Post #10 – Human Trafficking in Bahrain

In many parts of the North African and Middle Eastern region, sex trafficking is a very serious problem that happens regularly. For example, as stated in Sarah E. Mendelson’s Born Free, in 2014, 276 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram and were purportedly sold into sex slavery, and it can be easily assumed that similar situations occur under the radar of the media with ease. However, a quick glance online into the sex trafficking of Bahrain doesn’t produce sources listing scenarios such as that of Nigeria, but instead focuses on another very serious human trafficking issue: forced labor.

As I discussed heavily in my second blog post, concerning Bahrain’s history and economy, the small island nation is considered the region’s financial center and economic powerhouse since the 1980s. With a population currently standing at just over 1.2 million and climbing, only 58.4% of these people are of Bahraini citizenship; the rest of the population is mostly comprised of migrant workers who provide cheap labor for Bahrain’s booming business, real estate, and social services. Luckily, in the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report created by the U.S. Department of State, an entire section is dedicated to human trafficking information in Bahrain, and will serve as a great resource for this blog post.

To begin, this report states that Bahrain is a destination country for the men and women of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Ethiopia, and Eritrea seeking to become domestic workers in the construction and service industries. Unfortunately, some of these workers face conditions of forced labor through use of practices such as: unlawful withholding of passports (effectively trapping them within the country), restrictions on movement (confining them to particular areas within Bahrain or cities within Bahrain), contract substitution (forcing them to switch jobs which they did not intend to apply for), non-payment wages, threats, or physical/sexual abuse. According to this report, women from Thailand, the Philippines, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Russia, China, Vietnam, and Eastern Europe states are subjected to prostitution in Bahrain.

These incidences are unsurprising, and are supported by the Bahrain Government’s Labor Market Regulatory Authority’s study, included in the Trafficking in Persons Report, which states that 65% of migrant workers in Bahrain do not see their employment contract, with an additional 89% arriving in Bahrain uncertain of their terms of employment. This withholding of information from these migrant workers is a large contributing factor in the successful trafficking of them into and within Bahrain. In addition to this, this same study also found that 70% of these foreign workers borrowed money or sold property in their home countries in order to secure their job in Bahrain, either forcing them to accept what little wage they are paid in order to pay off their debt, or forcing them to remain in Bahrain as they would be homeless in their country of origin.

As stated in my seventh blog post, Bahrain’s government has, in the past and present, dealt poorly with NGOs, both those founded domestically and internationally. Any time I search for NGOs regarding specific issues in Bahrain, I am routinely met with the same type of information: most NGOs in Bahrain are either closely related to the government while under the guise of a non-government organization, or they remain a true NGO, are opposed by the government, and eventually run out of funding our are too low in support to remain functional or influential. Unfortunately this has also remained true of NGOs fighting for an end to human trafficking in Bahrain, as many have been unsuccessful in promoting the creation of legislation seeking to end human trafficking or to improve the working conditions and rights of those being trafficked within Bahrain. For example, in 2011 several NGOs in Bahrain were ordered to close by the government, including the Bahrain Migrant Workers’ Protection Society.

Post #9 – Women’s Issues in Bahrain

This week’s topic is women’s issues in our country, particularly focusing on issues in equality (or the lack thereof), gender gaps, domestic violence, and sexual abuse towards women. Bahrain, like many other countries, does have a reputation for mistreating and misrepresenting girls and women in many forms and fashions; however, a quick glance through online sources will reveal that while the women of Bahrain are by no means privileged or equal to their male counterparts, when compared to other countries similar in demographic, religious practices, are region of the world, they are better off. To make this comparison more easily understood, referencing the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report of 2013, once can match many countries from around the world against one another in order to rank where they stand in terms of gender equality and treatment.

In their 2013 report, the World Economic Forum ranked Bahrain 112th, out of 136 countries total, overall. In terms of women and economic participation and opportunity, Bahrain placed 117th; in educational attainment, Bahrain placed 71st; in health and survival, Bahrain placed 112th; and in political empowerment, Bahrain placed 113th. Countries of the same and surrounding regions of the world falling below Bahrain in overall score includes Kuwait, Ethiopia, Oman, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.

Despite Bahrain’s ranking in comparison to other countries surrounding it, its stance on women’s rights has not always been positive or even existent. Women’s right was pushed into the spotlight of political reform during the 2002 constitutional amendments, which, under King Hamad, also established the country’s first democratically elected parliament. During this time of change, women gained the right to vote and run for political office, two rights which had not existed previous to these reformations for the women of Bahrain.

