JOINING HANDS TO PROTECT NATURE

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– in conversation with the founders of the voluntary venture for the cause of ,

‘Diverse’ is a perfect way of introducing the founders of the unique venture Bnature – as they come from different walks of life. However, the love they share for Nature and the sense of responsibility towards the way we treat our earth is what brings these four astonishing young minds together on a mission. bnature’s small yet radiant team brings together the expertise of an ecologist, a marine biologist, an IT specialist in addition to a policy and a sustainability specialist. The BTW team was fortunate to have met three of these exceptional members – Reem Al Mealla, Ashwaq Shukralla and Ali Talahi as they shared with us all about standing for Mother Nature. Even though team members Eman Husain and Tamera Al Husseini were out of the Kingdom, they sent their best regards to our readers, also reminding us of the importance of a platform like bnature in today’s world.

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What made you take the decision to stand up for Nature that we all belong to?

We believe that everyone can make a decision to stand up for nature – however, not everyone has the will power to actually take action – this is what makes us unique and different. Being the generation that is experiencing an alarming rate of biodiversity loss has sounded the alarm; especially for us in Bahrain. We hear our parents and grandparents talk about their days that were spent by the sea or underneath the palm groves and by the freshwater springs, especially in AinAdhari – something we have never experienced although we are looking at less than 50 years ago! The thought that we are now experiencing more loss and that if we don’t do anything the next generation won’t even have stories to hear about, has given us something to work towards restoring nature and ensuring that it is passed down in a healthy manner for future generations to experience.

What brought about the birth of Bnature?

The idea of creating a platform that brings together all environmental information in Bahrain came following the return of one of our co-founders to the island. Being young and new to the environmental field in Bahrain it was impossible to find information on organisations, what was present in this country and how to connect with those in this field. The search for information and knowledge on our natural history hence began. The rest of our team who share the same passion have experienced the same difficulties but were destined to find each other to bring bnature to life, aiming at ensuring that all newcomers into this field can navigate their way smoothly whilst feeling supported.

bnature is currently the only comprehensive free environmental data exchange platform in Bahrain. What is the importance of such a platform and why aren’t there any other bodies for such an activity in our kingdom?

There is always this false thought and attitude worldwide that nothing can be done without money and funding. What characterises us youth and makes us unique is that we like to challenge the impossible and make it possible. There are various excuses ranging from lack of funding to create such a platform to the requirements of hiring groups of experts and manpower to collate and publish the information. Although these things are important, the key for success is will power, commitment and dedication – something most organisations lack when there is no financial incentive. In terms of what makes such a platform important – it helps spread awareness which in turn aids in eradicating ignorance, hence contributing towards creating an enlightened society. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”.

What makes bnature a strong activity group?

What makes bnature unique is that it was established by youth citizens for citizens. Moreover, all the work (from research, to writing the content, to data collection, to programming and building the website to translating etc.) that was put into making this project come to life was done on a voluntary basis and is completely funded from the youth’s own pockets fuelled by the love and passion that we as Bahraini youth have for our environment and the sense of urgency to shift our community’s attitude and behaviour through bringing our society into environmental consciousness.

We understand that what you are doing is not an easy job. So what motivates you to go forward even when the tide is against you?

Our motivation comes from the thought that what we are planting today shall be tomorrow’s harvest – therefore we are doing our best to sow the seeds of a generation connected to nature which has given our island its nature and identity in addition to enabling all past civilizations to thrive.

While on a mission, when do you get the feeling of “mission accomplished”? 

When we see people who come to some of our talks with zero information and then leave with their newly acquired knowledge, which they ensure is passed to others whilst acknowledging our efforts – it truly motivates us to do more and gives us that feeling of “mission accomplished”.

How can our readers be part of bnature?

Your readers can connect with us through our social media accounts or email us through our website if they would like to contribute to the platform through sharing any information, photos, videos, blog posts and the list goes on! If there is any information they want but can’t find on our website, let us know and we’ll try to find it and share it with everyone.

What would be your advice to the readers of Bahrain This Week relating to caring for the environment?

Get your information right, do your part without using the “I can’t do much here” excuse. Remember that dedication, commitment and willpower are the keys to caring for the environment – you are part of the environment – a species like every other inhibiting the planet. So do your part without fail. Imagine the difference we could make if we all did our part!