Bloggers stake out Maghreb stances on climate change, health
Maghreb bloggers spent the past few days exploring environmental and health issues in the region, the issue of fair trade for argan oil, and preserving architectural treasures in the old quarters of North African cities.
On the occasion of Blog Action Day (October 15th), Maghreb bloggers pondered the effects of climate change and their country's response to the issue.
Morocco's Taha Balafrej, from Vues du Maroc, writes, "Morocco finds itself in a region vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change." Balafrej deems it necessary that Morocco, as well as other developing nations, keep current on negotiations happening ahead of the UN Climate Change Copenhagen Conference in December.
Mouad, from Morocco, adds, "During the last 15 years, Moroccans (both men & women) have started to adopt, little by little, the attitudes of a consumer society, especially those living in cities." Moroccans, "just like the rest of the world, contribute to global warming with their lifestyle, most often unconsciously and directly or indirectly."
"Let's not forget that Morocco is an agricultural country, where many are small farmers and depend on rain to make a living," concludes Mouad.
According to Morocco's Omar El Hyani, "A state of consciousness is beginning to emerge, but rarely exceeds the step of good intentions, or strategies announced with great fanfare. In a country with an illiteracy rate of over 40%, mindsets are difficult to change."
Balafrej notes King Mohammed VI's call to the Moroccan government to "establish a project of a national global environmental Charter." Such a charter would preserve natural spaces and resources. Balafrej notes, however, that France has announced a similar charter, and that it took four years to achieve results. Morocco, on the other hand, has given itself six months. Will Morocco, Balafrej asks, "do in six months what it took France four years to achieve?"
Also on an eco-conscious note, Tunisia's Journal Non-Intime explores the issue of "recyclo-design", or what objects can be designed from recycled plastics.
Maghreb bloggers addressed another important issue, that of health. Startup Tunisia reports that many health care professionals, notably over 50% of French doctors, "are not ready to volunteer to get vaccinated against the H1N1 virus." The same holds true for nurses, also according to the IFOP survey the blogger cites, which reports that a mere 26% of nurses want to get vaccinated. "The same is true for Great Britain, where 50% of doctors refuse to get vaccinated," adds the blogger.
The View from Fez adds that Moroccans have been warned to take precautionary measures to avoid contracting swine flu during the Hajj, following a warning from the Saudi government.
In a post entitled "The tranquil life of the ER", Boukornine reflects on the poor conditions of the hospital sector in Tunisia, despite the country being ranked first in the Arab world and Africa in terms of quality of life.
On the economic front, The View from Fez posts about the ancient use of argan oil, which is growing in popularity worldwide. The blogger notes that it takes “15-20 hours to produce the 2 1/2 kilos of kernels needed to produce one litre of oil”. Yet, "it is a sure thing that the women who work so hard to produce this fabulous oil see very little of the average 346.50 Moroccan dirhams that a woman in the West will pay in order to rub a little in her hair."
Rounding out the blogosphere is Tunisia's Barberousse, who explores the state of the old city of Tunis and its preservation. One past urban plan involved destroying several buildings and extending a major boulevard into the old quarter. The locals resisted such plans, and in 1979, that part of Tunis was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Barberousse, however, notes that since then, the state of the old city has worsened, to the point where it has becoming a source of shame.
"Saving the old city does not involve collecting some funds to restore such-and-such a monument or opening a handful of restaurants in the Kasbah,” writes the blogger. “Rather, it involves radical action that would restore life to this historic centre."
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