Although these changes were a step in the right direction, none of the many women who stood as candidates in the 2002 elections won their campaigns, and it was even reported in 2001, prior to the reformations, that 60% of Bahraini women opposed extending the right to vote to themselves. However, in the past decade women in Bahrain have made great strides towards gaining equal opportunity in the field of politics, including many women assuming the position of minister within the federal Bahraini government, in addition to the election of Haya bint Rashid Al Khalifa as the United Nations General Assembly’s President in June 2006.

When discussing women of Bahrain in the workplace, this article does a great job of delving into the challenges faced and those already overcome in the past. In 1971, women’s employment rates within the public sector were slightly over 5%, but have since jumped to 46% in 2011. While this jump in employment for women is incredible, it does not come without limitations. Job opportunities for women in Bahrain are still relatively narrow, with most women working in health, education, and social services. However, according to this article, this lack of opportunity for women is not due to faults in education (considering that more women complete secondary and tertiary education Bahrain than men do), but is simply caused by a societal structure that favors working men instead. In addition to these shortcomings for women in the working world, according to the same study performed by the World Economic Forum referenced earlier, women in Bahrain earn only 71 cents for every dollar earned by a Bahraini man for similar work performed.

The World Economic Forum’s study also provides a section specifically dedicated to social institutions. The ratio of women sexually harassed to men sexually harassed is 0, while the ratio of legislation existing to punish violent acts against women to the same legislations punishing similar acts against men is 1, indicating that Bahrain takes sexual abuse very seriously and in this regard treats women as equals amongst men. Regardless of these equalities, this study also reports that legislations prohibiting gender-based discrimination do not exist.

After exploring these resources and learning about women’s rights and issues within Bahrain, it is easy to tell that while more steps must be made towards equality, Bahrain has certainly not neglected to at least attempt to foster positive social, political, and economic change for the benefit of women. In the last two decades, the women of Bahrain have gained a much greater foothold within the political and working realms of Bahraini society, and while there is still work to be done to create true equality, the women of Bahrain are certainly much better off now than they were only 20 years ago. In order to best confront these issues, Bahrain should work towards criminalizing discrimination against women by potential employers, and should also establish a legal standard to uphold equal wages for men and women who are performing the same or equivalent tasks to one another.

(REWRITE) Post #6 – The UN in the Middle East

The United Nations (UN) is heavily involved in the Middle East, with the center of all activity located in Beirut, Lebanon, which is home to the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). The ESCWA coordinates many activities in the region, including raising “the level of economic activity in member countries, [strengthening] cooperation among them, and [promoting] economic and social development in the region,” according to the ESCWA’s webpage. The ESCWA includes 17 countries in what the UN refers to as Western Asia: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. This region is also home to three UN Peacekeeping Operations, including the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organizations (UNTSO).

The UN also has many System Offices in the Middle East, 22 in total. These offices include many well-known organizations, such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The United Nation’s webpage also lists the issues and campaigns that these bodies confront or support, including: Rule of Law, which focuses on promoting the respect of national and international law as a means of sustaining peace; Victims of Terrorism, which broadcasts messages from UN victims of terrorism to help create solidarity and support for others; and Children and Armed Conflict, which informs others on the affects of armed conflict on children of the Middle East, in addition to promoting legislation to promote greater protection for them. All of these campaigns support the greater protection of human rights that are continually threatened by conflict in the Middle East, but there are many other human right issues to be confronted as well, some of which are the focus of other campaigns listed on the UN’s webpage for the Middle Eastern region.

The United States does have an influence in the UN’s work on a global scale, and thereby in the Middle East as well. The UN Security Council, which is dedicated to maintaining international peace, security, cooperation, and harmony, is comprised of 15 member nations. There are five permanent members of the Security Council, those being China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Additionally, there are 10 non-permanent members that are elected every two years by the UN General Assembly. These 10 members, with terms ending in 2016, currently include Angola, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Spain, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The conflicts occurring in the Middle East are in part due to what is known as ethnocentrism, which, as defined by Farish A. Noor in Dealing with Human Rights, is “the tendency of individuals and cultures to view themselves as well as the environment around them from the perspectives of their own culture, values and beliefs,” and also, “entails a favourable evaluation of one’s own culture while perceiving any differences from this norm as inferior, thus viewing relations between the self and the other as opposite extremes of a dialectic.” In order to combat this ideal, which promotes violence and conflict amongst individuals, cultures, and societies, Noor believes that we must accept our cultural, religious, and racial differences as a simple fact of our world, and we must also attempt to understand and appreciate one another. In a region such as the Middle East, which is over encumbered with conflict due to superiority complexes and the support of violent solutions, Noor’s comments and ideas about cultural and racial appreciation and understanding will be critical in promoting a future of peace and harmony with one another.

