Students taking matters into their own hands.

Their names are Sarya Nasser , Rhea Kattan and Celine Slim.

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They are students at the International College, and chose Green Spaces in Beirut as their topic for the Pypx activity. They were interested to know about their condition , their availability and the awareness of people about the environmental as well as health benefits of green spaces. So they contacted Beirut Green Project to start their research. Other factors that concerned the girls were urban planning , whose responsibility is the development and maintenance of green spaces and what actions can be taken to improve their conditions, availability as well as awareness.
We met with Sarya, Rhea, and Celine to discuss green spaces in Beirut. 

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After doing their research, the girls learned that there are 4 major problems :

1- lack of awareness of the available green spaces.
2- lack of awareness of the importance of green spaces.
3- green spaces are not well maintained.
4- there aren’t enough green spaces .

That lead them to take three actions :
1- Participate in the demonstration of the Horsh Beirut.
2- Write a letter to the elementary school principal to initiate an after school activity to increase awareness .
3- Organize a picnic on May 16th from 11am to 12pm for LL10,000 per person at the Sioufi garden with three objectives in mind. 1st many people do not know the garden , 2nd people will become more aware of the benefits of green spaces , and 3rd the collected funds will be used to buy items to help maintain the garden. They will also help by planting existing plants in the garden.

Sarya, Rhea, and Celine are a perfect example of people who decide to take matters into their own hands to make things better in Beirut. If you would like to, join the girls on their fundraising picnic for Sioufi garden tomorrow at 11am.

 

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Green Your Lunch in Jésuites garden tomorrow!

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Pick your favourite book and join us for our second “Green your Lunch” this Spring!
We will be having a special book swapping corner during the Lunch.

What is book swapping?

It is the practice of a exchanging books between one person and another. It provides an inexpensive way for people to find out about new books and obtain a new book to read without having to pay. This Green Your Lunch event is for all those who find joy in reading. Join us in Jesuites this Saturday May 9th with a book of your choice (old /new/boring/funny…) and discover a new one while enjoying being present in green space.

We will be gathering in Jésuites garden at 1pm.The first 10 people to get to the lunch will have a delicious meal and yummy treats by Crepaway!

RSVP here https://www.facebook.com/events/831686776867013/

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#1month1park: Indro Montanelli Park. Milan, Italy.

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Milan is graced with two parks. By far the most frequented is the prestigious Sempione Park, flanked by the Sforzesco Castle, an imitation Arc de Triomphe bequeathed by Napoleon, the original sports stadium used by Milan’s two football teams, the Museum of Modern Art and, inside the park itself, all manner of terrazas, cafeterias, gelaterias, and a small duck pond.

To the west of the centre, however, is the lesser-known, but still grand, Indro Montanelli Park. Named after the eponymous journalist and historian, it is smaller, less distinguished and, perhaps for all that, much more of a park than it is an ‘attraction’.

 

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There is something for everyone here; children’s play areas, with permanent carousels and dodgem car rides, are dotted around the grotto at one entrance to the park, where enterprising locals offer donkey rides to the children when the weather is clement. If that is not to their liking, there is a ‘trenino’, a small train that takes children around a circuit dotted with figurines from ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’. In Indro Montanelli Park, you are never that far away from the surreal. The duck pond here is far more intricate and discrete, though in fact bigger, than that of its rival across town, and perhaps for that reason more of an actual haven for migrating fowl.

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One thing that perhaps marks out Indro Montanelli as being distinct is the prominence given to areas specially reserved for pet dogs, having the only ‘free’ area where dogs are permitted to run free of leashes. Sempione would never allow such equality between the species! Milan is a notoriously dog-friendly city, and the Milanese themselves often equip their pets with clothing from the famous Milanese fashion houses. Yes, you can, in fact, buy special Dolce & Gabbana doggy coats and sparkly leashes, if that is to your taste.

