos, maybe many years ago.
Read our story here on how Israelis were dangerously exposed to asbestos during a fire this past summer
If you want to not just achieve a minimum standard of safety and health for your workers but provide a high level of confidence amongst your employees that you are raising the bar as high as possible, this will put your business in with a competitive edge when it comes to retaining workers and allowing your firm to grow through having a happy and motivated workforce.
Some steps that you can take to improve health and safety in your workplace.
1. Plan and inspect
Your key role as an employer when it comes to safety and health, is to identify potential hazards in the workplace and take the required steps to eliminate or minimize exposure to them. Create and develop your own safety plan that becomes a blueprint for safe working practices and tell all employees what you expect from them in return for your concerted efforts to ensure their safety.
The sort of hazards that you need to focus on are items like toxic industrial cleaning products, operating machinery and lifting heavy items or working where there is a risk of exposure to heights.
Your business may have its own unique set of challenges to address but the principle remains the same, adopt and follow a safety plan and then carry out regular inspections to identify any issues.
If you work with tools or machinery, then there should be regular inspections to ensure that they are in good working order and that any employee using these items, has received adequate training and is aware of the correct safety procedures.
2. Regular dialogue
It is good policy to encourage regular dialogue with your workers regarding health and safety practices and you can also nurture a culture within your business where employees feel free to express their ideas and thoughts on how to improve safety in the workplace. Ask them if they are worried about a practice or product and how it can be handled better.
3. Always investigate incidents
Even if there is a minor accident that does not result in a serious injury or any harm being caused, it is still advisable to investigate any incident, no matter how trivial or non-threatening it turns out to be. Having an accident investigation procedure will help to identify potential weaknesses in your policy and may help prevent a more serious accident occurring down the line.
Safety and health at work should never be an afterthought, as it should be considered as critical to a successful business as customer service standards and financial planning.
By committing to good health and safety you are making a sound business decision and protecting probably your greatest asset, your workers.
Barbara Wells has worked as a nurse in various elderly care homes and hospitals. Her articles mainly focus on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure awareness.
Image of asbestos roof from Shutterstock
An exciting tourism project is set to promise a bright economic future for Saudi Arabia.
Saudi native Aziza Turkistani has created her own green tours in order to tempt tourists back into the region after disappointing visitor figures in June. She has been licensed to operate tours in Makkah, Jeddah and Taif for eight years, and would also like to provide transportation for pilgrims to Makkah, while attracting Saudi and GCC women to the tours.
The move is an important one for Saudi natives, who consider tourism to be a “woman-friendly” industry as there are no religious restrictions that would impede the tours. Makkah tour operator Aziz Awlya said that he sees potential for “green tourism” which would offer peaceful breaks for those who live hectic lifestyles.
In an area that was once considered a wasteland, tour operators are now seeing opportunities for safari packages, dune riding, sand surfing and camel and horse races.
But green tourism is also attracting interest around the world. Two key events are taking place throughout the latter half of 2014: the Hotel Show Dubai and the World Travel Market Responsible Tourism Programme, taking place in September and November respectively.
This year’s Hotel Show Dubai, taking place at Dubai’s World Trade Centre from September 28th-30th, will be focusing upon sustainable hotel design. Future Hotel, a sustainable design model, will look at how architectural design concepts can be sustainable, using displays of the latest products and predictions for future building designs.
Meanwhile, over in the United Kingdom, some of the world’s largest tourism operators including ABTA, Kuoni, Virgin Holidays, Thomas Cook and Tui, will be congregating at the London ExCel to discuss some of the most pressing issues challenging climate change in the tourism industry.
The event will take place from November 3 to 6 and will cover a variety of topics, from the economic to the environmental effects of tourism. Notably, Tuesday morning’s events will commence with a talk on “Reducing Water and Energy Consumption,” led by ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer.
Water conservation is a particularly grave concern for tourism companies across the world; earlier this year, it was revealed that Lake Mead, the main water supply for Las Vegas, was running dangerously low.
And back in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is very much facing the same concerns: it was recently revealed by Green Prophet that drastic measures were being taken to increase water supplies in Saudi Arabia, including tapping into prehistoric underground aquifiers.
It may be too little too late for the Middle East’s water supply, but with large conferences such as the Hotel Show Dubai drawing more attention to environmental concerns, we could have a more sustainable future.
Image of miles of sand via Wikipedia
Confirming what we’ve known all along, the consumption of beef is much worse than a vegetarian diet, and also worse than eating other animal meat products like pork and chicken, a new study from Israel confirms.
