Egyptians are exploring tactics to spread environmentalism and encourage a new kind of lifestyle.
How often is it that you see a cyclist riding under water? Yasser is an Egyptian blogger, and member of the The Cairo Cyclists Club, who took a dive last year in order to make a humorous statement with a serious environmental message behind it.
While Egyptians have always been opinionated and outspoken, the January 25th revolution has amplified numerous issues, including the need to become a more sustainable society.
Inji El-Abd, an Egyptian environmentalist, followed up with Yasser’s statement with a post on the potential and benefits of encouraging biking in a country where one can spot anything from a donkey to a sports car on the road. In looking at how protesters biked, she writes “they got there faster than most, as traffic was a killer and the metro station on Tahrir square was no longer operative.” This sense of self-sufficiency and efficiency cuts across cultures.
She relates how Egypt’s socio-political revolution quickly turned into a green revolution, as people volunteered to clean the streets where they protested, showing that being green has a direct relationship to patriotism and a respect for one’s city. There was also a concert titled “Keep it Clean” that took place early in February.
She reflects on this phenomena,
“is it a new born sense of ownership? Is it the hope that was born with the revolution? I even contemplated other potential changes, will the revolution impact cycling?”
Inji argues that the time has come for Egypt to have its own Critical Mass, which is an event that creates a large social space using bicycles.
Lastly, she points out how cyclists were harassed and mistreated during the previous regime, especially when they congregated in big groups. Now that these manifestations of backwardness are on their way out, it will be interesting to watch Egypt’s youth culture take charge of their destiny by securing their country’s progress.