Environmental reader

A bare tree in a desert landscape

IMS' reader on environment in the MENA region

This Environmental Reader explores IMS’ partners’ evolving coverage of environmental and climate issues and concerns. It gathers pieces on archeological contemplation, environmental concerns, social and political thoughts as well as investigations into political neglect and environmental destruction by companies and cooperations.

Many of the countries IMS’ partners work in are those that are hardest hit and most vulnerable to climate change, leading to conflicts regarding land rights, emigration and famine. These effects will particularly impact marginalised, poor and indigenous communities.

The media can play a crucial role in shaping public discourse, bearing witness to this defining crisis, driving policy change and inspire action. IMS’ partners are rising to the occasion by providing public interest content for the people and communities most affected by climate change, loss and damage and environmental exploitation.

Their eagerness to cover these issues stems from the fact that their audiences experience climate change’s concrete consequences in their daily lives and they feel an obligation to document the many negative impacts it has on the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of the communities they serve.

Despite the perseverance of the environmental topic, many countries where IMS partners work have very restrictive media laws and limited access to official information, which can make it difficult and risky for journalists to gather data and report on environmental and climate issues. In addition, environmental and climate issues are often viewed as sensitive and can be subject to self-censorship and therefore put journalists’ lives and freedom at risk.

The IMS Environmental Reader will be updated regularly, gathering inspirational and important journalistic products on climate and environment from around the globe, highlighting that this is a cross-continent, cross-regional issue that concerns all of us.

As a start, we have collected the works of our partners in the Middle East and North Africa: A region that suffers greatly from climate change and environmental challenges. The journalism of our MENA partners address the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards and pollution on communities who are already struggling with conflicts, wars, dictatorships extremism, inequality and poverty.

IMS promotes good journalism on environmental issues and climate change through strengthening cross-regional cooperation, providing training and handing out grants to support investigative journalism on political and industrial neglect of climate and environment. We also work to enable free and critical journalism through advocacy and policy work.

Our media partners in the Middle East and North Africa and their work with covering environmental and climate issues are supported by the Danish-Arab Partnership Programme under the Danish MFA


Privatising the sun: The dark side of Lebanon’s “solar revolution”

Once a niche environmentalist investment, solar panels have become part of the landscape, cluttering roofs, balconies, windows and even Beirut’s already-crowded sidewalks. The Public Source investigates Lebanon’s “solar revolution” which, within the country’s laissez-faire capitalist economy bereft of any government regulations, has become less of a collective green transition and more of “a hyper-individualised, privatised

The “ecological time bombs” unloaded at the Beirut Port decades ago

In 2013, tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored at the Beirut Port, where seven years later it would explode, destroying large parts of the capital. However, this was not the first time Lebanese authorities had welcomed dangerous cargo. In this two-part investigation, the Public Source tell the story of how 35 years ago, over 2,000

Palestine’s contaminated vegetables: present on our tables, absent regulations

In 2022, two years after the publication of the investigation, the State Audit and Administrative Control Bureau, which is the highest supervisory authority in Palestine, issued a report in August on the poor control procedures applied on the use of pesticide in the West Bank, where the results confirmed the conclusions of the investigation. The


Tunisia running dry

Once considered one of Tunisia’s food baskets, producing abundant olive, orange, watermelon and tomato crops, Sidi Mahmoud, a rural town in central Tunisia, is slowly turning into a desert. “I have been investing in these trees and when they finally reach an age where they can produce regularly and abundantly, there is no more water

Sea in danger, contaminated by human and industrial waste

Stretching across 1,300 kilometres, the Tunisian coastline is one of the country’s most treasured riches. Now pollution threatens to destroy it. Every year, the Ministry of Health publishes a list of beaches where swimming is prohibited, and water analyses indicate the presence of significant levels of fecal matter in the sea. But the government’s laissez-faire

Dams and pumps drain Wadi Shbooka of its water in Morocco

Water is a necessity for life, but local residents living by the Wadi Shbooka river in Morocco saw it slowly drying up. Influential farmers had built dams and water pumps depriving herders and small farmers of their livelihood and destroying recreational areas by the river. Following the publication by ARIJ, the regional authorities in the

