If not us, then who?

As a Millenial, I always thought my generation would be the one to save the earth. I always thought my generation would be the one to engage in all of the environmental causes and push for real change, defy the big companies, revolution the economy and change all of the concepts.

Now everyone seems to be saying Generation Z will be the one to carry this weight. And I keep asking myself why haven’t we done it. And if we did not, why should they.

Why should Millenials had been the generation to save the environment?

I am not going to discuss which generation cares most about environmental causes.

But take a quick look at us.

We are the generation that grew up with environmental education.

We had it in school. We learned about the concept of environment, about its importance, about the need to take action, its objectives. We prepared to take jobs in a sustainable world. It’s been as important as math and literature in our curriculum, or even more, because environmental education was interdisciplinary.

We saw the big conferences take place in Rio and Johannesburg, we got the Kyoto Protocol, we cheered, we dreamed, we thought we had it figured out.

The environment was in the news, in comic books and cartoons. We watched Captain Planet and the Planeteers, for god’s sake.

We are the generation that grew up talking about recycling.

Again it was on Tv, on the news, in school, in our science class projects. We have all the information about it, we know the benefits, the types, we know how to do it and why it is so important.

But look at the facts. We only recycled 9% of all the plastic we produced. We did not set up an international recycling system that works. We didn’t make it economically viable. Instead, we kept producing and buying plastic and sending it to the landfills or shipping it to China or to other less-regulated countries who would do the dirty work for us.

Now the world’s recycling system is collapsing and we watch it numbed as we walk through rows of plastic in the supermarkets and just keep on living.

We are the generation that saw the Earth as a pale blue dot.

We grew up after men had set foot on the moon. We arrived after the Apollo 11, and we saw those pictures before we could walk.

We heard Carl Sagan give his unforgettable speech as the Voyager left the Solar System and took a last picture of the Earth: nothing but a pale blue dot floating in the dark vastness of outer space.

He showed us that was the only home we had. The only planet with the condition to allow life as we know it. The only home could have. We grew up knowing there would be nowhere to run.

We are the generation who did not need to look in Wikipedia for a definition of environment

We know what it is. We know it by heart. Its a word as common for us as smartphone or internet, or democracy, or astronaut.

We saw the Environmental movement organize and grow. We watched Greenpeace seize petrol ships – and we cheered! We voted green – at least some times. We took it into consideration.

But we did not take action.

We knew what we had to do, but we never had a plan.

We left it for someone else. Looking back I realize I was always environmentally conscious, but it never translated into action. I somehow thought it was going to happen one way or another. I thought the governments had it figured out. I thought the NGOs, the movements, the organized civil society had it figured out. What I never thought was that I had to be a part of it.

So I went on consuming without giving it much thought. Me and billions of other Millenials who probably thought they were environmentally conscious as well.

So how come we knew what to do and never did it. What numbed us? And more importantly, if not us, then who?

A quick guide for tourism in Beirut.

Since the end of the civil war, in 1990, Lebanon has been back in the game for the more adventurous travelers. The capital of the country was once called The Paris of the Middle East and has a lot to offer. Visitors in 2019 can experience an ancient and rich culture, the most delicious Mediterranean culinary, luxurious shopping and a surprisingly bustling nightlife. The Lebanese are beautiful, interesting People, warm-hearted and welcoming who’ll certainly make for a memorable trip.

Is it safe?

Safety is the first concern for who is traveling to a country mostly surrounded by war. Lebanon is pretty safe, though. Beirut is rated as a safe city by western governmental bodies like the British Foreign Office

There is virtually no urban violence in Lebanon. I’ve been living in Beirut since early 2018 and I feel certainly safer here than in many European capitals, not to mention the American continent.

Beirut Weather

The best time to visit Beirut is in April or May, right after the mild Mediterranean winter, and before the scorching heat of the summer. The days in Beirut are to be sunny and warm while the nights will be clear and refreshing. During the spring, it is still possible to see the snow in the surrounding mountains and go skiing on a day trip. As the Lebanese like to brag: you can start your day skiing and end it with a drink by the beach.

Phoenicians

The Lebanese regard themselves as the carriers of an older tradition. They are the descendants of the Phoenicians, one of the first-ever recorded civilizations in History. The rich Lebanese story is very well displayed in the fantastic National Museum of Beirut, a rather small museum that flirts with greatness. The collection basically covers the story of humanity: from the first civilizations, through empires, until the civil war – which is well represented by the hole a guerrilla man dug in a thousand-year-old Phoenician mosaic, during the war, when the museum building was taken over and used by different fighting factions.

Language

The official language of Lebanon is Arabic. But never have I visited a place where people spoke more languages. English is practically a second official language, and you can speak in English everywhere, at least in Beirut. Most Lebanese, especially the Christians, speak French as well. And it’s not uncommon for Lebanese to speak a 4th language.

The interesting part is that at least Arabic French and English are often spoken alternately in the same sentence. The traditional greeting in Beirut is uttered in all three languages: “Hi, Kifak? Ça va?” (literally: Hi, how are you, is it going? in English, Arabic, and French).

Religion

Lebanon has 18 different confessions. The two main religions are Christianism and Islam, but these are fractured in Lebanese society. Christians can be Orthodox, Maronites, Catholics, Syriac, Armenian, Greek. Islam has the traditional Sunnis and Shias, but also Alawites and the Druze, who are not always considered to be part of Islam. Judaism is officially recognized as one of the 18 sects, but it is not clear if there are in fact still jews living in Lebanon.

Lebanese food

I once heard that Olive oil is a defining cultural phenomenon. Everywhere Olives grow, you can find similar food: the Mediterranean cuisine, which is based in great amounts of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, zucchini, eggplants, and herbs. When we talk about Mediterranean cuisine, we often think of Spain, Italy, and Greece, but in my opinion, Lebanon had the most outstanding and rich cuisine of the whole Mediterranean.

Lebanese culture, Lebanese relations, Lebanese Politics, peace and war, everything revolves around a table. And this table is filled with Mezze, traditional Lebanese appetizers like Kebbe, Moutabal (eggplant and tahini mash), Hommos (chickpea and tahini mash), Labneh, Fatoush and Tabouleh (parsley salad). Once in Beirut, eating is mandatory. From street food to fine dining, everything is worth it. And if a Lebanese invites you to dine at his/ her house, please take the chance. And go on an empty stomach, as no Lebanese will ever let you walk out before tasting everything.

Bars and Nightlife

Unlike most countries in the Middle East, alcohol is legal and widely available in Beirut – and most cities in Lebanon. There are no laws against public consumption of alcohol in Lebanon and certain areas of Beirut – like the Christian neighborhood of Mar Mikhael – are packed with bars where you can get a table at the sidewalk and enjoy a cocktail of craft beer while people watching.

The upscale cocktail, wine, and craft beer scene is booming in Beirut as well as rooftop bars where one can enjoy beautiful views of this exotic and enticing city. There are also a fair amount of clubs where Beirutis dance the night through to the sound of local and international DJs. And, in case you are like me and will just want a cool local beer, there are lots of small bars and convenience stores open 24 hours a day selling beer for who wants a cheap drink to have while walking, or seated in the sidewalk or in the stairs – Beirut has lots of charming urban stairways.