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At the other main entrance to the park, there are cafeterias galore, hard by the kind of ‘palazzo’ that can be found scattered all over Milan, housing an art gallery which is perhaps one of Milan’s best-kept secrets. In the Spring and Summer, ambulatory panino sellers spring up throughout the park, and it becomes a lunch-time haven for office-workers and students seeking respite in the shade of over a hundred varieties of tree (including, yes, a Lebanese Cedar, bequeathed to the City of Milan by the Lebanese authorities), or basking in the sun by one of the many fountains the park provides.

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Looming over Indro Montanelli at the third entrance is the grandiose Natural History Museum, and next to it the Planetarium. Despite the majesty of these buildings, they are simply there, part of the furniture of the park. In most other parks these wonderful buildings would be the centrepiece; the Milanese, however, are graced with such beautiful antiquities that, however marvellous these two buildings are, they don’t so much stand out as blend in.

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Now that Spring has arrived, the blossom is out, the leaves are returning to the trees, and the bustle is returning to the park. If you visit Milan, certainly take a look at Sempione Park…but come over to Indro Montanelli, and see how the Milanese really enjoy their free time.

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#1month1park is Beirut Green Project’s latest blog section, where we will be featuring one park a month from across the globe. These blog posts are written by residents of cities around the world who enjoy using their parks and are eager to share their experiences with us.
The purpose of this activity is to showcase some of beautiful parks from around the globe, to get inspired by some of their unique features and solutions, and to highlight the significance and vital need for these spaces for a healthy city life.

 

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BGP at TEDxBeirut

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A few days before TEDxBeirut, I overheard a conversation in a café between two people sitting next to me:

“- Are you going to the TEDxBeirut conference this saturday?
– No. Going to skip it. There is no one important this year. “

The inspiring beauty of TED is that no one has to be “important”. Anyone with a good innovative and inspiring message can be on that stage. Some of the best talks I have watched were of people who didn’t talk about what they do in life, but had an interesting angle looking at it.

Here’s Beirut Green Project’s story as told on TEDxBeirut  last September.
English and arabic subtitles are available for now! (French and Spanish coming next!)

We hope it’s inspiring enough for you to share it widely among your friends, family and colleagues!
Let’s spread the message for a greener Beirut.

If you would like to be a member at Beirut Green Project, please let us know.
You can just fill the google form (http://goo.gl/forms/r1WlxjnDCC) to let us know about you!

Thank you!

 

 

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Design is here to Disrupt!

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We just spent three days at the Design!/Disrupt ideathon. Three days of scratching our minds, coming up with ideas, letting go of others, developing them with mentors and getting inspired by participants with a great energy for positive change in the country.

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Design!/Disrupt was organised by MENA design research centre in partnership with HIVOS and took place at Dawawine in Gemmayzeh.
10 teams with 10 disruptive ideas were selected from more than 90 applications, in 7 different categories. You can read more about the participating teams here.

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Dima Boulad from BGP, teamed up with Pamela Haydamous from Green Studios and designer Celine Khairallah to enter the competition with a question:

How do we make use of leftover spaces in Beirut to make it greener?

We were especially inspired by Paul Hugues’ ten meters of thinking presentations that helped us clarify our idea and perfect our pitch.
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After three intensive days, we developed our question into a solution that we presented to a jury on Sunday night.

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.. And we won!
The project received great feedback and support from the judges. We are very happy to announce that the jury selected our team and gave “Meter Mrabba3″ (Square meter) a chance to take part in an exhibition of the winning projects during Beirut Design Week in June 2015.

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Congratulations to our fellow winners! Mabrouk to the bomb shelter project, “Khallik metel Sami” and the Beirut River.
Another great environmental project to lookout for: The Beirut River by The Other Dada in collaboration with Made For Brands.

We would like to thank MENA DRC and their partners for this great opportunity. See you at Beirut Design Week in June!

