Environmental Voices: Taking on an environmental cause

The following article is part of Al-Masry Al Youm's weekly "Environmental Voices" series, in which issues related to the environment–whether local, regional or international in nature–will be discussed from the point of view of environmental experts.

Egypt’s revolution was triggered by peoples’ unrelenting desire for a better future. Nevertheless, we have yet to conceive what a better future looks like. Although pending political reform aims at implementing civil, economic and social rights as desired by the public, the public needs to develop a clear image as to how it would like to see the future in order to ensure its true desires are met.

In times prior to the revolution, Egypt was accustomed to following a figure-head who managed to convince the public of certain ideals. Sooner or later, politicians become a disappointment to the public because politicians can never satisfy the entire population. With this in mind, we need to aim at a national cause that forces those to come to power to execute the ambitions and aims of the great majority of people.

One such cause–serving to bring together many of the rights we want to see realized–is an environmental cause.

Environmentalism and sustainability are based on equal opportunity and transparency; accordingly, there is little room for a one-man show government. By taking on an environmental cause, it would become difficult to prioritize one set of rights over another. We would find that both the environmental agenda and the economic agenda would be placed on equal footing. As an example, no factory would be allowed to operate if it failed to pay its employees adequate wages while making sure it did not pollute the environment.

Having a leading cause is better than having a leading party. If political parties gain excessive power, authorities may change policies and relevant articles in the Constitution whenever possible to suit their interests. Instead, this country should be led by a cause with any political party or figure subservient to that cause.

With this in mind we can begin putting in place the building blocks to our new Egypt.

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