Post #8 – Issues within NGOs

Non-government organizations, or NGOs, are the topic of this week’s blog post. As you read in last week’s post, NGOs in Bahrain are few and far between; due to the government’s stance on social progress and revolution spurred on by unhappy citizens, Bahraini NGOs must be wary of government action against them, much like what the BYSHR has experienced in its fight to educate Bahraini youth on human right topics. This stance in opposition of NGOs, however, is in great conflict with a larger portion of the world.

Prior to what we have read thus far from Linda Polman’s The Crisis Caravan, I had not given much thought to NGOs, their motives, or how their actions affect the situations or events in which they find themselves mixed into. However, Polman, using NGOs in the Rwandan genocide as her opener, does a tremendous job of bringing to light the consequences an NGO’s actions can bring about when not considered carefully. In this specific case, NGOs acted without first obtaining knowledge as to whom they were helping, which did not favor the true victims of the genocide in any way.

When genocide broke out in Rwanda, in which the Hutus massacred their fellow countrymen, the Tutsis, the Hutus soon left the country in masses and established refugee camps in nearby areas. These camps soon became overrun with hunger, poor hygiene standards, illness, and poverty. Yet when the media began reporting on these events and NGOs began to take action, it was not to help the murdered Tutsis of Rwanda, but to give aid to the many refugee Hutus who were now living in squalor. By giving aid to these people, NGOs indirectly contributed to the propagation of the genocide as well, giving food, medicine, shelter, and supplies to those who would then use these goods to continue on their murderous streak against the Tutsis.

This is the first concern Polman raises against NGOs – the basis of who their care goes to does not have a distinct standard; while some NGOs give aid to any and all who are in despair, others firmly believe action and support can only be justified first knowing who it is they are helping and what their past actions include. These differences reflect the difference in opinion between two historical figures, Dunant and Nightingale. While Dunant believed that “humanitarianism is based on a presumed duty to ease human suffering unconditionally” (Polman 7), Nightingale supported the ideal that NGOs must only take action if and when they have sufficient information on whom they’d be helping. Despite these differences, both Dunant and Nightingale believed that NGOs reduce the responsibility of the governments involved in the conflict to take action themselves to resolve issues, and thus allowed for these issues to continue and grow. Polman also discusses other concerns regarding NGOs and their actions, including their need for donors (which tends to result in giving aid to any and all in need, disregarding Nightingale’s ideals) and their connection to the media (which tend to “over play” the conditions or issues at hand in an attempt to receive greater donations, etc.).

In this way, Polman criticizes aid organizations as “businesses dressed up like Mother Teresa” (Polman 177). While the NGOs do give incredible amounts of aid, as stated before, it is often times not given to the right people or for the right reasons. There has been an increasing trend amongst NGOs to raise money for themselves through any opportunity available, even if that means receiving donations or contracts by giving aid to those who may not need it, or even to those who may be causing the issues at hand to begin with, as seen in the refugee camps following the Rwandan genocide. In this way, many NGOs appear to be “fake” in that they claim to be doing the right thing for the right people, and yet their motive for doing so does not appear as just.

In order to set NGOs right in the future, it is vital that journalists, the public, and international governments take part in reshaping how NGOs function. For journalists, this would entail accumulating and reporting the correct information on situations as best they can in an unbiased way. By doing so, the public and NGOs would be able to better decide who in what situations is truly in need of aid, and the NGOs and international governments can act accordingly. For the public, this would require their overall greater attention to international activities and issues or events at hand. By staying better informed as to what is happening globally, the public can give funds to NGOs who share similar goals for giving aid, thus allowing these NGOs to give this aid more quickly. For international governments, NGOs would benefit from the establishment of legislations aimed at lessening NGO abuse of power or responsibility.

Post #7 – NGOs in Bahrain

This week’s blog topic is non-government organizations, or NGOs, more specifically focusing on NGOs within our country’s borders and what they hope to accomplish there. Although Bahrain is home to violent clashes between its citizens and is periodically in the headlines due to human rights infringements, my web searches for NGOs functioning in Bahrain returned very few results. That being said, I did manage to track down an NGO known as the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, also referred to as the BYSHR.

