The Jadaliyya Environment Page is a forum for innovative, critical, and incisive analysis and reporting on environmental questions in the Middle East. It invites contributors and readers to rethink these questions by taking a broad stance on what counts as an environmental issue. Whereas environmental questions in the Middle East are usually framed in terms the security of water or oil, this page purposefully seeks out a wide array of sources and perspectives in examining important environmental issues on the ground and across the region. As curators of this Jadaliyya project, we want to provide a platform that brings together diverse perspectives including, and especially, from those living in the region, indigenous voices, and grassroots approaches. We aim to gather content from a variety of academic disciplines, activists, and others working on the ground. Too often, Euro-American international institutions and white Western voices dominate—and depoliticize—the conversation on the environment. In contradistinction, we argue that we cannot just talk about water as scarcity, but we must view water access as an environmental justice issue and a human right. Instead of approaching countries in the region as exceptionally oil-dependent, we consider the politics of fossil fuels, energy transition, and climate change mitigation to be a global terrain of struggle entailing the uneven transformation of economic activities, social life, infrastructures, and environments. Similarly, we cannot just talk about environmental issues in terms of rural development and nature reserves, but must also talk about environmental well-being in cities.
The current global crisis around COVID-19 (coronavirus) has thrown into new relief the importance of food security and health security, and of thinking explicitly about disease as an environmental phenomenon—particularly for those at the intersection of social and economic inequalities and of marginalized identities. Environmental justice movements have increasingly sprung up on the ground throughout the Middle East, and communities have connected the inequalities they face to environmental justice struggles around the world. The page will focus on the responses and solutions to global environmental issues developed by people in the region. We will include historical analyses that shed light on the ever-changing relationships between humans and their surroundings. As both the stakes of and interest in environmental questions in the Middle East grow, this page will provide a platform for activists and scholars to experiment with new approaches and to transform this conversation. We welcome comments and contributions to the new page at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Environment Page is co-edited by Danya Al-Saleh, Camille Cole, Brittany Cook, Huma Gupta, Gabi Kirk, Carly Krakow, Owain Lawson, Graham Auman Pitts, Malihe Razazan, and Salma Nashabe Talhouk.
The Campaign to Eradicate Smallpox in Monarchic Iraq
by Sara Farhan and Huma Gupta
Countering Lawfare and Environmental Racism in Gaza and Palestine: The Case Study of the Jewish National Fund versus US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
by Gabi Kirk
Danger, Turbines! A Jawlani Cry against Green Energy Colonialism in the Occupied Syrian Golan Heights
by Muna Dajani
Environment Page Extended Media Roundup (January–March 2020)
New Texts Out Now (NEWTON) Reviews
On Barak, Powering Empire: How Coal Made the Middle East and Sparked Global Carbonization (New Texts Out Now)
Gökçe Günel, Spaceship in the Desert: Energy, Climate Change, and Urban Design in Abu Dhabi (New Texts Out Now)
Marwa Daoudy, The Origins of the Syrian Conflict: Climate Change and Human Security (New Texts Out Now)
For the Classroom
Essential Readings: Environment and Politics in the Middle East
by Camille Cole, Brittany Cook, and Gabi Kirk and the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI)
Environment in Context: Green Sukuk - The Future of Islamic Financing for Climate Change Adaptation
An Interview with Aneil Tripathy by Bassam Haddad and Huma Gupta
Jadaliyya Talks: Co-Editors Go In-Depth on the New Environment Page
An Interview with Danya Al-Saleh, Brittany Cook, Huma Gupta, and Owain Lawson by Malihe Razazan