I’ve been regularly taking the bus to Beirut since 2004. i get to witness the behavior of (most of) lebanese comfortably sitting with their windows shut, latte in hand, smartphone in the other, and somehow managing to get to work in one piece.
the crushing majority of those people are alone in their car. the crushing majority of them drive an SUV. yet i’m sure they all tune in to Earth Hour or are on some facebook pro-environment group. if you tell the average lebanese that the air in beirut is polluted, they wouldnt really ‘get’ what you’re trying to say since they drive with their windows shut, and their car’s A/C or air purifier takes care of the rest so they arrive to their cubicle unaware with what they just passed through on their way to work.
lebanese are islands. they get by with an apparent indifference to the ecological shift happening around them (and which they are causing). yet they still manage to show healthy amounts of outrage whenever environmental deterioration is shown on the TV (namely the mountain of trash of karantina, or saida). students drive to the university in their SUV’s to present their environmental sciences (taken as a free elective) group project where they flaunt the merits of going for maritime traffic. there are infinitely simpler solutions to pollution, my dear islands. you just need to leave your overblown ego at home and take the bus or ride a bicycle for a change. or walk for 1 or 2 km a day. you’d notice what heavy traffic is doing to your city and air. taking common transportation will mean dividing your commuting time by at least 4. instead, the lebanese prefer to whine about how long it takes them to get to work. but to do something about it?? are you crazy? you want people NOT to see my new 4×4?? what about my PRESTIGE? my STANDING? maybe in 5 years you’ll tell your gas mask-wearing kids you had to sacrifice the oxygen and environment for your prestige. where i work, we have entry level employees earning between 1100 and 1400$ driving 35000$ cars and paying 100$ a month worth of parking fees. they have the latest iPhone with 648 925 apps. they all make sure they shut down their cellphones and computers during Earth Hour so they feel good about themselves. hey, we just protected the environment! they congratulate themselves while warming up their SUV. dear young lebanese, you must realize what you’re doing and take active measures to reverse this catastrophic environmental course. it’s your quality of life that’s at stake, and that of your kids. before demanding the abolition of the confessional system, make a move for the sake of your health and leave your cars at home for weekend use.