The BYSHR is located in Manama, Bahrain’s capital city, and was founded in March of 2005 during the Bahraini uprising in which the Shia population majority revolted against the Sunni-led government in an attempt to gain greater political representation, freedom, and equality. According to their “About Us” webpage, the vision of the BYSHR is to create a Bahrain in which the “country protects human rights, justice, peace, democracy and freedom, and free of human rights violations.” Their mission statement is also included on this webpage:

“To encourage and support young people to learn about human rights and push them to participate actively in the protection of human rights cases, and the struggle to promote human rights among young people and in accordance with international standards.”

Given Bahrain’s current and historic political habits, as described in my second and third blog posts, it is no surprise that the BYSHR is viewed as far too progressive for the country, and is not often recognized by the government accordingly. In fact, the BYSHR’s “About Us” webpage also states that in June of 2005, the NGO attempted to register as a non-governmental organization with the Bahraini government, but was refused acceptance. As I’ve discussed in my previous blog posts, it is not untypical of the Bahraini government to ignore or deny individuals or organizations that they feel may undermine the current sociopolitical hierarchy, so this response to BYSHR’s request is unsurprising.

Unfortunately, there are not many reliable sources available online for one to reference when researching this organization. However, according to the Wikipedia page dedicated to the BYSHR, the group’s president was arrested in 2007 on “charges of leading an ‘unregistered’ organization,’” and was eventually fined 500 Bahraini dinar. During this time, The International Freedom of Expression Exchange described the arrest and trial as “just the latest example of the government using judicial measures to silence human rights activists.” While the validity of this information may be questionable given that it is found on Wikipedia, it does not appear unrealistic and would in fact seem quite reasonable or believable. In addition to this, this article posted to the BYSHR “Home” webpage also reports that the president of the NGO has now been sentenced to 6 months in jail for illegal assembly, as decided in court on Wednesday, December 31.

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The President of the BYSHR, Mr. Mohammed Al-Maskati. Found at http://173.254.28.160/~byshrorg/wp-content/filemanager-1.jpg on March 13, 2015.

While “About Us” webpage also lists the organization’s objectives, their translation to English is not exact; however, it appears that the NGO seeks to redefine constitutional principles, legislation, national laws, and international human rights by preparing and researching studies related to human rights, and cooperating with other local and international NGOs seeking to do the same. They also seek to hold responsible the authorities perpetuating the human rights violations by reporting openly to the public what these violations mean for the accused and how these accusations appear under international scrutiny. As a whole, the NGO promotes the establishment and protection of human rights, as well as the fundamental freedoms in society.

The President of the BYSHR is Mr. Mohammed Al-Maskati, and his contact information is listed on the NGOs “Contact” webpage. The organization offers contact by email so they can be reached over international borders, as well as international phone and fax numbers, but if you were to call from the United States you would obviously be charged for this without the use of an international calls phone plan. The BYSHR website also has a “Donate” webpage which allows individuals to contribute to the organization in amounts as little as $20.00 USD and up to $400.00 USD. This donation webpage is the only reference I have found regarding funding for the NGO.

After having explored the BYSHR’s website extensively, I can conclude that the organization, as of now, is not taking part in any organized events, but instead acts as an informant to others and spends most of its efforts on reporting human rights violations to the citizens of Bahrain and the international community in real time. In this respect, I would say that the organization is certainly successful – its website is relatively easy to access and navigate, even for an English speaking person, and is also full of many articles detailing current events in Bahrain regarding human rights. That being said, in terms of physical action being taken, I don’t believe that the organization has taken any for quite some time, and given that the Bahraini government continues to infringe on the rights of its citizens, their vision remains unsuccessful.

Post #5 – Bahraini Environmental Issues and Human Rights

Last week, we were asked to explore our country’s environmental issues, past and present. As you’ll find in my fourth blog post, like all other countries around the world, Bahrain is not exempt from the effects of global climate change and environmental degradation created at the cost of expansion, modernization, and population growth. In particular, Bahrain is dealing with groundwater depletion, high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, diminishing fishery sizes, oil spills, in addition to many others. However, Bahrain is not ignorant to these issues, and takes many precautions in an attempt to curb its negative impact on the environment.

As I talked about in my previous blog post, Bahraini citizens once voted in favor of the National Action Charter, which is dedicated to the protection of the environment. According to the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Environment Webpage, Bahrain has also signed as an official member of several regional and international conventions as well. Amongst this list is the Kuwait Regional Convention for Cooperation on the Protection of the Marine Environment from pollution, which as the title indicates is a regional organization, as well as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a well-known international initiative.

