Monday, December 1, 2008

Lessons from the History
In a harsh and arid Saharan climate, where the temperature some times exceeds 47 during the daytime and drops to -10°C during the night, certainly you need to have a way to survive. The people of Ghadams designed their city in a way to accommodate such difficult situation. Ghadamas (ancient Cydamae) is one of the oldest pre-Saharan cities located in the
Grand Sahara 600 Km southwest Tripoli, Libya next to the border with Algeria and Tunisia. In November, 1986 the city was declared as a world heritage landmark by UNESCO.
There are many aspects of the city but, in this article I will try to cover the aspect of the city planning and architect in relation to the environment protection. The city has been designed to offer its inhabitants "suitable solar control, natural illumination, ventilation, and insulation from the desert climate". It was build with a natural materials and by the available local resources; mud brick, limestone, palm wood and lime. These environment's friendly materials not only have zero harmful chemicals but also work as a temperature and humidity regulator. With its thick walls and most streets c overed, the city simulates the function of mud jar where it "retains heat in the winter and keeps the interiors cool in the summer." This type of ventilation
works without the need for electric energy (to operate the heating or air conditioning systems) which contributes to the friendly environmental design of the city.

While other desert settlements have already disappeared or under the treat of desertification, the old city of Ghadames still stands and straggles for thousands of years. The old city of Ghadames is surrounded by a wall and a forest of palm trees which protected it from the sand dunes and prevents the city from been covered by sand.
Another important aspect of the city is how the people of Ghadames manages the most important and limited resource in the life of desert inhabitants, the water. The irrigation system of the farms around the city is unique. The main portable water source in the city is Ayn Al Faras spring. Five main tunnels carry the water to surrounding small farms around the city. Each farmer has a share depends on the size of his farm. The amount of water for a share is determined by a "water meter" or Qadous, which is a cylindrical can with a hole in the bottom. The water guard in each tunnel fills the water meter with water and fixes it on wall, when the cylinder runs out of water, which is equivalent to one share; he sends a message to the farmer, by inserting a palm leaf into the water canal and the framer responded by closing his canal and turning the water to his neighbor farmer. The system was very efficient and no water was west.
Did we learn from the past? Unfortunately the answer is no. In 1970's The Government decided to build a new city next to the old one and evacuate the old city for tourist purposes. The only similarity between the two cities was the painting. Every where you go in the new city you will notes the air conditions hanging on the walls. However, the some of Ghadames families, who are still having their houses in the old city, spend their summer in these houses.
The city teaches us how old people have been adapted to the harsh environmental conditions utlizing the local available resources and without destroying or polluting their environment.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hasan Cave

In our assignment for a photostory, I listened and watched one about Hasankeyf. Hasankeyf is a cliff with old caves and it is still occupied by inhabitant. It is located in the eastern part of Turkey next to the border of Iraq and Syria. Because of its remote location it is difficult to reach the place remained untouched. However, the place is now under threat because of the new dam project. In 5-7 years the place will be covered by water. The Turkish Government has a plan to move the mosque located in the area to higher ground, but the plan is limited in the scope and difficult to implement without destroying it.

The pictures give a visual view of the situation as if I am in that place. It was very effective to use visualization. I think now I had vision in my mind about the place. Without using the photos I hardly could imagine how the place looks like and I might forget about it after reading.

To watch the photostory click here

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Today I found a study in the New York Times on how US could cut 28% of Greenhouse Gases. The study suggest a change in the lighting, heating and cooling of buildings would reduce carbon dioxide emission. Another way the report mentioned is to make consumers to pay attention to energy use in choosing machines or equipment.

Educating people about wasteful energy consumption could leverage their awareness and promote reduction in "carbon littering".

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I found an article which talks about soil pollution. According to the article the main cause of soil pollution is war, because many countries suffered from food shortage after world war. As a result, they used fertilization and other chemicals in order to increase their food production. One of these chemicals was DDT. Also in 1970's the Americans used the Dioxin in the Vietnam War.

The Glass industry is another source of soil pollution because they use Arsenic which is a very poison material.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In his article "Deforestation in the Amazon", Rhett A Butler discusses the reasons for the Amazon deforestation. He argues that deforestation is highly correlated with the economic health of the country.

According to the writer deforestation in the Amazon is the result of several activities, the foremost of which include:

Clearing for cattle pasture.
Colonization and subsequent subsistence agriculture.
Infrastructure improvements.
Commercial agriculture.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

In this article "The Palin Problem", the author imagines a scenario where McCain loses next Tuesday election and expects what Sara Palin will do in this case. Is she going to cut her relation with McCain and present herself as the Republication Party leader? According to the article the conservatives have to change their policy and "adopt thier economic massage to address the insecurities of the culturally conservative working class". Another issue is immigration which could be brought up on the table. The author expects Plian could take advantage of these issues and be the republican candidate for the next election. Who knows?

What I did not understand, why McCain compaign did not realize this before?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Story of Stuff documentary film by Annie Leonard, describes in a very effective visual presentation the life cycle of the stuff "the materials economy" starting form Extraction of the raw materials, production of goods from these materials after adding toxic substances to them, distribution of these goods, consumption "the heart of the system" and finally disposals. She explains the negative affect of over consuming of the limited natural resources, not only on these resources but to the whole environment including humans.

Annie emphasizes the plan "so intestinal" to drive the people to be crazy about shopping "making consumption our way of life" by Governments & Co-operations alliance. In order to achieve their goal, Annie pointed out two strategies the Planned Obsolescence and Perceived Obsolescence.

According to the film 99% of the goods bought in North America are trashed within 6 months.

Fortunately, I do not have the habit of buying things just because it is obsolete. I think female are more subject to Adv and fashion than males. The evidences provided with this film clearly show the negative effect of globalization on environment, including global warming.