Yesterday, the world commemorated Earth Day 2014’s theme of Green Cities–inspired by half of the world’s population that lives in urban areas and how these areas can become more sustainable and eco-friendly. As the crisis in Syria enters its fourth year, the last thing on the minds of Syrians living in urban areas is how to make their cities more eco-friendly given the immense daily hardship they live through. But this year’s theme is an extremely important part of rebuilding Syria’s future.
As one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities, Damascus, Syria may also be one of the most sustainable cities ever built. It has seen its share of destruction during the current conflict but Old Damascus–with its brick, stone and mortar buildings, street vendors selling locally grown and made products and fair share of pedestrians choosing to forego private automobiles for shared transportation–is very much an eco-friendly place. And the hope is that once the war in Syria is over and the rebuilding process begins, Damascus and all of Syria’s urban cities will be able to contribute their beauty and green-ness with the world.
From all of us at Syria Relief and Development, Happy Earth Day!