What is most concerning about all of Bahrain’s environmental issues, at least to me, is the type of impact these problems will cause on such a small island nation, and what this means from a human rights perspective. This is one striking difference I’ve thought about regarding environmental problems in the United States and in Bahrain. In the United States, if a landslide caused by topsoil erosion or a large forest fire caused by little rainfall and negligent campers occurs in one region of the country, another person on the other side of the nation can easily avoid these issues and live normally. If a problem is big enough and a need for immediate evacuation arises, the people of this region can almost always dissipate into the surrounding regions or further out without causing very much stress on these quickly expanding communities that they are flooding into. The convenience of size is one that Bahrain lacks tremendously; with a total area of only 295.5 square miles, if a region of Bahrain experiences a catastrophic environmental event, these people have very few options for seeking refuge, and what areas they do choose to flock towards are ensured to strain from the swelling in size. Is this type of risk to such a large number of lives truly justifiable in the name of development and “progress?”

To be sure, Bahrain’s ever-increasing population size is surely no help in regards to dealing with environmental degradation, and it poses a serious concern when considering the amount of people that call the island home. As their population continues to increase further, the risk of fatal events also increases, and the cycle is endless. I felt this very well connected with Daniel Quinn’s piece included in Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril titled “The Danger of Human Exceptionalism.” In this short submission, Quinn discusses the idea behind human biomass in relation to global biomass, noting that humans cannot be made from nothing and that our population growth comes at the cost of other species on a global scale. This idea struck me as incredibly applicable to Bahrain’s industrialization process and extreme population growth, which has in effect led to desertification across the island, harming over a million people, the loss of many fisheries and the shrinking size of many others, and the depletion of groundwater, making drinking water and agriculture irrigation water scarce. As Bahrain’s population soared in the past few decades, the human biomass also increased dramatically at the cost of other biomass across the region, resulting in other environmental issues as a byproduct of this extreme growth.

As part of this “Human Exceptionalism” that Quinn discusses is the belief that humans also view natural resources as a means to progress further “free of charge,” expecting little to no consequence for systematically destroying these resources and the environments in which they are found for the sake of development and modernization. Many people feel that as human beings they are fundamentally self-entitled to the resources available to us, and this seemingly endless supply of energy and resources tends to have an effect on personal consumption habits of said resources. For example, according to The World Factbook, the average Bahraini citizen consumes 968 watts of electricity per person per year, nearly 300 more watts per person per year than the entire European Union whose population far exceeds Bahrain’s approximately 1.332 million people at a little over 3 billion people. While Bahrain’s total electricity consumption is far below that of the European Union’s, the fact that the average person in Bahrain consumes such a large amount of energy is not without consequence, and is reflected in the country’s rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Issues like these bring to light many important and complicated questions, such as, “Should a person with enough money really be able to use as much energy as they’d like so long as they can pay for it, or should everyone be given a pre-determined limit to aim for to help increase sustainability?” These types of debates hinge themselves on different ideals of human rights, contending what is best for some against what is best for all, and unfortunately the disagreements nearly never land in favor of what is best for all. Bahrain’s industrialization and modernization continue at dramatic rates as the risk of collapse looms over an increasing number of people, many of which would have nowhere to go were their home to be destroyed or uninhabitable.

As a whole, Bahrain is showing the tale-tell signs of what happens when a country expands too quickly with too little regard for the environment and resources being consumed in the process, or what these consumptive habits mean for the masses. As future population projections continue to rocket skyward for this tiny island nation, forecasts for greenhouse gas emissions, groundwater depletion, fishery destruction, and desertification continue to look grim. While Bahrain is no doubt active in attempting to lessen these issues’ impact on the country and its citizens, the populace continues to overlook the fact that the creation of a human environment devoid of all other life is not sustainable, and cannot continue to be ignored.

Post #4 – Environmental Issues of Bahrain

In his contribution to The Christian Science Monitor Weekly, Troubled Waters, William Wheeler states, “Water is a part of everything we do: It feeds crops, powers cities, cools computer servers, and is key to the manufacturing of everything from clothes to cars. The billion more people expected on the planet by 2025 will increase water demand for all of those functions. And just to feed those people, water withdrawals for agriculture are expected to increase by about half.” Any country undergoing industrialization faces environmental water issues, and Bahrain is certainly no different. In fact, Bahrain’s impossibly fast rate of progress in the past few decades has led not only water management problems, but has also resulted in enormous greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental degradation.