 

 

 

 

 

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Green your Lunch tomorrow

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Spring is finally here and Green Your Lunch is back! Join us on Saturday April 18th, starting 2:30 pm, in Horsh Tabet garden for the first of this series of picnic gatherings in public green spaces around Beirut.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1641582839411608/

The first 10 to arrive will be offered complimentary meals by our generous sponsor Cup & Roll.

Following the picnic, there will be a 90 minute by donation Vinyasa Flow – Karma Yoga Class at 4:30 pm with Sharon Ghanimé.

Bring your picnic lunches, your positive vibes, your park props and let’s make this a picnic to remember!

Beirut Green Project

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#1month1park: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Cape Town, South Africa.

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Breathtaking nature

South Africa’s nature is absolutely incredible. While Paris has its Eiffel Tower, Cape Town has got its famous Table Mountain, and obviously anything that isn’t man made is always much more grandiose and impressive.

What makes it even better is that South Africans know how to honor their nature, respect it, live in harmony with it, and make use of it.

For example, there are no bins in their National Parks because they don’t want wild animals getting used to having food easily from humans waste, so it’s important to them to keep things the way they naturally are, so people just keep their trash with them after a nice picnic and then throw them in a bin once out of the park. 

They know that the earth has to be respected, and that it shouldn’t be used as a garbage.

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Education

The other thing that struck me in their culture, is the importance of education, anywhere. In the worst of times, during apartheid, the prisoners of Robben Island would take any opportunity they have to learn, their moto was “each one teach one”, and they ended up having their own university and getting degrees from one of the worst prisons of the world.

With this in mind, what I particularly appreciated in Kirstenbosch (besides the incredible beauty of it) was the fact that every opportunity was taken to teach the visitors about plants, animals, and their surroundings.

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Architecture – Design 
Cape Town was the world capital of design in 2014 and for good reason too. The city is full of emerging designers with great ideas and design is a part of everything. Any little restaurant in the center will have a gorgeous brand identity and a really cool interior decoration. To celebrate Kirstenbosch’s centenary, they built a walkway over the trees called “Tree Canopy”. It is a great walk for the visitors and it enables them to see the surrounding nature from a different point of view. The structure was designed to be non-intrusive and low maintenance, it blends in with the vegetation and allows most trees to grow around it (always that respect I was talking about)

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Sports – Hiking
Cape Town is one of the best places I’ve seen for outdoor sports. And obviously, when you live in a town where it is completely normal to run, hike, swim, climb, kayak, paraglide, dive, horse ride… well, everyone is super fit and beautiful. So when you’re just wandering in a park and see a nice little pond with a beautiful trail, it might just be a 1h hiking trail and if you decide to follow it, you’ve done your workout for the day (and that’s what happened to us)!

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Culture – Concerts
What’s also great about Kirstenbosch, is that they have their own festival that they call the “Summer Sunset Concerts”. The lineup mixes local bands and international acts, and the atmosphere is super peaceful and chilled out. They don’t sell any food or drinks, so people come with their picnic gear, sleeping bags and of course, they take their trash with them once the concert is over. We saw Paolo Nutini (a-m-a-z-i-n-g) and we were lucky enough to catch him running in the park earlier that day (but then he saw the look in our eyes, and decided to run faster).
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Here it is. Cape Town rocks, Kirstenbosch rocks in a very fancy way, and I would say it would be great to apply all of the points stated above to Beirut, we have the nature, we have the culture, the beauty, the sports, I guess the only thing missing to our equation is respect for nature and community work, but it can be done…actually it has to be done.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Cape Town, South Africa
by Talia Souki.

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#1month1park is Beirut Green Project’s latest blog section, where we will be featuring one park a month from across the globe. These blog posts are written by residents of cities around the world who enjoy using their parks and are eager to share their experiences with us.
The purpose of this activity is to showcase some of beautiful parks from around the globe, to get inspired by some of their unique features and solutions, and to highlight the significance and vital need for these spaces for a healthy city life.

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