The paper “ Gardening Project in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia” is an engrossing version of a research proposal on environmental studies. Saudi Arabia has witnessed a ‘ great acceleration’ that has improved the quality of life of its citizens by a substantial margin. However, the increased wealth and development has coincided with desertification and increased pollution primarily from heavy industries like fossil fuel extraction and transport. The environmental degradation has had a toll on both animal and plant populations. Climate change, unsustainable land use, and grazing have affected biodiversity in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East region as a whole forcing plant species to migrate to different habitats or decline and face extinction (Thomas, 2011).
This trend can be seen in Jabal Warjan and Jabal Tallan, mountainous areas whose lower slopes are covered with dead Juniperus trees, Dragon trees, and Daphne bushes that had thrived for many centuries (Thomas, 2011). The loss of these and other species is perilous in an environment like the Middle East that is primarily arid. Education that focuses on the environment is of paramount importance to kids, and as science teachers, we are required to teach students about issues like sustainability, population, growth, environmental degradation, and biodiversity.
This project applies the Environmental Science and Non-Western Perspectives to the problem of loss of plant biodiversity. The project seeks to educate students on the value of biodiversity by giving them the opportunity to manage a garden that hosts a broad range of species that are available in the Kingdom. The project will also examine the traditional approaches to sustainability that have existed in Saudi Arabia and whether they will be relevant in mitigating desertification.
The use of the earth science perspective will be essential to the achievement of the project aims as it will allow students to understand the different geological periods, planetary boundaries, human effects on the planet, and the consequences of biodiversity loss. The Non-Western perspective will also assist as there will be an emphasis on sharing traditional knowledge and educating the students on their responsibility to care for their country. Project Context The project will be implemented in my school in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The distinguishing characteristic of the environment is the rapid changes that have taken place in the country.
Key indicators of the scale of changes can be seen in the county’ s GDP becoming 6.5 times greater, population doubling from 16 million to 31 million, and carbon emissions rising by around 40% in the period between 1990 and 2014 (World Bank, 2017). The increased desertification, which defines the conversion of productive deserts into non-productive deserts, over the same period raises questions about the capacity of the country to sustain both human and non-human life (Amin, 2004). Reuse of wastewater from the main cities in Saudi Arabia has been proposed as one of the solutions to the issue of desertification.
Use of saline water, land reclamation, the use of mulch, and sand stabilization have also been proposed (Amin, 2004). The area of interest in this project is community service, which Amin (2004) describes as an education-oriented approach that provides training on the efficient use of water, adverse impacts of deforestation, overgrazing, and the importance of planting windbreak trees. The project proposes to educate students on these issues by allowing them to manage a garden that hosts vulnerable plant species as well as nurture tree nurseries for species that can help in combatting desertification.
Importantly, the project fits with the existing education policy in the country. According to Rasooldeen (2015), the Ministry of Education seeks to develop students and teach them skills that will be relevant in a rapidly changing world. The ministry encourages creativity, continuous learning, linking education to life, problem-solving, identifying rights and obligations of citizens, and research outside the classroom. Evidently, the project will fit within the science curriculum framework in Saudi Arabia.
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