quarta-feira, 8 de junho de 2011

“There Is Hope Now”- Conservationist On Egypt’s Post-Revolution Future

We speak to conservationist Mindy Baha El Din about the rise of the environmental movement in post-revolution Egypt, tourism and the challenges ahead 
“There Is Hope Now”- Conservationist On Egypt’s Post-Revolution Future
Mindy Baha El Din was born in the US and came to Egypt in 1988 armed with a degree in Arabic and Economics as well as a passion for birdwatching, to establish a conservation education centre at Giza Zoo. Through her work she met Sherif, Egypt’s foremost ornithologist, who she would later marry and together they formed a formidable team campaigning on everything from bird hunting controls, developing Egypt’s protected area networks to ecotourism. 
“Over the years, we have witnessed massive changes and degradation to Egypt’s natural heritage,” remarks Mindy. “It’s shocking how one generation’s decisions about natural resources is affecting the present and all future generations of Egyptians. Both Sherif and I have a strong sense of civic duty- we have tried our best to make a difference but it is an uphill struggle.” 

Arwa Aburawa: Let’s start off quite broadly to get a sense of the situation on the ground. What are the major concerns for nature conservationists working in Egypt?

Mindy Baha El Din: During the past 30 years, many of the country’s natural resources have been degraded, depleted and destroyed. Whole ecosystems have disappeared or are being transformed through uncontrolled development, pollution, and increasing disturbance.  Not a single habitat is left unscathed: coastal, marine, deserts, wetlands, and agricultural land. Protected Areas are not effectively protected. Uncontrolled hunting and trade has decimated our wildlife populations. Our fisheries are collapsing. Exotic species such as the Palm Weevil are spreading and killing our native date palms. Over grazing and harvesting of vegetation is rampant in the desert. 
Tourism too will be affected as our tourism assets vanish… divers, birdwatchers, desert safari enthusiasts will go to other countries that protect their resources. Even conventional tourism will be impacted if the overall environment is trashed!
The resulting ecological imbalances will also strain our limited resources even further causing more poverty, conflicts and instability.
Then there are the “global issues” like climate change… what about sea-level rise, think of our coastlines disappearing under water and all the environmental refuges.
>> Read more Green Prophet

Nenhum comentário: