The three day workshop started with each one of the participants picking one picture revealing an environmental problem or issue, then talking about it and saying why it inspired them. We then were faced with environmental questions that needed to be answered, problems that needed solutions. The first day was actually divided into three sections, so three problematic were presented. We were also divided into four working groups, and each group brainstormed for solutions that they then presented to all of the participants. Basically, we were asked to present the major environmental problems we thought our region (the Middles East) is currently facing. The outcome was four main topics:
- Water (Quantity and Quality)
- Soil (Land degradation and pollution)
- Solid Waste
We also were asked to determine the stakeholders and actors who we thought would hinder the middles eastern community from having a better environment.
The next day, the same routine happened, we were presented with two problematic and divided into working groups to come up with ideas. The second day’s topic was: “It is the year 2050.” The first problematic was to present the utopia and describe how the perfect environment would be in the year 2050, and the four working groups were divided by topic (Water, Energy, Soil and Solid waste).
What was unusual but very nice was the way in which we had to present our idea: we had to draw our idea instead of writing it, therefore personally I was excited to let my creativity take over my logic! The drawings presented by each group were beautiful, creative, and sometimes funny.
The second problematic was to explain how we went from the current dramatic environmental situation faced in the year 2012, to the year 2050 where those environmental issues are gone and the world is better. Here also, the groups thought of ways that would lead us to our 2050 utopia where everything would be green and Man would live in harmony with Mother Earth, in a sustainable way. The ideas differed from one topic to another, but all of them included the need of collaboration between governments and the people, because it is only with these two working together that we can get to the utopia.
On the third and last day, only one problematic was presented. Each group had to put himself in one of these organizations' shoes (either the government, an NGO or an individual) to come up with a whole plan, that would for example improve the water situation in the Middle East, through empowering youth and making them aware of the dreadful situation, the timeframe for each plan being of five years. As usual, each group brainstormed and put a realistic plan that could be achieved within five years, and presented it.
The last day ended with a voting session, where each participant voted for one representative of each country (these countries being Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and Turkey) to attend the Resource Summit that will take place in Berlin on September 2013.
Overall, the Future workshop was a success, bringing together individuals from four different countries, and making them think of ways to improve the current environmental situation in their region, the Middle East.
Also, what was reassuring is that in the end of each working day, the participants were asked to vote, whether it was for the topic they thought was most significant, or for the participant they thought of sending to the Resource Summit. Plus, the way the workshop was given was really pleasant, never making the participants feel they were “college students” attending a class, but making them always involved.
The Future workshop took place in Hasankeyf, Turkey, from October 6,2012 till October 11,2012 where individuals from Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt came together to participate in it.