The leaders of Friends of the Earth Middle East
(FoEME), a joint Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian environmental organization that uses environmental advocacy as a peacebuilding tool, were recently recognized as “Heroes of the Environment 2008
” by Time
magazine. FoEME understands that “the road to sustainability, like the road to peace, is going to be a slow, messy human project of community organizing, education and trust-building
,” says Time
correspondent Andrew Lee Butters.
FoEME’s projects include Good Water Neighbors, which uses joint water management to strengthen ties between Israeli and Arab communities on opposite sides of the Jordan River; as well as a plan to build a transboundary peace park on an island in the Jordan River that would attract ecotourism. “We share the same environment, particularly the same water resources,” says Gidon Bromberg, Israeli director of FoEME. “And if we don’t start working together, we’re not going to have an environment.”
For more information on FoEME’s environmental peacebuilding activities, see “Rehabilitating the Jordan River Valley Through Cross-Border Community Cooperation” (May 8, 2006) and “Good Water Makes Good Neighbors: A Middle East Pilot Project in Conflict Resolution” (January 22, 2003), two events hosted by the Environmental Change and Security Program.