Climate change affects lifestyle in Petra region

shutterstock petra
A General view of Wadi Musa village, near the ancient city of Petra, Jordan. (Photo: Shutterstock)
AMMAN — Since the beginning of the new millennium, lifestyle in Petra region has changed dramatically: green spaces have shrunk, the number of livestock breeders has decreased, and the dangers that threaten urban areas have increased due to climate change.اضافة اعلان

A recent report published by Al-Rai daily stated that in the Petra region, the seasonal rainfall rate, according to Meteorological Department data, is about 172.4 mm, at a time when the region needs a more abundant rainfall in order to overcome the challenges posed by climate change.

Petra resident Ahmed Al-Hasanat said that many medicinal, aromatic and seasonal plants that were prevalent in the area, as well as in residential neighborhoods, disappeared years ago, as it rained much less than before.

As a result, many have refrained from raising livestock and seasonal crops, and the lifestyle in the area has changed dramatically as people abandon farming and look for professions and sectors where they earn a better income, Hasanat said.

Professor of geology at Al-Hussein Bin Talal University Mohammad Al-Farajat concurred that climate change has led to a transformation of people’s lifestyle, turning them from farming to work in trade, tourism and other professions. He pointed out that climate change has threatened the intangible cultural heritage, as practices have changed in various activities and aspects of life, which has led to the loss of inherited cultural practices and interest in agriculture, livestock raising and relying on themselves for food.

He added that climate change has affected the archaeological facade of the Petra Treasury by accelerating the process of erosion, and is responsible for the loss of green cover, which forms the lung that enables Wadi Musa residents to breathe.

Farajat also said that climate change increases the possibility of more serious natural disasters, such as floods and landslides.

The Petra Tourism Development Region Authority, represented by the Local Community Development and Environment Commission, holds regular meetings and workshops that discuss the challenges posed by climate change and how to deal with them, foremost by preserving the practice of some local activities, such as agriculture.

The authority carried out several activities to address the issue, like restoring agricultural life in the Al-Bayda region, by motivating citizens to plant thousands of trees, as part of a project of adaptation to climate change, which was implemented by the Petra Green Agricultural Association with the support of the Global Adaptation Fund, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Planning.

The head of the association, Muhammad Al-Amarin, said: “We have stood up to climate change, and transformed large areas of barren lands to green zones, by relying on treated sewage water, which proved its feasibility and suitability in the planting of different crops.

“Rainwater can be replaced with other sources to meet the challenges of climate change.”

The authority is also seeking to build several dams to collect rainwater, and use it for agriculture, and to preserve biodiversity, in addition to other projects executed by the region’s communities and work on the archaeological site.

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