Environmental protections

Cleanup-Month: environmental protection relegated To citizens

The Tunisian Ministry of the Environment describes Cleanup-Month as a “grassroots awareness-raising initiative that aims to diffuse a culture of environmentalism, and an engaging approach to promoting a clean and beautiful Tunisia.” Critics blame the Ministry for focusing on an initiative that results in “a handful of individuals cleaning up plastic” instead of dealing with

Collective beekeeping in south Lebanon

The Public Source profiles a collective of beekeepers developing and protecting the profession. Started as a grassroots initiative, By Bee brings together Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian professional and amateur beekeepers working in South Lebanon.By The Public SourceOn a little hill north of Tyre, in the village of Mazra’at Jemjim, tens of thousands of bees and

Returning to the land and our oral plantcestral history

The Public Source profiles foragers and environmentalists who work to preserve local ecological heritage and ancestral knowledge in Lebanon. Many of them lead initiatives that reintroduce cultural practices around growing, foraging, cooking and plant medicine into daily life.By The Public SourceWe follow forager Rianna Tassabehji, 25, down a pastoral path she has always been curious

Climate change

Climate change: Kerkennah, an archipelago on borrowed time

The Tunisian government has ignored all the warning signs. Now, rising water levels are threatening to submerge Kerkennah, the archipelago off the east coast of Tunisia. The Mediterranean region is one of the primary zones affected by climate change, where warming is taking place at a rate 20 percent faster than anywhere else. Nawaat visits

Kerkennah, a land of the sea

In the Kerkennah Islands, life revolves in the orbit of fishing, which is more than just an economic activity; it is rather the backbone of the archipelago. Faced with the threat posed by exploitation and global warming, Inkyfada photographer Dureid Al-Suweisi explores the island’s world and its uncertain future.By Douraïd Souissi and Nissim GasteliThe ferry makes

Land degredation

Dead land

Due to climate change and uncleared mines, thousands of acres have been lost in Egypt and Iraq. Farmland and animals are being killed by global warming in both countries.By Asaad Zalzali – Salah LabanAli Al-Nawfali, 65, stands in the middle of a dry area, remembering how this used to be the Ezz river supplying the Al-Hawizeh

Syria’s poisoned earth

This investigation examines the impact of the war in Syria in a region that still represents a conflict zone extending from the countryside of Aleppo to the eastern countryside of Idlib.In addition to the serious impact of the war on the lives and daily routines of civilians, this investigation tracks and monitors the environmental impact

Egyptian Countryside Development Company sells farmers infertile plots of land

Mohammad Hifzi gave up his life and moved to northern Egypt – 245 kilometres away from his home – to take part in a government backed national investment allowing farmers to reclaim 1.5 million acres of land. Soon, Hifzi realised that the land he was meant to cultivate was infertile due to high salinity of

Unequal access to resources

TuNur: what lurks in the shadow of the Tunisian sun export to Europe?

Exporting the Tunisian sun to Europe has been the ambitious vision of the Tunisian-British company TuNur for the past ten years, as it plans to develop a mega solar power plant in southern Tunisia. This project will, however, inevitably have an impact on local communities and resources. Mounting demands for a just transition model are

Holding corporations accountable

The Gabes Shipwreck: yet another disaster for the local fishermen

Inkyfada tells the story of the oil tanker that sank off the coast of the Tunisian industrial city Gabes, reigniting concerns over oil spills in an already heavily polluted region. The immediate danger has supposedly passed, but this does not necessarily reassure the local fishermen: their working conditions have been steadily deteriorating for years due

Red Sea, black beaches

“An oil spill is undermining marine life in Ras Ghareb and threatening the health of its residents.Egyptian Ministry of Environment Stands Powerless While Oil Companies Evade Responsibility”By ARIJOriginally published 27 August 2020.Watch a 2-minute summary of the investigationPlease accept marketing cookies to see this video.The state of this beach is no different than the other coasts