Tunisian ecological efforts and globalization

Let us begin with the Tunisian landscape. It is actually diverse ecologically as different sections of the country are  home to different conditions. Among the southern fringes of the country, the Sahara desert reigns supreme. According to http://en.tunisientunisie.com/tunisia%E2%80%99s-landscape-and-wildlife/ , this region never gets more than 50 mm (1.96 Inches) annually. The north is the easternmost section of the Atlas mountains and behind them to the coast are foothills. There are two types of coast that can be found within Tunisia. To the north, the beaches are made of rock and stone while the eastern shores are sandy and descend towards the Mediterranean. The central interior of the country is prime and fertile soil for agriculture. There are also salt lakes throughout the country and two primary ones in the south. These are named Chott el-Jerid and Chott el-Ghars. Another geographic feature locally called a Oued or a water bed. A Oued, which is pronounced as “wed” relies on rain for the water that runs through it. After a rain and subsequent flooding, the banks of this feature are fertile and “green”. This country has different and iconic terrain in all parts of the country. However, all is not well within the country ecologically. Tunisia has a lot of problems with pollution. Some of the problems are  major concerns for the future:

  • toxic and hazardous waste disposal which is ineffective and poses health risks
  • water pollution from raw sewage
  • limited natural fresh water resources
  • deforestation
  • overgrazing
  • soil erosion
  • desertification

This list can be found at http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/156738/. Tunisia needs to focus on several of these given there location on earth’s surface. Desertification is a real threat considering they are bordering the Sahara and many countries in  the region are stressing about water availability in addition.  While researching Tunisia and their ecological condition, I found out that  the only major ecological organization, Greenpeace, was active in Tunisia from the organizations mentioned in the class this week.  Water.Org has only two places within the region where they are currently active and they are located in Egypt and Turkey. Tunisia also needs to worry about climate change events due to their northern and eastern coasts and rising sea levels.  Don’t forget about the list of pollution issues in addition to rising sea levels. A couple NGO’s are working within the region which are included on a list at this website: http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/research/tunisia/national-HRI.html. There also is one called Mercy Corps that works on creating communities with strong equality and then expanding out to address most feasible issues such as environmental degradation or political instability.  So efforts are being taken within Tunisia.

However, this is an issue that affects us all. While reading the article The Inuit Right to Culture Based on Ice and Snow by Sheila Watt-Cloutier, I made a connection to my Native American Geographies course that I’m currently taking. In both classes, the reading suggests that capitalistic societies, the ones that are spreading due to globalization, are ones that will never stop consuming. These societies are always worried about money and profiting from things that the connection to the environment and other people has faded. In order to accurately address climate change, people must look at many different perspectives and understand that the world takes care of humans and all of our “relatives”. Personally, I would agree! I believe that there is a moral obligation to protect the earth, not just for ourselves and other countries, but for the future generations yet to be. I agree with what James Gustave Speth argues as thinking outside the box in his article The Bridge at the Edge of The World. What needs to happen, thinking out-side of the box, is that we need to stop compromising within the political system and try to change education and instill a deeper connection to the environment rather than useless compromises made with the government. Rather than compromising, Tunisia needs strong education of potential indigenous knowledge systems within the country and try a bottom up approach rather than a top to bottom approach. This is how we save Iconic scenery like Tunisia’s coastlines and create a more sustainable way of life that also promotes equality amongst all denominations of people.

... think outside the box but they forgot to tell you how to have the box

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