New research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, done in collaboration with scientists in the US, compared the environmental costs of various foods and came up with some surprisingly clear results.
The findings, which appear this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), will hopefully not only inform individual dietary choices, but those of governmental agencies that set agricultural and marketing policies.
Ron Milo of the Institute’s Plant Sciences Department, together with his research student Alon Shepon, in collaboration with Tamar Makov of Yale University and Dr. Gidon Eshel in New York, asked which types of animal based-food should one consume, environmentally speaking.
Though many studies have addressed parts of the issue, none has done a thorough, comparative study that gives a multi-perspective picture of the environmental costs of food derived from animals, the researchers report.
The team looked at the five main sources of protein in the American diet: dairy, beef, poultry, pork and eggs. Their idea was to calculate the environmental inputs – the costs – per nutritional unit: a calorie or gram of protein. The main challenge the team faced was to devise accurate, faithful input values.
For example, cattle grazing on arid land in the western half of the US use enormous amounts of land, but relatively little irrigation water. Cattle in feedlots, on the other hand, eat mostly corn, which requires less land, but much more irrigation and nitrogen fertilizer.
The researchers needed to account for these differences, but determine aggregate figures that reflect current practices and thus approximate the true environmental cost for each food item.
The inputs the researchers employed came from the US Department of Agriculture databases, among other resources. Using the US for this study is ideal, says Milo, because much of the data quality is high, enabling them to include, for example, figures on import-export imbalances that add to the cost. The environmental inputs the team considered included land use, irrigation water, greenhouse gas emissions, and nitrogen fertilizer use. Each of these costs is a complex environmental system. For example, land use, in addition to tying up this valuable resource in agriculture, is the main cause of biodiversity loss. Nitrogen fertilizer creates water pollution in natural waters.
When the numbers were in, including those for the environmental costs of different kinds of feed (pasture, roughage such as hay, and concentrates such as corn), the team developed equations that yielded values for the environmental cost – per calorie and then per unit of protein, for each food.
Mind the gap, and cost of beef
The calculations showed that the biggest culprit is beef. That was no surprise, say Milo and Shepon. The surprise was in the size of the gap: In total, eating beef is more costly by an order of magnitude – about ten times on average – to the environment than other animal-derived foods, including pork and poultry.
Cattle require on average 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water, are responsible for releasing 5 times more greenhouse gases, and consume 6 times as much nitrogen, as eggs or poultry.
Poultry, pork, eggs and dairy all came out fairly similar. That was also surprising, because dairy production is often thought to be relatively environmentally benign. But the research shows that the price of irrigating and fertilizing the crops fed to milk cows – as well as the relative inefficiency of cows in comparison to other livestock – jacks up the cost significantly.
Milo believes that this study could have a number of implications. In addition to helping individuals make better choices about their diet, it should hopefully help inform agricultural policy. And the tool the team has created for analyzing the environmental costs of agriculture can be expanded and refined to be applied, for example, to understanding the relative cost of plant-based diets, or those of other nations. In addition to comparisons, it can point to areas that might be improved.
Models based on this study can help policy makers decide how to better ensure food security through sustainable practices.
Image of beef on scale from Shutterstock
If you live in the Middle East, surely you are accustomed to seeing plastic bottles lining city streets and even far-flung desert areas. While a tiny fraction of these might be recycled in some countries, most of them will languish for years in informal and formal landfills.
A young firm from Turkey, Designnobis wants to turn them into lanterns!
Unlike other solar-powered lanterns that are currently on the market, Infinite Light treats waste (plastic bottles) as a valuable resource, which helps to drive down its overall carbon or environmental footprint.
It could also potentially drive down the cost, since users would only have to purchase a kit of parts, which includes a flexible solar panel that is placed inside a transparent bottle (for more efficient solar gain), small batteries that store the daytime energy absorbed by the solar panel, and a wire frame that provides the lamp’s portability.
“With Infinite Light, we aimed to create a sustainable lamp with minimum cost,” the designers at Designnobis told Fastco Design. “The lighting unit does not require any infrastructure, and it is a ready-to-use package that can be placed in a discarded plastic bottle.”
Albeit just a concept at this stage, this design would meet a tremendous need in the Middle East in particular. Especially now during summer, power outages are rampant, electricity is scarce, and millions of people – Palestinians, Syrians, and Iraqis most notably – have been displaced from their homes due to political conflict.
