How Can An Environmental RESOURCE Website Make A Difference?
As a RESOURCE website, Lebanon Clean & Green (LCG) offers many Lebanese the opportunity to benefit from its content and enjoy being part of its mission to protect and preserve Lebanon’s beautiful nature. LCG founder, Ina Rihani explains.
When did Lebanon CLEAN & GREEN’s mission start? -year of establishment, members?
The concept of Lebanon CLEAN & GREEN (LCG), as an environmental RESOURCE website, was born in April, 2010 (while hiking on the Lebanon Mountain Trail --LMT).
The LCG website (www.lebanonclean.org) was established online August, 2010 as a public platform for information sharing about Lebanon’s natural environment. LCG’s FaceBook Group and Fan Page began September, 2010 to enhance and expand the sharing and gathering of information, as well as build common interests and increase awareness.
LCG is solely an information website; not a Lebanese NGO, nor a site for fundraising or projects of its own.
What is LCG's Mission?
The LCG website serves as a reference site for Lebanon’s natural environment. It will expand as an ever-growing resource of information, as people collectively continue to contribute photos, videos, books, links to articles, new names and data for the Directory, as well as sharing information about current activities or issues on FaceBook.
It aims to increase awareness about environmental issues in Lebanon and build civic responsibility, especially towards the environment . It also provides contact information about services, organizations, and projects throughout Lebanon and encourages participation at the local, regional, and national level.
How much in your opinion, environmental NGOs help raise awareness in Lebanon? (example) ?
I do believe that the NGOs, and other special groups have been raising awareness in Lebanon, since the early pioneering efforts of Ricardus Haber at AUB, with the conservation group, Friends of Nature, in the early 1970s. He was also influential in forming Lebanon’s first National Reserve- the Horsh Ehden Reserve. While creating the Directory on the LCG website, it is rather “uplifting” to see the number of groups that exist in Lebanon and the variety of things they are doing.
Paul Abi Rached has been visiting schools and teaching about the environment to young minds through song for years, Chaker Noon of Baldati.com has a network throughout Lebanon with a radio talk show every Friday evening on Voice of Lebanon as well as many outdoor activities, the Orange House is operated by two outstanding women who have a mission of protecting and raising awareness of endangered sea turtles, INDY Act has led many causes for change in Lebanon, and the Lebanon Mountain Trail unites the entire country north to south via its 440 km (275 mi) national hiking trail for healthy recreation while promoting environmental awareness and responsible eco-tourism.
Most of the environmental tactics will need to continue to focus on the younger generation, and there are groups/programs already doing great work, such as: Animal Encounter, ZeroWasteAct (recycling in schools), Happy Planet (via Bank Med), and BIOKIDS (of AUB). These are but a few examples, and surely many others have done their part to boost awareness over the years.
What is Lebanon CLEAN & GREEN’s major concern? And are you working with public institutions (for instance, Ministry of Environment)?
LCG is a website and a sole entity. It is not working with any other institution/group, public or private.
One concern, is to try to get the most amount of information online so the site can be a tool for people to find the resources they need.
Information in the Directory contains basic contact info and descriptions beginning with relevant Lebanese government offices, the various National Reserves, NGOs, organizations, clubs, businesses, ecotourism, as well as various groups on FaceBook to offer a wide range of references. One challenge for LCG, is to discover and include as many groups and organizations that are not listed, since there are surely many more. Even if the group is small, or does not have a website, people are encouraged to share the name, location, and contact info. This way, people in various parts of the country can find out what is available in their area, as well as learn about what others are doing elsewhere to improve the environment.
What were major achievements in 2011? Upcoming projects?
During the past year, the number of photos taken in Lebanon and placed in the various subject albums on the LCG website has grown to total nearly 2,500. These are not random collections, but photos that have been carefully selected from numerous amateur and professional photographers who are credited for their work.
Many people have met “virtually” through Lebanon CLEAN & GREEN and have begun to share interests and started to collaborate in their efforts to improve Lebanon’s environment. This is very positive and rewarding.
In the near future, the section of the LCG website menu-- 4KIDS-- will have several new and interesting items that both children and adults will enjoy!
What are the major hurdles faced?
Facing negative and ignorant attitudes can be very challenging and frustrating at times.
People sometimes pass the blame for everything on the government instead of actually taking some responsibility (such as the problem of littering). Others have an opinion that the Lebanese behavior is not changeable, when in fact there are many people with eager dreams to make Lebanon a place where people live in harmony with themselves and nature.
STRATEGIES & PLANS
A fundraising event, entitled Think Green, will be held by Zero Waste ACT for all its business members on September, 10,2013, at WHITE, Dora.
The Green Mind Association invited all Green Mind Award Participants, finalists, runner ups and winners to the GREEN MIND DAY on Jan-16-2013 in Beirut, to create a platform where interested Venture Capital and Potential Investors met with participants.
A green initiative launched by Ashrafieh 2020 project aims to transform Ashrafieh into a tranquil and unpolluted area.Green spaces allow residents to walk and ride bicycles.