The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

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Donya Desee: Hope for a Green Cairo

Donya Desee: Hope for a Green Cairo
written by
Hannah Cooper

The black cloud that looms over our heads in Cairo, causing
our lungs and nasal passages to be clogged up like an old water pipe, grows
worse by the day; and don’t even get us started on the city’s current recycling situation.

Though some of you may think that ‘going green’ in Cairo
sounds like an utter failure of an idea; you may want to think twice. Citywide,
various organisations are taking a stand by launching green initiatives that
are both accessible to the public and efficiently designed for an individual to
gain the simple knowledge needed to make easy lifestyle choices that will
contribute to the environment’s well-being.

Launched in September 2009, Donya Desee – translates into
‘Green World’ in Nubian – is the brainchild of Omnia Abbas. Inspired by her
passion for sustainable development and the availability of green resources in
Cairo, Abbas created a website called Eco Options Egypt with the goal of managing a listing of
environmental events happening around Cairo and also serving as a collective to
promote local green initiatives, products, services and more.

The website serves as a constructive resource for an open
forum on environmental issues in Egypt and continually adds up-to-date
information ranging from easy, green tips to website user polls and interactive
features that enable users to choose their category of interest. Categories
range from politics to eco lifestyle, and the site also features a section for
expert opinions on our environment’s ongoing crisis. Not only that; but through
the use of their YouTube channel, the organisers provide visuals to demonstrate
their beliefs and goals for the environment.

Abbas has high hopes that the website will help readers
become engaged and feel empowered to make lifestyle changes and encourage the
community around them as well. The ability to reach out to an offline audience
through community events is one of the keys to unlocking the dilemma of ignorance
of the importance of protecting Mother Earth. Thus far, Donya Desee has
collaborated on numerous green-friendly events around the city including a
Climate Action conference in October 2009 as well as used book sales.
Currently, the initiative is working closely with other organisations ranging
from the Cairo Cyclers Club to Nahdet El Mahrousa’s ‘Green Arm’.

Through their online resources, Donya Desee has the ability
to both promote these sister organisations as well as advocate these valuable
lifestyle changes. Now more than ever, we have everything at our fingertips,
whether it is services, environmentally-friendly products or the simple knowledge
needed to treat Planet Earth as something other than a trash can.

So, what is stopping us? For Abbas, that answer is simple:
society. The highly-driven consumer society that we live in compels us to buy
more, want more and do more than ever before. While our happiness is plunging,
the GDP is growing. Instead of equating life’s worth to purchases and
belongings, buying less and buying smart are key contributors towards taking care
of our planet.

Going green is as simple as reducing our material worth, and
becoming actively conscious through the use of recycled, renewable and reusable
materials. Whether we like to accept it or not, the time for us to recognise our
responsibility was decades ago; but it’s never too late to make a change.

Check out Eco Options Egypt for
the latest events in Cairo and loads of information that will provide you with
accessible ways to become more eco-conscious in Egypt.