Which means there are millions of people who lack access to basic lighting, which can literally save lives in certain situations. For example, women and children become targets of sexual violence in refugee camps, a terrible crime that is particularly common in areas that have insufficient lighting.
Such a lantern, which is super easy to carry and hang in homes or offices, or donkeys even, thanks to the brilliant but simple wire frame, could also go a long way to reducing the plastic pollution problem in the Middle East North Africa region.
Plus, widespread availability or distribution and use of the Infinite Lights could help shape the way that people view plastic. Rather than view it as trash, it should be seen as a free and valuable resource that can be recycled for other meaningful and important uses.
:: Fastco Exist
أخبار طيبة لصحاري الشرق الأوسط: اعتبرت منظمة السياحية الدولية الكثبان الرملية كأحد أهم الوجهات السياحية الحالية و ذات الأثر البيئي المحدود. و للمملكة العربية السعودية تحديدا فالخيارات كثيرة، حيث أن الصحاري تغطي جل أراضي المملكة، و قد عزمت الهيئة العامة للسياحة و الآثار السعودية استثمار تلك الصحاري سياحيا عن طريق جذب هواة المغامرة و الطبيعة القاسية
طبعا، هنالك سباقات الهجن و الخيل، و رياضات مبتكرة كالتزلج على الرمال و ركوب الكثبان. و أما إن كنت تبحث عن أنشطة أقل عنفا، فحري بك التخييم في سكون الليل، تحت سماء غير ملوثة بأضواء المدن، أو حتى التجول في أرجاء الصحراء و اكتشاف ثرواتها الطبيعية من حيوانات برية و نبات و واحات
تشجع الهيئة العامة الاستثمارات الخاصة في المنتزهات البرية و المهرجانات الثقافية، كمهرجان حائل الصحراوي الثقافي على سبيل المثال، و ذلك ضمن إطار اهتمام المملكة بالجهود الرامية إلى حماية البيئة. و يقول رئيس الهيئة مبارك السلامة في مقابلة مع مجلة ’سعودي جازيت’: يجب أن يكون هنالك دعم لإعادة ترميم المعالم و المصنوعات الحرفية التاريخية و الخاصة بكل منطقة، بالإضافة إلى تمديد المماشي الصحراوية الحالية و زيادة عدد منظمي الرحلات السياحية. و يضيف: طبعا على جميع الأطراف المعنية بهذه المشاريع الأخذ بالاعتبار حماية البيئة و الحفاظ على طبيعة الصحراء الحسساسة، و ذلك لضمان استدامتها لسنوات عديدة قادمة
و تجذب سياحة الصحراء الزوار الأجانب بشكل خاص لما تقدمه من مناخ مغاير تماما لما اعتادوا عليه في مناطق أخرى. و تحتوي صحراء السعودية خاصة على العديد من المعالم التاريخية، و التي تقف شاهدة على أحداث عديدة عصفت بها الصحراء على مر الزمن، كمدائن صالح و حي الطريف في الدرعية، اللذان صنفا بمرتبة موقع تراث عالمي من قبل منظمة الأمم المتحدة للعلوم و التربية و الثقافة
يقول علي عيسى للمجلة ذاتها، و هو أحد هواة سياحة الصحراء: أنا على ثقة تامة بنجاح هذا النوع من السياحة إن توفرت المرافق الأساسية للسياح كأماكن التخييم و المراحيض، كما نجحت عدة دول خليجية بتنظيم رحلات عائلية مماثلة
و في مقابلة أخرى، يقول جعفر محمد سلطان، و هو منظم رحلات سفاري صحراوية في الأحساء: ما يميز الصحراء هو وجهيها المختلفين- الليل و النهار، و لكليهما سحر و جمال قلما يشعر الزائر بالملل في حضرتيهما. و يضيف: هذه الميزة بإمكانها جذب سياح بمختلف الأذواق و الهوايات
أيضا، توفر السياحة الصحراوية فرص عمل موسمية للشباب الطامح للعمل. و لكن، قد تكون لتلك السياحة جوانب غير محمودة، خصوصا في منطقة الشرق الأوسط حيث القوانين الخاصة بحماية البيئة غير مطبقة كليا و قابلة للتأويل على هوى المنتفعين. حيث من الممكن أن تهدد أعمال التطويرالغير منضبطة الموائل الأصلية للنباتات و الحيوانات الصحراوية، بالإضافة إلى تدمير الآثار الهشة. بذلك، تكون تلك الأعمال قد ساهمت في القضاء على صناعة السياحة في الصحراء السعودية و هي بعد في مهدها
Image of sand dune skier from Shutterstock