According to the United Nations’ webpage dedicated to the Conference on Environment and Development, Bahrain’s, “…groundwater resources are depleting due to increased abstractions sometimes more than the recharge.” (Bahrain’s UN Conference on Environment and Development Webpage) However, this issue is not specific to Bahrain or other regions largely desert-like, as I’ve learned in courses through my minor is Sustainable Agriculture, the United States is also counted amongst many regions of the world facing groundwater depletions at alarming rates. Groundwater levels, which are typically replenished annually by a region’s “wet season,” are shrinking globally due to agricultural, health, and developmental demands. As many areas of the world continue to warm due to climate change, groundwater levels continue to shrink but also become increasingly important for food production and for clean drinking water.

Luckily, Bahrain has realized the difficult and often destructive path that comes along with ignoring groundwater replenishment issues. According to the webpage cited above, Bahrain has enacted strict water resource management practices to tackle these difficult issues, including: “… stopping the drilling of new wells and control of the water use for agriculture is done by introducing drip irrigation practices. Re-use of waste water is practiced for municipal gardens, hedges, and for fodder crops.” (Bahrain’s UN Conference on Environment and Development Webpage) While these efforts alone certainly won’t fix the groundwater depletion issues alone, they are most definitely a “best foot forward” towards alleviating droughts and water shortages.

As mentioned above, Bahrain is also facing increased environmental degradation as a product of their tremendous industrialization. In 1995, Bahrain had a total of 169,318 cars on its roads, accounting for 1 car for every 3 Bahraini citizens, equaling a total population size of 507,954. Bahrain’s population in 2010 was approximately 1,252,000 (The UN’s Demographic Profile of Bahrain), and using the same math above to allow 1 car to every 3 citizens, that would make 417,333 cars; compared to just 20 years before, this is a little over double the amount of cars driving on Bahrain’s roads. Cars and other machinery powered by fossil fuels are proven to emit greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global climate change and average increased global temperatures; it only makes sense that this drastic rise in automobile use would spell bad news for Bahraini air quality and would contribute to global climate change.

Other environmental protection efforts vary drastically in their topics and implementation styles. Food production in Bahrain is not only limited to typical crops, but is also dependent largely on fisheries given that the country is an island; to help create a more sustainable fishery industry, Bahrain has enacted the construction of commercial artificial reefs in various areas to help enhance marine ecosystems to help maintain productivity and improve sustainability. Bahrain also has increased efforts to deal with the “recurrent phenomenon” of oil spills in Bahraini territorial waters (Bahrain’s UN Conference on Environment and Development Webpage). While these issues pose an obvious threat to Bahrain’s national wellbeing, the disposal of industrial and domestic waste is cited as the most pronounced environmental problem the country faces (as least in 1997), with construction and commercial wastes noted as the largest contributors to this ongoing problem (Bahrain’s UN Conference on Environment and Development Webpage).

While all of these government programs and plans built to address environmental issues in Bahrain are sure to help, it is also just as sure that the country’s environmental problems will not be fully addressed unless there is an ethical call to do so. This type of emotional “force” pushing for environmental policy overhaul is exactly what Moral Ground advocates for and believes is necessary for true action towards environmental protection, restoration, and sustainability. Moral Grounds not only seeks to help fuel the flame in ones heart regarding the health of our planet and its importance, but it also seeks to empower every individual who may feel they are too insignificant or powerless to make a true difference. According to Bahrain’s official webpage, 98% of the voting populace approved the National Action Charter, which is dedicated to the protection of the environment – indicating a strong and unified push for greater environmental protections and represents an ethical support of such actions (Bahrain’s Environmental Protection Programs).

Much like Bahrain’s many diverse climate and environment issues, the rest of the world is no different. Many climate and environmental issues faced by different regions of the world are just as complex and require our utmost attention; additionally, each of these problems also require their own set of unique solutions. I think this topic is really well addressed in this TED Talk, which discusses small-scale environmental events and how they all culminate together to create global climate change (The emergent patterns of climate change TED Talk).

 

Sources Cited

 

Lettero, Carly, Carol Mason, and Frank L. Moore. Moral Grounds: Ethical Action for a   Planet in Peril. San Antonio: Trinity UP,      n.d. Print.

 

Wheeler, William. “Troubled Waters.” The Christian Science Monitor Weekly (2012): 26-29. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <https://bblearn.missouri.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-2061322-dt-content-rid-