The Environmental Education Center implemented this project through cooperation with the community to drive change on the ground by planting and improving the environmental reality in Palestine. We strive for the recognition as an advocate for the rights of Palestinians to equal access to natural resources, nutritious foods, clean water, sustainable livelihoods, and social wellbeing.
The instability in the Middle East and especially in Palestine has been fueled by population growth, water shortages, high food prices, and climate change. These factors are intertwined with the environmental reality in Palestine today. Palestinians are denied basic human and civil rights by the Israeli occupation, leading to rising poverty and unemployment levels among Palestinians. The depletion of natural resources and environmental destruction are often overlooked in the face of movement restrictions, home demolitions, and land seizures by the Israeli military in the Palestinian territories. Water resources remain under Israeli control, allowing extremely limited water to Palestinians. For example, Israeli settlers in the West Bank use an average of 600 liters of water each day, while Palestinians in the West Bank are restricted to less than 100 liters of water per day. The minimum standard recommended by the World Health Organization is 150 liters of water per day. The movement restrictions imposed on Palestinians allow limited or no access to natural areas. Water shortages, the enlargement of settlements, the seizure of Palestinian land, and the continued construction of the apartheid wall make it imperative we address environmental issues. The peace building process and achieving stability and justice in the region is dependent on it.
The lack of environmental awareness within Palestinian society is a major obstacle in working for environmental justice. There are obvious inherent difficulties in promoting environmental awareness in a land of political and military struggles. This project is designed to address those challenges in order to empower community members to take action for positive change and to foster a positive public opinion. Additionally, Palestinian society will become more connected with the rest of the world through international networking, therefore helping to work for justice. Developing and empowering vulnerable communities in Palestine is a crucial step to working for environmental justice and peace for all Palestinians.