قد يعتبرك البعض معتوها إن خطرت ببالك فكرة تحويل بطة محنطة و ملقاة في <حاوية> إلى <لمبة>. و لكن لم يكترث سباستيان إرازوريس بهذا الاعتبار، و بطته الآن تبعث الضوء من حيث كانت تبطبط
و قبل أن تصدم -عزيزي القارئ- بمشهد مصباح يعتلي جثة دجاجة هامدة، اقرأ –يا رعاك الله- ما قاله الناقد الفني كريستيان فيفيروس-فون عن فناننا هذا في كتاباته المعنونة :إعترافات إرازوريس، أو عن مهن حقيرة و حكايات مظلمة عن الفن و التصميم
تمثل مبادئ إرازوريس الفنية – الحادة و المثالية و المثيرة للجدل، معايير جمال بحلة فنية صارمة، و التي تؤسس للجدل بديلا عن الانسجام كعنصر أساسي و لا غنى عنه في عقيدة المبدع
على الأقل قد نعلم الآن أن فنانا هذا لم يقم بقتل تلك الدواجن من أجل هذا المشروع الفني الغريب، و لم يقم بتثبيت المصابيح و الأسلاك في جثثها بدون أي عبء فكري. و لكنه أراد لأفواهنا أن <ترغي> بالحكم المستخلصة من هذا الإبداع
يبدو المنظر مهينا، أليس كذلك؟ التمثيل بما كان كائنا حيا في يوم ما، <يبقبق> هنا و هناك؟ و لكن، أليس هذا ما نفعله يوميا في حياتنا؟
فإننا دائما ما نقدم راحتنا و طاقتنا و أزيائنا و حتى مظاهرنا على أي كائن حي على شفير الانقراض؛ فيلا كان أو وحيد قرن أو دب قطبيا أو طيرا مهاجرا أو نحلا أو إنسان غاب
و طبعا، هنالك عنصر إعادة التدوير، ذاك الذي تتقنه الطبيعة بإلهام رباني. و لكن عندما نتدخل بمخلفاتنا الصناعية الغير قابلة للتدوير الطبيعي كالعلب البلاستيكية، عندها يختل نظام البيئة و تعصف بنا الكوارث الطبيعية لتهدد صميم وجودنا على هذا الكوكب
جميعنا يستطيع إعادة التدوير؛ بما فيهم فنانينا و مصممينا. و لكنه من المؤسف أن يلجأ هؤلاء إلى سلات المهملات للقيام بعمليات إعادة تدوير – في محاكاة ساخرة لما قد تفعله الطبيعة بنا في المستقبل بما كسبت أيدينا
و الحق يقال، التصميم باهر: مجرد <لمبة> بدل من الرأس، و ها هي الدجاجة تشع حياة مرة أخرى على الطاولة
يقول إرازوريس معقبا عن المشروع على موقعه الإلكترني: كنت قلقا بصراحة من ردة فعل العامة عندما عرضت البطة المصباح
و يكمل: فكرة تحنيط الحيوانات لم تكن شائعة بعد، و لم أرد أن أنعت بغريب الأطوار بطبيعة الحال، و لكني شعرت أنه من الواجب علي القيام بالمشروع. و لدهشتي، لاقت الفكرة قبولا غريبا و غير مفهوم من زائري المعرض. ربما وجدوها مؤلوفة و جميلة و مريعة و مضحكة في آن واحد
هذه هي الحكاية باختصار
A new “eco-mosque” that seeks LEED silver certification has recently opened in Dubai. Designed to set an example for other mosques and local residents, the Port Saeed mosque can accommodate 3,500 worshippers.
Let’s face it – aside from a few great initiatives here and there, Dubai consistently makes moves that are anything but green. Which makes it hard for residents to act upon their Earth-loving convictions much less nurture them.
That is why bringing Islamic environmental stewardship into the mosque is such a brilliant idea.
Tayeb Al Rais, secrtary-general of the AMAF, expressed his hope that this mosque will encourage future developers to embrace a similar approach.
“It is Dubai Municipality’s and the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities responsibility to guide donors who want to build mosques to follow green and eco-friendly standards, and this mosque could set an example of why it is a good move,” he told Gulf News.
“We hope the mosque will continue to remind worshippers of their duties towards the environment, of which we are the custodians,” he added.
In addition to solar-powered water and solar-powered exterior lighting, the facility is equipped with a lot of low energy LED lights attached to a smart system that detects the presence of worshippers. The air-conditioning system is similarly rigged to know when there are a lot of people inside.
Exterior lights are equipped with small solar panels as well, reducing the mosque’s overall dependence on the grid.
Perhaps most important, though, is the water recycling system. Water is a precious commodity in Dubai. It’s all desalinated water that uses a substantial amount of energy and involves unsavory consequences for marine life when brine is pumped back into the Gulf.
After one year, a team of representatives will determine whether the mosque meets the requirements of a silver rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Funding for the massive mosque – with nearly 14,000 square feet of built up area – was provided by an anonymous donor provided to the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF), which inaugurated the new house of worship last week.
Shaikh Salih Al Maghmasi, an imam from the Al Quba Mosque in Madinah, delivered the first sermon at the mosque last Friday.
:: Gulf News
Image via Gulf News
سؤال: ما هي أقصر الطرق لدفع القطريين لتبني أنماط حياة أكثر صحة، خصوصا مع ازدياد معدلات التخمة في الدولة؟
!الجواب: لتستضيف قطر كأس العالم لكرة القدم، و لتنشئ عدة نواد رياضية حديثة
فوضت اللجنة الأولمبية القطرية شركة ’جريمشو’ للتصميم المعماري لإنشاء عدة مرافق خضراء (ذات تأثير بيئي محدود) على مساحة قدرها 37.5 ألف متر مربع بعد أن ضمنت استضافة كأس العالم لكرة القدم لعام 2022. أما عن أسباب التخمة و الكروش المتدلية؟ يشير ميزان الحرارة في قطر إلى الخمسين درجة مئوية –ذلك على ذمة صورة للميزان أرسلتها إلي صديقتي من داخل سيارتها في قطر. ليست بالأجواء المثالية للتريض لمعظمنا. لذلك، أدركت ’جريمشو’ حين ربحت المناقصة العالمية لتصميم المجمع أن ما عليها هو تصميم مشاريع سهلة التنفيذ و ذات أثر بيئي محدود، و التي توفر المساحات المظللة الكافية للرياضيين و الجماهير على حد سواء
تلك هي ملاعب الفرجان الجديدة في قطر؛ المزودة بكل ما تشتهي الأنفس من وسائل الترفيه الرياضية من ملاعب كرة قدم و طائرة و سلة و يد، و مساحات رياضية مختلفة، بعضها مخصص للأطفال. و يشمل التصميم أيضا مقهى في وسط المجمع، و أماكن متعددة للنشاطات الاجتماعية. أما الهدف من إنشاء تلك الملاعب هو توفير بيئة مرحة للقطريين، ليستطيعوا من خلالها تحسين أنماط حياتهم و صحتهم. و لكن المرافق الرياضية الجيدة لا تهبط فجأة من السماء، بل تبنى على أسس تصاميم ذكية و متقنة
و بما أنني قد عملت في قطر من قبل في أثناء تحضير الجناح القطري لمؤتمر ’ريو 20+’ في البرازيل، فأنني أستطيع تنبؤ حاجة جريمشو لإدراج مواد خاصة في تصميماتهم لضمان بيئة مريحة لزوار الملاعب، و للحد أيضا من استهلاك الماء و الطاقة. و بالفعل، فقد خصصوا مساحات مظللة بنسيج يحاكي زهور صحراوية محلية، و ثبتوا مقاعد في هيئة كثبان رملية تتحيح للحضور مشاهدة و تشجيع رياضييهم المفضلين بكل راحة
أيضا، لقد صممت الشركة الملاعب على أرضية مختلفة التضاريس، مما يسمح لنسمات الهواء بالدوران في كافة أرجاء المجمع و إضفاء عامل برودة آخر؛ الأمر الذي لم أسمع به أنا شخصيا من قبل في عالم التصميم! و بالنسبة للماء -الاكسير الذي كثيرا ما يزداد ندرة و ثمنا- فلن يذهب أيه هدرا، لأنه ستتم معالجته و تنقيته لإعادة استخدامه لأغراض الري
و قد علق ’كيث بريويس’ من شركة التصميم على المشروع قائلا: نحن مسرورون بعلمنا أن تصميم شركتنا سيخلق فضاءات عامة و متاحة للجميع، و التي من خلالها سيتم إثراء الأنشطة الاجتماعية، و تنمية المواهب الرياضية المحلية في المجتمع”. و أضاف: “هذا المشروع سيمنح قطر الفرصة لحث جميع المقيمين على أراضيها لتبني أنماط أكثر صحة